Real Talk for SAHMs: Solutions for Sleep Deprivation like Solid Core Doors and White Noise Generators

Title says it all, but what does the title mean?

It means major factors in sleep deprivation for mothers, particularly SAHMs are not infants and toddlers screaming for milk or comfort frequently through the night, but rather the stray babbling and what I like to call Rebel Yells (one cry lasting one or two seconds).  As well as random noises in the night from other members of the household getting up occasionally.

So the solution is devices that filter out the minor non-emergency sounds of nighttime while allowing the real cries lasting more than a moment to penetrate.  And that is where solid core doors and white noise generators come in.

What are the benefits of a solid core door?

  • Reduces sound entering the room by ~50%.  Rebel yells sound like babble and babble is muted below a level that would wake a lightly sleeping mother.
  • Due to sound reduction, once you fall asleep, it’s harder for micro-waking to be triggered, so you get more quality sleep as well.  Micro-waking happens to a lot of people who believe that “just tune it out and roll over” doesn’t come with sleep cycle interruption.
  • Helps during the daytime when all the kids are up and about and you need a block of focused time.  If the kids are happy and just rambunctious, the solid core mutes that enough that you can concentrate easily.  It’s like a hum or a mild rumble compared to the hollow core doors that are standard.
  • Cheap for the effectiveness.  Most models are only $100-200 per door, and even with installation costs of $50-100 will last even longer than the hollow cores that are standard.
  • Not sleep related, directly, but heavy and thus more child-proof.  An angry two year old with a hammer isn’t going to get very far.  Also harder for kids to take off the hinges.

So what about that white noise generator?

Well, that’s the second piece of the puzzle.  White noise generators are often used on the baby/toddler in hopes of keeping them from waking.  But sometimes the more effective approach is to give one each to the nursery room or mom’s room.

This tends to be more helpful once you’re actually asleep, with the white noise reducing the tendency to micro-wake.  Depending on the type of white noise generator, it can also help you get to sleep and relax you.  There’s mechanical ones, usually not very loud, and digital ones, sometimes very loud.  I’d get the digital one, since it’s easier to play a range of sounds.  Either mechanical or digital runs $25 to $100, so they’re also cheap.

Combined with a solid core door, nearly all the intermittent and random noise is muted enough to tune out, but any emergency yelling will still come through.

Why yes, I do know what wedding gifts I’m giving my daughters, in law and natural!

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The Poison Red Pill, Misreading Proverbs 31 and promoting isolation as virtue.

To begin this series, I’ll start with discussing a post by someone blogging as “Girl with a Dragonfly Tattoo”.  It’s part of some interminable series on Proverbs 31, the love of Christian women everywhere.  I love the Proverbs 31 wife too, she’s a comfort and joy to read about along with all the other idealized portraits in the Bible.  It’s nice to see an ideal written up.  But it’s an ideal.  She’s not a real human woman like Miriam or Leah or even mother of God Mary.

Anyway, the basic overview is typical for Red Pill Women.  You’re supposed to get up super early, that part about servants is meaningless.  There’s of course no *real* obstacles to early rising, you just have to want to be holy enough!  She even references her mother as an early riser, because five year old children are great recordkeepers.

But more to my core points, she references *rich people who use stimulants and have paid staff* as her model for what housewives nursing and getting pregnant frequently should do to be more productive.  This is pretty typical of Red Pill Women.  They do the same thing the men they identify with do of hyperfocusing on a narrow group of privileged people as if they are the norm.  Only here SAHMs are supposed to behave like male executives on amphetamines who have wives, nannies and secretaries and personal assistants.  But the SAHM is NOT supposed to have those things, oh no!

Because a maid is “unimaginable luxury”.  Yes, in this TLDR; post about the Proverbs 31 wife, the OP conveniently declares the servant verses to be metaphorical, but the rising early verses to be worth charts and figures and paragraphs of hectoring.  But fifty bucks every other week so you can stay on top of the household cleaning more easily and have a little free time to try that getting up early?  UNIMAGINABLE LUXURY.  And clearly a teenage homeschooled girl coming over every other morning so you can be a little more rested on known busy days, well, that isn’t even in her blog post.  Even though teenaged nursemaids are a thing, historically.

Red Pill Women don’t appear to be aware there are any other women in the Bible except this one imaginary one and then they ignore the fact that she is a wealthy man’s wife and almost certainly the daughter of a wealthy man as well with her own dowered property/jewels/livestock.  The point of this fictional wife was to emphasize the rarity, the uncommonness.  Such a woman is supposed to be rarer than rubies, a beautiful ideal.  She isn’t supposed to have all her qualities peeled away and converted into exciting new ways to overwork married mothers of young children and deny them the historical levels of other-women support they used to have in the patriarchal days of yore.

I even agree with “Girl With A Dragonfly Tattoo” about the importance of sleep.  But you know what?  The average SAHM simply isn’t given the resources to get a full night’s sleep and “go to bed earlier” doesn’t work if you’re combining it with “do whatever your husband wants”.  A lot of men want to stay up late to relax.  You can read old books and see that this is just part of the beautiful sex differences men and women have.  Women used to be allowed to go on to bed on their own so that they could get some extra sleep.

But the Red Pill says that this would not be submissive, respectful, etc.  Essentially all the “tips” she suggests on how to get more sleep assume some or all of a husband who wants to go to bed early every night, kids who sleep well whether nursed or formula fed, kids widely spaced (4+ years apart), fewer than three kids, no special needs kids, a husband who doesn’t want to use electronics or television after hours, and the ability to have private areas to focus on self-care such as the basics of the female toilet and hygiene.  I can keep going, but my point is that under the current anti-social setup most housewives have, her tips and tricks *WILL NOT WORK* for months to years on end.  One bad sleeper can trigger responses in the female body that include phantom screaming or lowered ability to sleep deeply.

So she wants SAHMs to be as productive as executives functioning on very little sleep, but without their resources.  And yet if a woman does prioritize getting that sleep, she’s still somehow a badwife, since she chooses for her example of getting more sleep a woman who didn’t get up early to serve her husband and slept in instead.  Broad social norms are antimatter for Red Pill Women.  But they are the only way women can be protected enough to do their work and serve and love their husbands and families in a consistent way.

Real Talk for SAHMs: Why Christian mommybloggers need to put down the shot glasses

It’s practically a trope among popular Christian mommybloggers like Simcha Fischer to promote liquor drinking among SAHMs as a coping mechanism.  It’s increasingly hard to tell how much of it is is haha only serious or just serious.  And it’s got to stop.  It’s incredibly alienating to the average SAHM because most people don’t drink, much less drink at the bingey rates implied by some of those ostensibly Christian mommybloggers.

And it’s especially the case that most women don’t drink.  Alcohol tastes gross or smells gross to most women during the time in their lives when they get pregnant and nurse (ask me how I know!), so the kind of conservative Christian housewife reading these bloggers for commiseration is going to feel weird that she doesn’t want to turn to drink when things are overwhelming and wearying.  She’ll wonder what’s wrong with herself for not being able to consider such a cheap and easy means of short term respite.  Or she’ll wonder if all the other SAHMs do that and she’s just the puritan weirdo who’s too uptight.

Or she’ll take a chance and try it, and end up like this dame.  Before she broke up her marriage, she was big on posting pictures of her drinking and doing “Girl’s Nights Out” as a SAHM.

That’s the other poisonous aspect.  It positions having a few drinks as the only respite housewives are allowed that’s socially acceptable, so support among friends and family shifts to providing “Girl’s Nights Out” rather than actual help when they need it during the day.

It’s insidious even though it looks like joking, but it’s way too frequently thrown about to feel very funny.

World War T and the backlash against breastfeeding, two sides of one misogynist coin

There is a backlash against breastfeeding in which women constantly argue they need their drugs more than they need to breastfeed and it parallels the WWT (World War Transgender, courtesy of one Steve Sailer) demands for drugs to maintain a supposedly inborn gender.  Yep, I totally went there!  But in the case of women, as opposed to the men and teenage boys encouraged to take dangerous drugs with horrible side effects, most of the (usually) psychiatric medications they want to take are compatible with breastfeeding.

Another part of the breastfeeding backlash is defining bizarre edge cases where breastfeeding would not be feasible as normal and typical, like this cancer mom http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-breastfeed-nursing-moms-baby-perspec-1015-20141014-story.html#page=2.

Also, in a country where formula feeding is the social and medical norm, screaming about boob nazis (women defending the right of women to behave in biologically normal ways that were historically part of the public sphere) disturbingly parallels the vicious and astonishing misogyny leveled towards radical feminists, who represent another minority group of women desperately trying to defend the biological reality of femalehood and female existence from the relentless onslaught of surgically unaltered men proclaiming themselves more womanly than any woman born.

If woman is just a feeling a man has sometimes, what rights (even to existence) do real women have?

“Women don’t really exist, they’re just a feeling a man sometimes has”– GallusMag at GenderTrender, a radical feminist clearinghouse on WWT and one of the few sources of real journalism on that topic.

The breastfeeding backlash is pretty virulent and often part of nominally conservative circles that identify as more “moderate” and libertarian.  I was inspired to start this post-topic by the weird fact that I’ve seen soooooooooooooooooooooooo many conservative men bring up OUT OF NOWHERE the “boob nazi” narrative regarding why their wives put some or all the babies on formula.  One notable example was reading a dissident right blog mostly about statistical analysis of various stuff and out of nowhere comes the boob nazi thing at the end of a post.  Another interesting example was an open thread discussion on a center-right/libertarian blog that wasn’t about birth or breastfeeding or pregnancy in any way.  But then a dude just busts out with it.

Liberal dudes tend to be super pushy about “posting for their pregnant wife/girlfriend”, which is controlling and weird too, but conservative guys tend to be anti-breastfeeding as a norm.  To brag about how their wife used it as a weight-loss tool, sure, but never as something normal and part of how women birth and nourish infants.  They are also this way about homebirth and midwifery.  Only if they assisted do they support it or speak of it favorably.  One example is the place I purchased some homebirthing supplies from, which was a guy who assisted with his wife’s homebirths enough times that they decided to start a business selling the supplies online.

Breastfeeding for more than a year is especially reviled, which is bitterly funny given the supposed support for SAHMing.

Breastfeeding isn’t always easy and it carries a lot of health issues (like being exhausted from the biological process of milk-making, among other things), but it’s biologically normal, it’s part of the great work that is our womanly form.  We weren’t designed to merely have a baby and then, well, whatever foodwise.  We were designed to breastfeed for many months of an infant’s life, with again a natural decrease in production as the infant matures and can eat more and more solid foods into toddlerhood, where the weaning process is supposed to happen.  These are ideals, and the fallenness of this world makes them not always possible for every woman.  But normalizing *anything but breastfeeding* is definitely anti-woman.  And that happens over and over again among conservatives.  It’s so common to denigrate solely feminine spheres in this way, by only speaking of them when they have some utility as a tool to serve a man’s desires.  It’s not just a thing that gets your body slimmer for funtimes postpartum.  It’s not costless compared to formula, it simply comes with different accounting.  It’s a fearfully and wonderfully made system of infant feeding built right in to start working even before you give birth.  Formula is very clever, but breastmilk production and nursing is so remarkable I do encourage women to try it and support them in doing so in the ways that I can (food, employment for nursing mothers, connecting them with other experienced nursing mothers, etc.)

My position is the same online as it is when I’m helping out women offline to breastfeed at all or for a few months longer than they otherwise would.  Formula is a great invention, but it’s not magical and requires a lot of resources to be a reliable feeding method for infants.  Babies that sleep badly will do so regardless of the food they eat.  And if they sleep pretty good, then they’ll do so with breastmilk as readily as formula.  And making milk is work too, just like growing a baby, so dig in.  But the main way to get more women breastfeeding is to actively support and approve of women staying home all day.  Pumping rooms at a job aren’t going to do it and create many other problems, like pressure on women to run to work ten minutes after delivery.  Anyway this is a hobbyhorse so I’ll hop off and leave additional discussion to the floor.

Real Talk for SAHMs, Honest DITL edition

A Day in the Life, or DITL, is a cutesy internet phenomenon where people post the events of their day in timestamped fashion, often illustrated with pictures.  It is very common in the parts of the internets where “mommies” blog.

This has been sitting in the hopper for about a year because I keep trying to do one and fail, as I’m still so sleep deprived I can’t keep track of my day well enough to list it out with timestamps.

I spent most of this year pregnant, and the rest breastfeeding a mighty warrior.  And that also wears me out.  Breastfeeding can really yank the old calories out of a mother, and I haven’t got them to spare these days.

Today is a good day, I am not going back to bed for a good hour after being up all night with a, well, mighty warrior.  Usually I am back to bed by now and make up for some of the sleep I don’t get at night by doing so during the day.

That’s my life when I’m less than six months postpartum–up every hour or two at night and sleeping a large fraction of the day.  If I have the strength and energy, I get a little cooking or housework done before the sitter leaves, or maybe something more complicated like bills/budget/admin.  Once the sitter goes home, a good evening is either me or T.W.O. cooking while the other wrangles the littles, or taking the whole brood out on the town by getting some groceries.  Yes, our wild nights on the town are buying milk and carrots at 7pm.

This isn’t a very good DITL, sorry.  But I don’t do much postpartum until at least six months after the birth.  When I only had one infant, I just lived like an infant, eating and sleeping mostly the same times the baby did.  T.W.O. and sous vide did all the food prep so I didn’t starve that first six months.  And with that infant it was closer to nine because I seem to grow them mighty and warrorish when I’m not also growing them in pairs.

I am going to do some agrarian lifestyle stuff, and/or get Christmas presents out, and then sleep until 4pm, when it gets dark.  And then the cooking/wrangling combo until bedtime for the oldest kids, and then my day in the life ends with me staying up with the newest addition to our family, as I can’t sleep when the waking is more frequent than every two hours, which is the current deal.

So there’s my day in the life right now.  I’ll try this again in a few months.

Real Talk for SAHMs: When maternal instinct leads to poor maternal health

This is just to say that SAHMs lose sleep because it’s hard to get to sleep at night when you expect the wakeups and in fact they come for years on end.  Then there’s the food issue.  Yes, there is joking around about eating the crumbs the toddlers leave you, but it can lead to either overeating to compensate for the sleep deprivation or slow starvation (and corresponding increasing exhaustion) as appetite shuts down in response to stress.

So people hear about SAHMs being up at 3am doing laundry and think they are silly and frivolous and making up reasons to make it all seem harder than it is, but they aren’t thinking about the four wakeups the SAHM already had to deal with since attempting her own bedtime at 9pm after the kids were down between 7pm and 8pm.  If you can’t even hope to get any sleep and everyone around is convinced you never need a helping hand because you’re home all day and what on earth is there to do, really, then yeah, you just might go ahead and save the laundry for at night since you have to get up every other hour to nurse anyway, or quell a nightmare, or get a water sippy for a toddler’s dry throat and hacking cough.

Then there’s the putting off of medical and dental care because the prospect of trying to deal with the entire process with a bunch of little kids underfoot is too overwhelming to even think about.  It used to be obvious as recently as the 1980s that trying to leave the house with many small children was just not something a woman could do on her own, but it’s now a bizarre expectation towards SAHMs specifically.

Basically, a lot of women are in really bad shape mentally, physically and spiritually, and it’s because they are just trying to follow their natural maternal instincts in an environment set up to work against that in poisonous and damaging ways.  They just need a break.

Real Talk for SAHMs: SAHMs who aren’t morning people aren’t lazy, chronotypes are real

The tyranny of the morning people has got to end.  Traditionally, mostly servants got up early.  Now it’s high status UMC types and their aspirational fans (i.e. most of the rest of American society).

SAHMs frequently act like just getting up earlier is the solution to any difficulties with prayer time, exercising, or arranging the day.  It is a recurrent theme.  I think the earliest I’ve seen or been told offline is to get up at 3am, though 4-6am is the typical range, usually 4-5am.  Which is feasible for a morning person, even through lots of kid wakeups.  Not so much for people with a different chronotype who don’t physically get tired before 10pm.

Wiki says that morning types don’t necessarily predominate, but in American culture they have taken the moral superiority reins and galloped right off with them.  There has been and continues to be a general tenor in American culture that early rising is morally better.  Someone could probably write a monograph connecting it up to the inherent consumption mentality that has ever dominated American society even before the Industrial Revolution.  They could also throw in some anti-Scandinavian polemic.  Thorstein Veblen is the spiritual grampa of overwork as a form of consumption behavior instead of bling.  He wasn’t the only one (there were some Scandinavian ladies behind it too), but his name is probably the most recognizable.  Overwork as consumption good is part of the tyranny of the morning people.

Repeatedly, morning people tend to act like it’s either getting up at 5am or sleeping until noon, and that obviously nobody should pick the latter choice.  The idea that chronotypes occur along a continuum and that even late-night types might well be able to “do mornings”, just at 9am instead of 6am, is utterly alien and threatening to a surprising number of morning people.  They place a stupendous amount of personal value on being up really really early and if other people are up later in the day and still have clean houses and functional kids and regular prayer lives, then maybe being up at 4am isn’t the one true path to holiness and merit.  It’s especially bad in the SAHM world, because the domestic sphere is so totally unvalued that it sometimes just might take a 14 hour day to actually get anything done effectively since the support is mostly in name only.

But chronotypes are real.  And valuing the domestic sphere for its own sake rather than declaring women who aren’t morning people lazy/selfish/spoiled/ungrateful would allow more private households to be functional no matter what time of day the lady of the house arose.  The Proverbs 31 wife is an ideal, not a literal woman.  Also, a lot of cultures have midday nap traditions for a reason, even if they are agrarian and the master and mistress have to pop up at 4am.