I am having a week where I am busier than usual, and add to that a sick kid, and sleep for me has been fleeting lately. Actually I have been feeling sort of whiny about that fact because I enjoy sleep.
Then I thought about just what it means to be a mom who has had little sleep. And I thought about all those moms out there reading MomLife Today who have babies and young children who are in serious need of a sound night’s sleep.
I remember those days well.
I was one of those mothers who used to smirk when I would hear someone talk about colic—I figured that was just a flimsy excuse for someone who didn’t know how to properly take care of a baby. That was a smirk I lived to regret.
My son was born a month early, but was healthy and able to go home from the hospital two days after he was born. From the time I got him home, sleep was a longed for, but seldom acquired commodity—for him and me. He cried … and cried … and cried. I was beside myself trying to bring comfort to this son of mine who balled his little fists as he wailed for hours.
One day my husband shared with me a little-known fact that he thought I might find interesting. “Did you know that King Henry VIII used to have his subjects wake him every 15 minutes because he knew that not getting a good night’s sleep would make him meaner and better able to wreak havoc on his kingdom?” Of course this information was met by me with a cold hard stare and the question, “Are you trying to tell me something here, Dear?” (I wondered if he made that up just to prove a point.)
Yeah, when my son was a newborn I learned all about 15 minutes of sleep and I was getting only about four of those a night. In the long run all I could do was hold my son, rock him, sing to him, and love him through the colic he experienced the first 5 1/2 months of his life. It was excruciating for him and me.
To all you moms out there with crying babies, whining toddlers, and children not interested in sleeping at all—hang in there and love your babies through those rough nights. I want to encourage you that the rewards gained through the selfless love of a mother are relationship and a bonding experience that lasts into their teen years. (Maybe longer, but that’s all I can speak to … so far.)
Some things never change. Last week my 16-year-old daughter woke up at 4:00 a.m., really sick and I woke up to, “Mom, can I get in bed with you guys?” So for the next two days and nights I got little sleep as I played nursemaid and helped get her back to wellness.
As I have thought about last week’s sleepless nights it has made me thankful for the sleepless nights I’ve spent in years past and thankful that my daughter wanted to come crawl in bed with me when she was sick. It made me realize that God has a purpose in a mother’s selflessness—when a child needs help, that child will come to a mom who has proven herself dependable. All the many hours of lost sleep have been worth it. A sleepless mom is a mom who is loving her children well and opening herself up to a lifetime of hearing, “Mom …?”
It reaffirmed my belief that selflessness toward my children is necessary in not just their physical needs, but in their emotional and spiritual growth needs as well, especially as they get older.
I am convinced anew that I need to pour into my children’s lives so that they will come to me at 4:00 a.m. or 4:00 p.m. to ask for my help in any life circumstance. My role is to help, love and point them towards the One who loves them most of all!
Hang in there moms. It really is worth every sleepless night … really!