96% efficient?

One of the features of my new fitbit is that it evaluates the efficiency of your sleep on any given night. This morning the fitbit informed me that in the 8.5 hours during which I was in bed, I woke TEN times, which sounds absolutely horrible.  Except I still slept a full 8 hours, which the fitbit rated as 96% efficient. Nevermind the whole ‘awake 10 times’ thing.

efficiency-expert-cartoonI’m not sure how the fitbit sleep algorithm works– how can a good night of sleep include so many wakenings?  But it got my mind wandering to my own ‘efficiency rating’ as a mother, and how so often I judge my effectiveness as a mother by the last time I was impatient, or didn’t really meet the needs of one of my kids.  If there was a gadget to rate me as a mom, I’m kind of afraid  my efficiency rating wouldn’t be in the 90’s.  Some days I’d probably be an outright failure.

Except it depends on where I’m focusing, doesn’t it?  What if, instead of noting every failure, I was noticing every time a child and I had a good moment together, a point of connection.  Times where I guessed someone’s feelings, or validated them, or gave them a hug or a cookie or a ride home when they needed it.  Times when I prayed for them, cheered them, loved them well.

Too often I am way too focused on the ‘wakenings’ — the bumps in the mothering road–the times where I don’t get it right— so much that I am not noticing the times I’m doing well.  I know I’m not perfect, and maybe not even 96% efficient most days.  But if I can remember to notice the times I’m getting things right– instead of mentally tallying every oops in my little black book of mothering– most likely I’m going to have more energy for the things that I want to do more of.  More energy for the things that really matter.

Come to think of it– that’s probably what my kids need more of, too.  More focus on what they’re doing right, and less on the moments of ‘oops’– the wrong turns and the mishaps and the bumps in the road that we all have.




  1. A good reminder – and the way the fitbit actually does track “sleep efficiency” only heightens the analogy. Your sleep efficiency refers to the percentage of time you spend sleeping from your initial “fall asleep” to your final waking in the morning. So you woke up ten times (we all wake up frequently throughout the night without being aware of it), but you fell right back asleep and didn’t spend your night in restless wakefullness. Sleep experts talk about avoiding “clock watching” when you wake up at night, because it impedes your ability to get back to sleep (and I’ve certainly noticed when I’m up with my daughter, that I’m better if I just live in the moment and not reflect on how many times she’s had me up or how long each time is or whatever.) We can do the equivalent of clock-watching with our mothering, dwelling on the bad attitudes or crummy moments or times when we blew a fuse – and it only serves to decrease our overall efficiency because we’re prolonging the unrest. Thank God that one “oops” doesn’t have to destroy our day.

  2. Thanks … I needed that. Maybe I should write some reminders on post-its and stick it everywhere in the houese 😉 …

  3. YESSSSSS!! Years ago I was struggling at night after my kids were asleep, thinking of all my parenting fails of the day. My husband told me to start mentally or even on paper listing all the things I did well. It really changed how I felt. Of course I had way more success than failures. And yes, it’s a great reminder to view other’s in the same light.