A fellow mom once told me that she was finally getting more sleep… now that her child was 13 years old. Guys, I can’t lie, I literally started ugly-crying when she said that. I miss sleep so much. Here’s my dream scenario: get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep and wake up blissfully before either child is aware and perkily make their breakfast while humming a tune to myself. They stumble out of bed calmly, sit down for breakfast, and have a calm, lovely day. I am cheerful and pleasant and life is GREAT! NOTE: This has not happened, ever, in the three+ years we’ve had children.
What actually happens: Ren wakes up at 3 AM with a nightmare, goes back to sleep only after seeing my bleary-eyed face peering at her until she falls back asleep. I then am unable to fall back asleep (I have a theory that the pitch of a child’s cry stimulates a fight-or-flight adrenal response in a parent) and lay in bed thinking about my to-do list. The next morning, after tossing and turning until 5 AM, I wake up with a child (Ren) jumping on me and then I have to survive a 9 hour office day (usually followed by 2+ hours of emails once kids are asleep).
OK, so here’s how I survive scenario number 2 which has been my day-to-day life ever since getting back from our Rhode Island holiday. (Praying that Ren’s sleep pattern goes back to normal soon).
UNDEREYE CONCEALER: Don’t hate me but I never used to wear undereye concealer. I also rarely broke out (in my thirties. Teens and twenties are another story. Tom will openly say that when we met I had a “pizza face”. And yet he fell in love with me anyway. Ha!). In the last few weeks that Ren hasn’t been sleeping, I literally have more acne than I’ve had in years and my undereye bags are like Hefty Cinch Sak sized. I came across Julep’s concealer and it is legitimately the best concealer I’ve ever used. The texture melts beautifully into skin (I usually dab it on where I need it and then let it sit for 10 seconds before blending it in… a tip that makeup artist Gregoris taught me).
CAFFEINE: I do the same thing before I go to bed every night, I do the same thing. I lay out Ren’s lunchbox, water bottle (no link for one I love bc I haven’t found the perfect one yet), and other things she needs for camp/school. And then I refill my water pot (which I’ve written about in the past and am obsessed with). I NEED CAFFEINE first thing in the morning. I used to drink a LOT of coffee when I was in my twenties and into my early thirties and then once I got pregnant I stopped and haven’t looked back (it’s an expensive habit and also there’s a ton of sugar in some of those coffee shop drinks!!). I now drink green tea and I mix in this matcha-mushroom blend from Foursigmatic, which claims to help focus and memory and mood… I don’t know if it’s placebo effect, but I definitely do feel cheerier and calmer when I have this mushroom-matcha stuff. I usually have 3-4 cups throughout the morning but I have to stop by 2 PM otherwise I have a hard time falling asleep which, frankly, I do not need to be happening right now. Which brings me to my next survival tactic…
GO TO BED EARLY AF: If I could eat dinner every night at 5 PM and be in my jammies and asleep every night by 9 PM, that is literally my dream in life. When someone suggests a dinner and they’re like “hey, let’s meet at 9 PM at this restaurant where you can’t hear each other speak” I’m like “NOPE.” I guess that’s a sign of my age, lol. (Realistically, I go to bed every night by 10 PM… and I always read before going to sleep to clear my mind of work stuff. Right now I’m rereading Warcross before I embark on the sequel, which is out next month. If you like gaming and want a YA book with an Asian protagonist, give this book a shot!)
AUTOMATE AS MUCH OF MY LIFE AS POSSIBLE: My mom will often call me at, say, 2 PM on a Tuesday, act surprised when I say I can’t talk because I’m running to a meeting, and then she will get mad when I ask her to please text or email me what she needs. Email is my favorite way to communicate because it’s less urgent than a text. I prefer text if it’s purely transactional—telling me where we’re meeting, what we need to buy, etc. Anyway, I’ve recently started Jetblack, a service that is pretty brilliant for moms. Basically, it’s a text-based concierge where you can text them what you need for your kids and they’ll get it to you, super-quick. I’ve been using it for birthday parties because inevitably, I was the mom that would roll up to the kids party with an unwrapped birthday present for little Timmy that was in a whole foods bag with a post it note for a card. I can now text Jetblack and write “I need a present for Timmy who is turning three and likes ballet” and they’ll text me three options for gifts. They’ll then wrap the gift, deliver the gift (with a card!) to my apartment on the day I specify or straight to Timmy! It’s brilliant! I think it’s on a closed beta/waitlist now but supposedly if you use the code Chen01 you skip it. (Note: this isn’t an ad, I’m not paid by them when you use my code). The other suggestion I have is to set up Amazon Subscribe and Save for anything you use regularly (paper towels! Dishwashing detergent!) so that it’s delivered to you on regular intervals, so you never have to waste time at the purgatory that is Duane Reade (and also you save money bc it’s 15% off if you order five things at a time).
Well, would you look at the time? It’s 920! Time for bed! 😊
Thanks for reading and for reference, here are all the past newsletters…
Back in Action: It's been a minute... Here are my favorite eco finds
How I Stave Off Illness: When I’m sick, I take 7 magic pills…
Sleep Stuff: Thank goodness for Suzy Giordano!
Random Stuff We Like: Every time I read this particular book to Tao, I weep profusely.
#Momhacks: seeing everything is more than half the battle.
Random Stuff I Like, Part II: I’ve become one of those people who talks about foamrolling all the time, sigh.
Beauty Stuff I Like: I’ve used this same tinted moisturizer for years!
How to Travel with Kids: We’re taking the kids to Arizona this spring break. Pray for me.
Random Stuff I Like: We use this tea kettle about ten times a day… thankfully it’s not hideous.
Kids Books: I plan to update this list next week! Well, maybe… I said that last week too.
OG Baby List: this is the list to send your friends who are expecting! It’s on my (vast) to-do list to add a few things to this list, so will do that in the coming weeks… (which I realize I said last week too)