The most obvious of comparisons,
and by far the most helpful parenthood training we have received follows a schedule.
Four hours on, four hours off, for weeks on end. Sleep training is taxing and takes practice.
Exhaustion at its finest, yet I am finding a notable difference between what I am considering “safe tired” and “dangerous tired.” At home with a twoweek-old is “safe tired.”
At sea, the majority of my experience was “dangerous tired.”
In both situations you are required to wake up because it’s “your turn” or you hear a noise and must address a problem.
You drag yourself out of a warm bed, solve said problem, and crawl back in. “Safe tired” is waking up to a crying and hungry baby.
You drag yourself out of a warm bed, yet you stay warm (if you live anywhere with walls and a way to control room temperature),
you stay dry (if your not soaking from night sweats and if your nipples don’t start leaking like a sieve),
you know exactly what needs doing, and are likely not concerned about the general safety of your home and your family.
You take care of said problem with confidence (hungry and poopy baby) and you crawl back into your warm, dry, and stable bed.
You don’t need to bother worrying about the safety of your partner who’s on watch next. YES, you lose loads of quality sleep.
SLEEP TRAINING But I repeat, you are all safe. You are warm. You are dry.
You are not alone in the middle of the sea, full of your worst fears. “Dangerous tired” is waking up to face the ocean single-handed while you let your partner rest so he or she can survive.
You are likely cold and even likelier to get wet. You have four hours to handle
and adjust your sailboat to the current conditions and 12 of those hours often require you to complete risky tasks in low or zero light.
Maybe you have a horizon for reference and spacial awareness, or maybe you don’t.
You might be seasick. You might be throwing up. You’re not sure what might go wrong in those four hours,
so you spend at least half of them trying to be two steps ahead of potential problems.
When your watch is up, you lay down in an already soggy berth and desperately try to rest but remain awake with worry for the person you love up on deck.
The nightmare of the other one going overboard always rests on your chest.
In comparison, the “safe tired” of newborn responsibilities is watered down and we’ve found ourselves managing these tiresome duties with composure.
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