Last week I moved down to the basement bedroom.

I was on day three of what would be a nine-day respiratory virus that produced a high fever and what doctors call a “non-productive” cough—that means your cough isn’t bringing anything up except for air and an explosion of germs. The cough is mostly just there for the sole purpose of keeping everyone up in your home at night.

In addition to my useless cough, my airways were inflamed. This produced an odd humming noise when I was laying down and sleeping. It woke me up, woke my husband up, bothered the cats, and scared my children when they came wandering into our room at 3 a.m. looking for a bed to squat in until it was time to get up for school. One morning around 2 a.m. my daughter came into our room about the same time I let out one of those hums. It scared her so much she screamed as she ran to my husband, who was, until that moment, sound asleep. He also screamed. I woke up to both of them looking at each other and screaming.

So, yeah, I was self-conscious about sleeping.

I worried I’d keep us both up, so, I would lie there wishing I could sleep but knowing it wasn’t going to happen anyway because I was coughing non-productively and humming.

I also knew I wouldn’t get better if I didn’t sleep.

I knew my husband would go insane if he didn’t sleep.

I knew our kids would need therapy if they wandered into the room one more time and heard me hum. So, I sadly decided to move down into the basement bedroom.

I sulked about leaving my own bed as I dragged my blanket and pillow downstairs like my kids do when we kick them out of our bed because they woke us up by repeatedly kicking us in the ear. I felt like I had the plague and had been sent off to the lowest point of the house to be quarantined.

“Where are you going?” My husband asked.

“To bed,” I said, “I guess.”

I looked at him with sad eyes.

I waited for a response.


Finally he said, “You don’t have to sleep down there.”

But, he said it like I tell him, “You don’t have to give the kids a bath.”

I don’t ever mean that when I say it. It’s a rhetorical statement. So, I knew he didn’t mean what he was saying either.

He wanted to sleep.

I wanted to sleep.

I made the bed in the basement. It was a queen bed with the mattress I had when I was in my own apartment long before I had a husband and kids and before I had a humming problem—back when I lived alone and could cough non-productively as much as I wanted, and no one was around to bother. Those were the days when I lived in the Pacific Northwest and could waste my weekend away with a blanket and a book while the rain softly fell on the rooftop.

As I settled in, I had forgotten how comfortable the mattress was. My old down comforter was also down there, and as I climbed in, I slid over to the middle of the bed and fluffed my pillow. The old sheets were soft and cool on my skin. It was so quiet, just like it used to be in my old apartment. That same apartment where, sometimes, the silence was deafening, and the solitude gave way to wondering when I’d finally meet someone and get married.

That was a lifetime ago.

It’s funny how time changes you and how raising kids can transform you. Since becoming a mom, I have longed for those quiet weekends and that same solitude on more than one occasion. “Enjoy your you time,” a friend had told me, “It’ll be gone all too quickly.”

Back then, when I was on my own, time felt slow. Today, time goes too fast. Despite not having a moment to myself, I often go days before realizing it has been weeks since my last quiet 15 minutes. I’ve longed for that time on plenty of occasions. Who knew that a small part of that old life I missed and yearned for in the throws of teething toddlers was right below the hustle and bustle of my busy family life all along.

When I woke up the next morning I didn’t want to get out of bed.


A bed to myself + silence + uninterrupted sleep = amazing.

It turned out that this basement bedroom deal wasn’t so bad after all.

Gone was the tiny sliver of mattress I had to myself because my bed had suddenly become a sleepy time circus of small children. No one was waking me up at 4 a.m. because they mistakenly identified a fuzzy piece of fleece on their pillow for a spider. No one was coming to look for me in the dead of night because I was sleeping in a dark basement. My snoring husband wasn’t an issue because I couldn’t hear him a full floor below. Not because of insulation because I slept so damn good in that bed.

I decided I wanted to sleep in the basement forever.

I slept down there every evening. Suddenly, I didn’t want to get better. I wanted the cough to stay forever, or maybe develop some kind of snoring disorder so I’d have a reason to stay in that room.

I slept there until it was evident I was no longer sick and then I kept sleeping there some more.

One evening I stood with my husband in the kitchen and watched him eat a bowl of Fruity Pebbles. When we were dating, I would have done this with a heavy sigh and a drunk smile on my face as I gazed at his dreamy jaw line while he chewed. But after nine years of marriage, I watched him and wondered what in his childhood prompted him always to think it was fine to leave the milk out even though he had no intention of pouring any more.

“Well,” I said, “I’m going downstairs to bed.”

Then rushed out of the room before he could respond.

I slept down there for almost a full week after I was better. I finally did move back up to my own bed. A 3:22 a.m. wind convinced me by way of blowing through the basement window well and creeping me out.

It’s really dark down there.

I still have a “non-productive” cough, going on two weeks now, but it’s going away. I don’t think I’ve been humming though. As of last night, I haven’t woken up to anyone screaming.


Originally published on the author’s blog

You may also like:

Dear Husband, Do You Remember When All This Was Just a Dream?

A Mother’s Mind Never Rests, Because We Carry The Mental Load

Dear Tired Mom, I Promise You’ll Sleep Again

Want more stories of love, family, and faith from the heart of every home, delivered straight to you? Sign up here!

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Christina Antus

Christina is a part-time writer and a full-time mom living with her husband and cute kids. When she’s not writing, she’s running, reading, folding forever-piles of laundry and probably burning dinner. You can find her musing about her frivolous life at: It's fine, I ran today.

Let Your Kids See Your Feelings Too

In: Motherhood
Mother and daughter hugging on couch

I’m a mom to two exceptional kids–one with big emotions and one with a big heart. What that looks like in our house is an older child who is prone to outbursts and a younger child who’s always trying to help him through them. As we witness our younger son become more empathetic in response to his brother’s tantrums, we find ourselves constantly worrying that he is feeling overshadowed, relentlessly reassuring him there’s enough room for his feelings too. RELATED: Mothering a Child With Big Emotions is Heavy And what I’ve come to realize is that one of the best...

Keep Reading

Once Upon a Time You Got All of Me

In: Marriage, Motherhood
Husband and wife on wedding day, color photo

First there was us, and now it’s them. We have four little hands that need us, and it’s so hard to get lost in parenthood and forget that at once upon a time it was me and you. I promise you, it won’t always be like this. It won’t always be this hard. I remember when we would go for leisurely walks and long Sunday brunches. Now it takes us an hour to leave the house for a 15-minute walk. I want so badly to spend hours lying in bed, talking like we used to, but now I’m so tired...

Keep Reading

I Was Raised by an Easter-Only Mom and I Want More for My Kids

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and daughter read Bible

Motherhood is not for the faint-hearted, and women tend to look to their upbringing for guidance. We may not even realize we’re doing it! But being a godly mother is even more difficult when you weren’t raised by one. The questions are endless: How do I model forgiveness? How do I set the right priorities for my household? How do I explain baptism to my 6-year-old? Is it okay to have undiscipled friends around my children? Do we have to pray over every meal? Is the occasional swear word acceptable?  These questions may be less intimidating if you were fortunate enough...

Keep Reading

We’ll Get Through Daddy’s Deployment Together

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother, father, daughter selfie, color photo

“I didn’t think we did that anymore.” I wish I could attribute that to one person, but I’ve heard it from multiple people when I’ve mentioned that my pilot-soldier National Guard husband is deploying overseas. Yes, we still do that. Men and women still suit up every day to carry out various missions, both valuable and confusing, around the country and the world. And for the whole of 2023 that includes my husband. My partner, my co-adventurer. The one who will use our flight and hotel benefits from his day job to visit Hawaii for three days on a pre-deployment...

Keep Reading

Our College Visit Disaster: What You Should Learn from My Mistakes

In: Grown Children, Motherhood, Teen
Mom and teen daughter selfie, color photo

With a song in my heart, I got in the car to drive my daughter to our first college visit.  We drove two hours to a school nestled in the mountains. It was a state school, not too big, not too small.  She knew plenty of alumni from her high school who attended there, and I was convinced it was going to be the perfect fit. We pulled up to the student center, and I jumped out of the car. I glanced around for her and realized she was still sitting in the car.  “Mom, I’m not getting out. I ...

Keep Reading

I Was Never Good Enough for My Mother, So I’m Done Trying

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman walking away

I’m on a path in life that is so different from what I ever imagined growing up. It’s a path I’m not even sure I consciously choose. And it’s a path that exhausts me. I grew up with a narcissistic mother, and I was the scapegoat. No matter how I tried, I could never gain my mother’s love. It was love that was tainted with conditions and taken away at any time—and that was often. And thus, I tried harder. Best grades, best behavior, cleanest room. It never worked. I was too fat. My thighs were huge—make sure they were...

Keep Reading

Even When it Feels Like I Can’t, I Keep Going

In: Faith, Motherhood
Tired mom holding toddler

When I feel like I can’t do one more thing. When I am overwhelmed and touched out and lost in the logistics of it all. When my physical and mental energy are depleted. When the length of my to-do list needs more hours than I have. When I am so bone tired that I’m sure I just can’t go on. And there is still more to do. And the only choice is to keep going– I keep going. I dig a little deeper and find strength I didn’t know I had. RELATED: Check on Your “Strong” Friend, She’s Faking it...

Keep Reading

I Am an Immigrant Mom

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother and toddler in sunshine

I have many moments of What did I get myself into? during the day, especially when one of my kids is screaming at the top of his lungs and the other is having a make-believe experiment in the kitchen. We’ve heard countless times that raising kids is hard, but raising kids as a first-generation immigrant is harder. Obviously, there is no competition for who has more struggles or whose life is harder because child rearing is hard. Period. But this piece is specifically aimed at shedding some light on the unsung heroes, our so-called, first-gen immigrants raising kids in a...

Keep Reading

What Happens When She Wants Another Baby and He Does Not?

In: Faith, Marriage, Motherhood
Husband and wife, pregnancy photo, color photo

I am on my knees, folded over, with my head resting on the carpet. I am in my closet, which doesn’t see much of the vacuum, and it is the only place I can find to sob out of sight. I feel hollowed out and defeated as if I have run a marathon and was cut short at the finish line. I cry out in prayer, pleading with God to soften the heart of my husband. I desperately want another child, and he desperately does not. I take a deep breath and dry my eyes because my 4-year-old outside the...

Keep Reading

Everything I Know About Motherhood, I Learned from My Mom

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
Mother and daughter walking down snowy path, color photo

I lay in a hospital bed, and the doctor placed my brand-new son into my arms. As I held him close and stared in wonder at this tiny new life, the gravity of being totally responsible for another person settled in with an enormous weight. I could hear my mom’s voice in my mind, “Support the head, hold him close, let him feel you breathe.” Words from my youth when she taught me how to comfort my crying baby cousin. The first lesson I had in taking care of a baby. When I brought my son home from the hospital,...

Keep Reading