I’d like to know what happened to those sweet little night-night times … those precious times of reading books, singing songs and saying prayers. Now it’s more like wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Summer just exacerbates the problem. The other night my youngest daughters wouldn’t consider bed. They stated emphatically and incredulously, “It’s still light outside!”
Of course before summer I was looking forward to summer — for days, weeks, months … no daily duties as a school teacher, the lack of schedule. But now that summer is here, all of a sudden I’m longing for a schedule. And if you know me that might shock you. I start summer enjoying the unstructured days and nights, the opportunities to be spontaneous and to play with my kids. During the summer months we miss a bit more sleep than we should which makes for over-tired children which makes for a mommy who’s hanging by a ragged thread at 10 p.m. … well maybe 9 p.m. … oh, alright, 8 p.m.
Those are not my most stellar mom moments … I just want them to go to bed already. I mean really … GO TO BED!
One night I started bedtime at 6:30 – it began perfectly. Unfortunately I must have shown my delight (i.e. weakness), because my two sweeties turned into my two not-so-sweeties!
Now I’m the bad cop bedtime mommy. My little ones need to do bedtime better. I’ve laid down laws I never imagined even considering. Only one prayer. Only one kiss (well, maybe two). As the bedtime prolongs, the laws are laid down with increasing volume – both in number and tone.
Recently my 6-year old daughter wailed, “I want my nice mommy back. I don’t like this mommy. Wahhhhh!” My heart would have melted just a tad if I hadn’t been chuckling on the inside because I must show no weakness!
The bedtime pickle I’m in is my own doing. I’m old and tired. Single parenting is exhausting! There are so many people to love on, encourage, and train well. I get to the point where I think, “I’m just done, please go to bed. Seriously, what do you want? Chocolate? Soda? Ice cream?” I’m just kidding sorta, but God has shown me something – as He’s always doing. Thank goodness! I’m always saying God gave me 5 children to keep me on my knees! I truly believe that He did – for many reasons.
One, because I tend to believe I can deal with everything on my own – “Got this God, thanks anyway.” Then amazingly I get annoyed when things don’t go well – “Really God? Could just one thing go easily?”
All the while I’ve only uttered prayers of “God, puleaze! Could you fix this?” ”Lord, help!” and “Oh Father!?!” I know God hears them. I know He cares. I also know He wants me to talk with Him, give Him my worries, verbalize the struggle and in doing that share the burden and allow Him to enter into my life more intimately and practically. That prayer thing … it’s big.
William Carey said, “Expect great things from God!” I don’t believe God’s my vending machine, I believe that He’s my Father who loves me beyond measure and takes delight in being kind to me. My Father who will always and only do what is absolutely best for me! That, dearest, is a great thing!
So as I prepare for bedtime — and any other time of day — I’m getting down on my knees, really on my knees. I’m going to share the struggle, allow Him to take my anxiety for the past, present and future. I’ll tell Him all about it. And I know … I know … that He’s going to listen, love me and answer with great answers! He always does.
Sue Birdseye is an author and communicator who shares the adventures she has on her unexpected journey of single parenting. She went from the typical “picket fence” kind of life to being a single mom to five beautiful children. She has learned what it means to be totally dependent upon the Lord and how beautiful that dependence is. Her change of life circumstances has led to a passionate desire to encourage and bless other moms no matter their life circumstances. She has been active in her community as a foster/adoptive mom and public school teacher. She has also been part of her church’s worship, discipleship, women’s, and children’s ministries. She is an avid book reader, a game night hoster, and an early morning writer. Her book “When Happily Ever After Shatters” is the story of how God stepped into her life and the lives of her children just when everything seemed to be falling apart. She hopes that her writing will encourage, bless, and maybe even make someone smile.