Going into the new year I chose to focus on a word and use it as a guide to help me reach my goals. I’m usually not one to take part in ‘resolutions’ or ‘new year new me’, I really just wanted to be a better version of myself, for myself and for my family. So, for weeks I prayed to God asking what He wanted me to change about myself in order to become more like Him. It always good to strive to be better, right?
I’m emerging from the “newborn fog”, as people like to call it, and I’m beginning to feel (a little) more rested and clear minded; we’ve found our groove – our routine – as a family of four. For the past seven months my focus has been on sleep, which isn’t a surprise if you’re a parent. Sleep is like the holy grail of parenthood – everyone talks about it and everyone wants a piece of it.
Is your baby sleeping through the night?
Are you sleeping when baby is sleeping?
Do you co-sleep?
Did you sleep train?
My baby puts himself to sleep.
Oh, well I have to rock my baby to sleep.
Ugh…my baby doesn’t sleep.
Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.
It’s like, all everyone wants to know is if your brand new human, who has been in the world for less than a year, is a good sleeper. And all us Mamas ever talk about is how we are “tired as a mother” (guilty) or how “my baby is such a great sleeper #blessed” (guilty). We buy books about sleep training, we follow sleep consultants on Social Media, we even pay money to take classes about sleep. Don’t get me wrong, I get it. Sleeping is vital for us to survive, especially when you’re raising children. And I’ll even sit there and talk about it all day long, because, well, when you become a parent all you talk about is your kids.
But sometimes I feel like I’m so focused on their sleep, that I’m losing time with them while being awake. Like, while they’re awake I’m literally counting down the minutes until nap time or bedtime, instead of focusing on our time together.
Are you following what I’m trying to say?
I’ve never been the type that requires a whole lot of sleep in order to function. Now, I’m not saying that I don’t like to sleep, because if I could sleep in until 10 I would. But, my body literally will not let me. I’m *usually* an ” early to bed, early to rise” type of girl – just like my daddy. And I kind of like it that way.
But the more kids I have, the more I feel inclined to get as much sleep as I possible can, whenever I can get it.
I’ve even been guilty of bringing my kids down stairs, popping on a movie for my toddler, putting the baby in his exersaucer, laying my tired butt down and closing my eyes. Ugh. Not a proud moment.
My seven month old goes through these phases where he’ll either sleep through the night with zero wakings, or he’ll wake up around 3:30-4am. *eye roll* One particular night I remember becoming increasingly frustrated, because I felt like I had tried everything to get him to go back to sleep – patting his bottom, paci, rocking in the chair, swaying and shushing…I even gave him a bottle – but nothing I did worked. His beautiful big blue eyes were wide open just staring at me. He would smile a few times and turn his head like he was getting shy, and I, being a very exhausted human being, did not find it cute. All I wanted was to go back to my warm cozy bed and close my eyes.
Then, God sent the Holy Spirit to wake me up.
In that moment, during the middle of the night, I knew what I needed to focus on in the coming year – being awake, being intentional with our time together. Within seconds I felt overcome with a sense of peace and calmness. I wasn’t frustrated anymore. My body went from being tense to feeling light and airy. I sat down in the rocking chair, holding my son and staring into his eyes, and I knew God wanted me to be intentional with my time with my children and to do it with a joyful heart. Even at 3:30 in the daggum morning. I was so focused on getting him to sleep that I was missing a vital bonding moment with my son. I was missing an opportunity to extend unconditional love and grace. I was wishing time away.
I rocked him for almost an hour that night. All he wanted was to be held. All he wanted was to feel safe. All he wanted was his Mama. So, I stayed awake for him with a joyful heart.
Wake up Mama, time is fleeting.