Sleep: A Working Mother’s Dream
Have you ever felt like you could just kill someone in exchange for sleep? Well being a working mother to three boys can do that to ya. Want to know the secret to beating tiredness and getting some rest while at work? Well that makes you and me both. Try this. What I do is take many secret power naps while at work to try to make up for the loss of sleep I’ve had the night before. This can be difficult for a person with an occupation that requires standing for long periods of time or who has constant contact with customers and the public. Well don’t fret because I have a system that may work for you too.
First, In California there is a law that requires employers to provide a private place for breast-feeding mothers upon the return from maternity leave. Typically these breaks range between 15 to 20 minutes. An average mother usually needs to pump at least twice while at work so why not use those times to get your power nap on?! Find out if a similar law is in your state.
Second, pretty much all states have to give at least a 10 minute break when working four hours and two breaks and a 30 minute lunch if working five or more hours. I work a six hour shift so I take advantage of all my breaks. I also have a 3-month old that I am still nursing so when I take my break to go pump I am also power napping at the same time. Even if you can’t actually sleep, just closing your eyes and relaxing for those 10 or 15 minutes are very helpful. By relaxing all the muscles in your body you are actually resting. It is quite similar and almost as efficient as actually sleeping. Although nothing really feels as good as the real thing, it can be a great way to relax and time goes by slow. I usually feel rested just enough to make it to my next break. By the end of the day I feel better than if I had not rested at all.
Third, if you have a desk job sometimes you can get away with sleeping while sitting up! Yes I said it, but shhh don’t tell anyone! There have been many days at work when it seems inevitable that I’ll fall asleep. I can’t leave for the day and it’s not quite time for my break yet, so what do you do? Just have a paper in front of you on your desk and bow your head down as if you are reading it. Make sure your back is turned and facing the walking aisle way traffic. Then, close your eyes for as long as you can handle without snoring and bringing attention to yourself. Be sure to have the paper in front of you on your desk just in case your computer falls asleep or screensaver appears. You wouldn’t want to be caught looking at a blank screen!
Lastly, eating well is also the key to beating tiredness at work. Just like our bodies need sleep it needs nourishment first. Sometimes I have to make myself eat because I’m just not hungry. Snack on nuts, fruit or anything you can discreetly eat while at work. Even chewing fruit flavored gum can provide a source of energy that can help fight tiredness. Trust me. I’ve tried all of these things.
Being a mother is the most wonderful, rewarding feeling ever, but who knew how hard it would be. We work hard to provide a life for our kids and are tired and have sleepless nights. But when it’s all said and done and you receive the look from your child into your eyes, you can rest knowing that it was worth it all.