Navigating life with a teenager….who happens to have bipolar disorder

Let Mama Sleep

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I was raised by my dad.  For the first part of my elementary school years, my mom lived in the south and we would spend our summers with her.  In 1983, she and my step-dad moved to Pennsylvania and we were within a 2 hour ride, so we found ourselves visiting on weekends and school vacations.

I remember quite a bit from my childhood….at least I like to think I do. One of the things I never understood was how my mother was able to sleep the way she did. My older sister and I used to call her Sleeping Beauty.  Instead of waking her on a Saturday morning, we would climb into bed with her and snuggle until she woke up. When my younger sister was old enough to join in…..she did. This became a tradition. Saturday mornings all snuggled into bed together.  The last time I remember doing that, I think I was in college.

sleeping beauty

Now that I think of it….we should have gotten my mom a tiara.

What I didn’t understand as a child, I more than understand as an adult.  I have acquired my mother’s sleeping beauty gene. The time we spent with my mom was primarily ‘down’ time.  Just as now, I love to sleep in on the weekend or days I don’t have to get the kiddo to school early.  Even when my younger sister became school aged, I lived in a different state… I didn’t see my mom getting up with her and getting ready for school.  All I knew was that mom liked to sleep.

Both of my parents are night owls…..and thinkers.  I have grown up to be just like them. I am more alert in the evening hours and my brain is on overload when I try to rest.  When CJ was little, I used it to my advantage. I went back to school…. primarily doing my classwork at night.  I would start my work when he went to bed and study until the early hours of the morning, get a few hours sleep and then start our day at 6am to get CJ ready for school and head to my full-time job.

I think keeping that schedule for as long as I did caught up with me. When Michael and I got engaged,  CJ and I moved in with him across state.  I didn’t have a job for about a month……so I slept….and slept…..and slept some more. My mom told me that I was catching up on years of sleeping. The challenge is….I have been sleeping-in that way ever since.

Two years ago, when we moved to Georgia, my company allowed me to work part-time hours from home.  I had found that, after getting CJ on the bus in the morning, I had a couple of hours to sleep.  He was off to school, he was safe, I didn’t have to worry for the time being, so I let my body rest. It was peaceful sleep.

I think since CJ’s bipolar has gotten more intense, my sleep patterns have gotten worse.  I worry all night, so much so that it takes forever for me to fall asleep.  Once I do fall asleep, I have the hardest time waking up.  I don’t know if this will change as the years go on.  Maybe if he finds himself independent enough to live on his own, I will have normal sleep patterns again……or maybe I will be Rip Van Winkle and sleep for years. For now, I am happy to have inherited my mother’s Sleeping Beauty gene. I will try to use it to my advantage and get rest when I can and hope that it will give me the energy needed to keep moving forward.


Like Rip slept after drinking moonshine….it only takes one alcoholic beverage for me be knocked out cold.


Comments on: "Let Mama Sleep" (1)

  1. Interesting, SC. Get your rest while you can. I find now that I’m getting up there I sleep less and less. I wish I could sleep in on Saturday or Sunday, but no, the dog gets me up by 6:30 and I AM UP. And I stay up past midnight anyway. Dang. I turn 57 next month and I don’t sleep 7 hours a night anymore. My dear wife Karen can sleep ’til 9 or 10 on the weekend. I just can’t!


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