I sank onto our recliner, hot tears streaming down my cheeks.
I just wanted to cry for a few hours and have a big ol’ pity party.
I wanted to sleep for 10 solid hours and wake up to a clean house and happy child.
I was frustrated. Frustrated at myself because I knew I shouldn’t be complaining. Frustrated because I felt like a really, really bad mom.
Worse, I was frustrated at my daughter, because she didn’t do anything the books said she would do.
I thought it was probably my fault because I didn’t follow the books perfectly. But then, who can? And also, I was sure she could feel my frustration and that made her sleep even less.
I had tried everything – rocking, crying it out in her crib, drinking a bottle to sleep, bottle then pacifier, (always a pacifier).
I had people tell me that if she would just go to sleep on her own, she would soon sleep all night. People told me to just give her water at night and soon she would not wake up for just water.
And the worst thing that haunted me were the mamas who scheduled their babies, and happily shared that they were sleeping all night by 6 weeks, and basically never woke up at night. I wanted to yell at them, “You don’t have a clue about sacrificing for your child. You don’t understand the haze in my head that waking up 5 times every night leaves me with. You don’t understand that if I would wait 3 hours to feed my baby she would scream and scream. You don’t understand how I’ve tried to leave her in her crib and she cried so long, she wouldn’t calm down for almost an hour.”
After many tears and prayers and thoughts, I realized a few things.
One, I adore and cherish my daughter more than sleep, more than schedules, more than the ‘schedule your baby’ mamas!
Two, I realized it’s a season. “This too shall pass.” She will not always need me 3 times a night!
Three, I realized how blessed I am! While many women weep because they’re unable to have a child of their own, how can I complain about mine not sleeping enough? She is a normal, healthy, laughing, happy little girl! She’s my flesh and blood! And I have so, so much to be thankful for!
I know, in my head, it only brings dissatisfaction to compare my child with anyone else’s. God made her beautiful the way she is, and in reality, I wouldn’t change a thing!! I also know that definitely doesn’t help to get frustrated at her. She doesn’t understand why! She needs love, nourishment, attachment to her mama! And yes, someday she needs to learn to sleep on her own. But when she’s ready, she will.
So what does Jesus have to say to mamas who are desperate for sleep and desperate for answers?
Some beautiful verses come to mind:
“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:11)
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
“And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him, and said,Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. (Luke 18:15-16)
“And he said unto me,My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Jesus loves your child, mama! He loves him or her more than you do! More than you ever can! And He’ll bring you through the valleys of sleeplessness! He will bear you up when you need strength to love, to wash your dishes, to rock your little one and let him know he’s loved! It’s through Him that we can overcome our own weakness!
Talk to your husband about your overwhelm! Maybe he’ll be willing to take the baby at night on the weekend or when he doesn’t have to work the next day! If that’s not an option, he might have some sweet words of encouragement for you! Some days when I’m super overwhelmed, all I need is a really long hug from him and his shoulder to sob on for awhile! It seems to make a huge difference on my outlook!Â
And, if you can, ask your girlfriend, your niece, your sister-in-law, or somebody to come over and wash those dishes for you while you catch a little snooze! Or even ask them to watch the baby for an hour while you do some catch up housework. It might make a world of difference in your day and give you a boost! God didn’t mean for us to go through things all alone! He created us to ask each other for help when we can’t go it alone!