Y’all, I’m tired. And I know you are too. As “experienced mamas,” we tell the expectant moms to get ready….they’ll never sleep again. They laugh, only we aren’t joking.
As I read through Chapter 19, I had to laugh. I could have written it. Like Amber, my first born did NOT sleep. Seriously. The day we brought him home was the day he stopped sleeping. When people would stop by for a visit, they would ask, “Do you sleep when he sleeps?” I would cringe and reply, “He doesn’t sleep.” I was dead serious. The kid napped while he was being fed, and then was energized. Repeat day after day. Add in colic too. This child gave me a new thankfulness for that green Ford Taurus, Matchbox Twenty, and Cedarmont Kids Sing Along Videos. He slept through the night for the first time at 3 months old (when I went back to work), and he didn’t sleep again through the night until he was about 3 or 4 years old. Note to new moms: He is now a teenager, and he won’t wake up. So, there is always hope.
When I was pregnant with my second son was when I realized how tired I was. I remember vividly the first time I really lost my cool with my oldest child. I was very exhausted and very pregnant. All I wanted was to rest. I tried to get my son to take a nap. He refused. I kept taking him back to his room. He kept coming back to me. I yelled at him to “just go take a nap. PLEASE!!!!” We both cried.
Another unpleasant exhausted mama moment came not too long ago. My youngest boys love sleeping downstairs on the couch or air mattress, so when we are on school breaks or some weekends, I allow them to “camp out” downstairs. On this particular occasion, I was resting in bed, and my youngest kept hollering, “MAMA!” I would get up and check on him. It was the usual….he needed water and to be covered up and needed another tissue. Then he started making his way up the stairs over and over again. Finally, I became angry and told him if he got back up one more time, he was going straight to his bed and not be allowed to sleep downstairs again. Needless to say, I didn’t see him for the rest of the night. When I got up the next morning, I walked into the downstairs bathroom and found blood everywhere. Immediately, I ran to my children. They were fine. However, when I examined my youngest more closely, I noticed he had blood on his pajamas. Come to find out, he had a nosebleed during the night and was too afraid to wake me up, so he took care of it himself. I was heartbroken and felt like the worst mom ever.
Unfortunately, there are a slew of other incidents between those two, but now, they are getting fewer and fewer. It’s not because I am a well rested princess, but because I was humbled in that moment with my youngest son. In my exhausted anger, I put him in a scary situation, one that could have been dangerous. I vowed never to do that again.
I know I’m going to be tired. Between work, church, my children’s activities, my volunteering activities, and everyday responsibilities, there is not enough time, or energy, in a day to do all that needs to be done.
What I have found, however, is that the more time I spend with God, the more patient and gentle I am with my children. I’m also finding it easier to let things go. Laundry will always be there, well, until the world ends any way (according to my middle child). There will always be something that needs to be done, but my children won’t be little forever. No matter what, no matter how tired I am, I am committed to giving them my best. To do that, I have to put God first. So, I adjust my day. I spend time with God each and every morning. I find strength and peace in His Word. I keep a scripture calendar on my desk at work and on my window sill in the kitchen. I worship in the car with my family when we are running errands, going to school, or driving to church. I talk to God throughout the day, praising Him.
I am still no where near being the perfect mom. I am a tired work in progress. I am repentant of my anger, as it is a sin I am dealing with. And with the help of God, I will overcome it. He has convicted me of this sin. He has humbled me. He is continuing to lead me on a path to righteousness.
I know there will be long days and sleepless nights. I will become weary of the struggles of raising a teenage boy. I will become weary of the night visits of the 10 year old who still gets up every single night to get in my bed. I will become weary of the endless energy and endless questions of my youngest child. However, God promises to give strength to the weary, and I will take Him up on that promise. Will you join me? Will you allow Him to strengthen you so you can give your children your best?