Desperation Almost Led Me to Pee in My Garbage Can

garbage-can-e1421723434704-1014x487No, you are not misreading this classy lady’s headline.

Yes, I said that desperation almost led me to pee in the garbage can I have in bedroom.

I said almost.  So simmer down, ok?

Alcohol was not involved, but sleep deprivation certainly was – which I am pretty sure has the same effect on the brain.  I was very close to not sharing this with you at all, but when I mentioned this to a coworker who has a child that is about the same age as mine, the horrified look on my face prompted me to take a second look at my logic by sharing the story with you.

So here are the circumstances.  For what felt like three days, but was probably more like 3 months, Ellie was doing really well sleeping until about 7:00 am.  And then somehow, she began to start waking up at 5am again.  And I began questioning where my life went off the tracks.  As this friend and I discussed today, when your toddler gets up before about 6:30am, especially on the weekend, you start to wonder where your life went tragically wrong.

“Oh no, when they get up that early, you get them out of bed, sit them on the floor and look at them, all happy and ready to play, and think…this is just terrible.  Why can’t you just sleep a few more hours?????” she said.

Yes…that is exactly what you are do.  And if you are a single mom like me, you lay in bed at 5am when you hear your daughter crying/calling for you, and think, “Jesus Christ…if I had a husband, he would soooooooooo be getting up with her right now.  We would be switching off the days of who gets up with Ellie early and therefor I would only be up this early 4 days a week, at the most…haven’t I paid my early wake up dues?  I was a control room producer in morning TV for 3 years!  And before that, I was in at 3am on the weekends, and before that, I crash produced tape pieces…at – you guessed it – 3am.  DON’T I DESERVE A CHILD THAT SLEEPS LATE???????????”

Apparently not.  In fact, when I called my sister using Facetime at 8am one Saturday morning to complain, and I saw she WAS STILL IN BED, AND ONLY ONE CHILD WAS AWAKE…I confessed I had child envy.  And she confessed that if she had a child that wouldn’t sleep past 5am, she probably would never have more kids.

So given the fact that every mom I know understands the frustration and exhaustion caused by early and unnecessary wake-ups, you would think what I said next in my conversation wouldn’t have come as so odd.  Or maybe I have lost all touch with reality.

So as I was walking down the street with my coworker, I continued our commiserating over pre-dawn wake-ups.  “Yea, so Ellie had been getting up at about 5am, and then, for the first time in a while, I didn’t hear her at 5am…but of course I woke up to pee.  The bathroom is right next to Ellie’s bedroom, and I was so desperate not to risk waking her up, that I contemplated peeing in the garbage can in my bedroom,” I said matter of factly.

“Wait…what?  You couldn’t just tiptoe very quietly? And not flush?” she asked, seemingly concerned.

“Nope, tried that…didn’t work.”

“Dear god…” she said, laughing.

“I had tried everything, to no avail that the night before and she still heard me and woke up at 5am, and wouldn’t go back to sleep, so I decided the following night to refrain from drinking water past 8pm, praying my bladder would comply.  And it didn’t…so I actually thought about peeing in my garbage can in my bedroom…I didn’t…I thought long and hard about it…but I did not do it in the end.  The main reason was actually that I did not think I was coordinated enough to pull it off…but all that matters is that I didn’t actually use my the garbage can in my bedroom instead of using the toilet.”

Honestly, it is quite amazing what you will consider doing to keep the peace, quiet and sleep in your house after you have children. I actually reasoned to myself that back before there was indoor plumbing, people relieved themselves in a pot by the bed…so really, I was just being old school.

Then I thought, “You need to get a hold of yourself.  You will not pee in the garbage.  You will use the toilet, and only the toilet, regardless of the circumstances because we do live in a time when there is in fact indoor plumbing.

And in the end, I opted not to use the bathroom until Ellie woke up at 7am.  Instead I stayed in bed for 2 hours needing to pee, therefor not sleeping anyway, but convincing myself it was at least better than continuing Ellie’s habit of getting up before dawn.

In the week since this incident, Ellie has been sleeping until 7am…and I have not been able to fall asleep until about 3a, due to unexplained insomnia.

Sometimes I really think the sleep gods hate me.

About author

Cara Lemieux

Cara Lemieux is a journalist, multi-media consultant, writer, and former producer for ABC News Working. She is the creator of Here We Are Today (, a blog about navigating working and single motherhood in New York City (and now Connecticut). She has contributed to Lifetime Moms (, Huffington Post, HuffPostLive and She recently gave a TedX talk called "Rebranding The Single Mom."

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