You Think You’re Tired? One Single Mother’s All-Nighter

Posted on June 23, 2011 by


single mom no sleep

Sleep, please...

Two o’clock in the morning. This is not gonna last. Hurry up sleep come on. And make it sooner than later. At least he has finally closed his eyes. Wonder what makes my precocious son want to stay up past a normal bedtime.  Is it the thought that he might be missing something?  It is as if he thinks a part of life will be passing him by, or perhaps it has to do with his measureless curiosity. Whatever it is he sure keeps me on my toes. Always asking questions: “Mommy, what does vice versa mean?” “How come we drive on a parkway and park in a driveway?” “Which Pokémon you wanna be, huh, huh, huh? I’m Charizard.”

Rummaging through my brain for the right answer, I say, “Jigglypuff.”

So much energy inside that pint-sized body. Forty eight inches tall and look at him already. Reaching for the sky. If he knew what I know, he would greet sleep with open arms and welcome its arrival like a visit from a fine friend. Nah. He’s much too young to think that way. He has miles to go before he adopts such train of thought. There are times—like right now—when I would much rather be asleep than awake. Then I could break up this monotony of my daily routine.

What time is it?  Two thirty? Oh God, I forgot to do the laundry. Tomorrow is gym, and his gym uniform is dirty. Thought it was yesterday and what I keep putting off until tomorrow is due today. I’ll just wake up an hour earlier to wash that uniform, or else he’ll be even more of an outcast than he already is being the only nappy headed child in his entire grade up in that private school. Can’t have that.

One day he will be older and like Emerson become more self-reliant allowing me a lighter schedule. I hope. I wish. I could be a stay-at-home mom, but somebody’s gotta pay the bills.  Seems like none of our mothers ever worked when we were kids. But then again, they were not tryin to own everything in sight either. Why do we live our lives caring so much about what we own? Material things. The big house, the big car (what’s the gas mileage on that Hummer again?) taking big vacations, and don’t forget the big bank account (wonder what happened to my forty acres and a mule, never mind my 401K) Still can’t believe I did not do that laundry?  This is the third time this month. Lately, I’ve been forgetting everything.

Could be something Freudian? Maybe I’m just sick and tired of having to be and do it all:  the madness of the never-ending cleaning (where does dust come from anyway?); the fifty ways to cook chicken; the dreadful 6 a.m. bedside clock alarm; the stopping whatever I’m doing to put him to bed; the scheduling of the doctor and dentist (aren’t those his permanent teeth, yet?) appointments; the dressing up for church (thank God we converted from Baptist to Catholic); the dressing down for play dates; the dropping off; the picking up; the tantrums; the comforting, the scolding; the clothes hanger mobile project and so hard-to-find at the last minute Styrofoam Solar System science project; the don’t forget to brush your teeth (soon it will be the braces) reminder every single night before bedtime, and the tummy ache every morning before school (who keeps stealing your lunch?) Just shoot me.

Still, like clockwork we rise with the sun, eat a good breakfast, wash up and head on out the door all set and ready to go every weekday morning no later than 8:05.  I’ve never gotten used to rising so early in the morning day after day. Never had to until I had him. Always was a late riser. My head never did and still never does hit my pillow until 2:00 a.m.  Seems like I always find something else that needs to be done after midnight whether it’s business or pleasure. Maybe I’m the one he gets the night owl bug from.

What time is it now? Three o’clock? This is not gonna last.  Hurry up sleep; I need you up in here.


La Forrest Cope holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Literary Translation from Queens College of the City University of New York, where she also majored in English and graduated cum laude. She is on the faculty at York College/CUNY in the English, as well as the Performing and Fine Arts departments. Burnin’ up the Billboard charts with four top-five songs in two years, LaForrest Cope’s explosive talent has helped launch several careers, most notably, Whitney Houston’s.  The fiery “YOU GIVE GOOD LOVE” earned LaForrest (a/k/a Lala), who composes music and lyrics, a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song nomination while giving Whitney her first number one hit single. Based on her own experiences in the recording industry, La Forrest hopes to make her literary debut next year with SOUL SHAKERS, a novel about the challenges facing women in black music and how the many misconceptions about musical talent diminish the industry’s ability to address it effectively. 

Posted in: Kids, Single Mother, Sleep