I’m Sorry for What I Said When I Was Sleep Deprived: A letter to my husband on Father’s Day.
Our first child was born nine pounds eight ounces and our second, a surprising, 11 pounds. When our second made his debut at the hospital, they didn’t’ have diapers or onesies big enough for him. People assured us that having such big babies would surely mean restful nights as everyone knows that, “Big babies sleep through the night.”
They totally jinxed us.
Our first-born, truly never slept through the night in her own bed until she went to Kindergarten. She still makes an appearance in our bed, if anyone is counting, it was last night. Our second never gave us peaceful nights of sleep either. We learned to operate in the fog of parenthood, underwater, and completely sleep deprived.
We were always putting things away in the wrong places, like eggs in the cupboard.
Our memories of whether something happened yesterday or last week were completely blurred.
We sat together in classes, totally exhausted but desperate to do better and be better parents. We just wanted to be better together.
Early evenings in our house were usually the most stressful as we would be thinking about what would await us at night.
We’d text each other apologies about the awful morning shuffle and commit to making tomorrow better.
We survived on coffee. And chocolate, craft beer, cheese, chips, and ice cream. We ate and drank our feelings.
During our sleep deprivation, we were good at fighting and saying awful things to each other. I remember going on a date night and us driving around in our minivan. We were trying to find a place to eat and it was almost nine at night and we proceeded to “scream yell” at each other. Hungry and sleep deprived. We were awful. We still talk about that day. I think because it was a turning point in our marriage.
The reality is that it could have all been over for us on that day in the minivan and we both know it. I liken that early day in our parenthood and marriage to deciding to get on the train. Either we would let it roll over us or we would grab on together and hold on for a bumpy, up and down ride. We decided to hold on.
When you’re sleep deprived, it’s hard to see beyond day-to-day survival. You live in a fog where your actions don’t always make the most sense. The words that leave your mouth are rarely thoughtful, kind, or given with care.
To my husband, I’m sorry for what I said when I was sleep deprived. I wasn’t good to you. I wasn’t my best and for that I’m sorry. I want to acknowledge the horrible person I was late at night and sometimes during the day, when I couldn’t feed or bounce the baby anymore, or when I couldn’t deal with the starfish toddler making snow angels in our bed. In the last year, I’ve had more sleep, and it is like breathing in my life again. I appreciate all that you bring to our marriage and family. I can see again, and these words are for you.
I never forget to say I love you, but I often forget to tell you how incredible you are at being a father.
I love the love you give the kids. Your love is concentrated, never watered down.
You give our kids the goofiness and the rambunctious wrestling they crave.
You make all of us laugh and without laughs, we would never survive parenthood.
I’m thankful you put our kids over your career.
Your passions and loves are contagious and somehow you’ve convinced us to embrace the hobbies you love.
I’m so glad to be on your team. Sometimes it’s us against them and I’m grateful to be in this together.
I trust you and share my insecurities as a parent and you do the same. You provide me both strength and support.
The characteristics I most love about you are growing each day in our children and it stops my breath to see this life beauty and you shining through.
You are the father role model I hoped and dreamed my kids would have in their life.
I’m sorry for the many awful things I said when I was sleep deprived and I know we’ve emerged from that time a stronger and more loving parenting team. I’m beyond grateful for the husband you are to me and the father you are to our children. I love you.
Photos: Sarah Hudson Photography