Ah, sleep deprivation I remember it well.
It started when they were born and stopped…well actually it hasn’t stopped.
I have a dear friend who just had her first child about a month ago, she told me that what she missed most was sleep. And that if she could just manage to get 8 hours of sleep one night a week she would be happy.
It was all I could do not to laugh. Because I am keenly aware that desire is going to remain a constant – for years!
I think all moms slowly begin to recognize that once you have children sleep becomes different – there is now a new normal. And that new normal will not be eight hours of sleep…it just won’t.
But the benefits gained from long term sleep deprivation far outweigh the cost.
Let me give you an example, when my daughter was about sixteen and got sick I was up with her for a good three nights nursing her back to health – which led to that familiar exhaustion. I put her needs ahead of mine and played nursemaid to get her back to good health.
A month or so later one night when hubby was out of town she showed up standing at the foot of my bed, holding her pillow and smiling, “Mom…can we talk?”
My first thought – “please no – all I want to do is get a good night’s sleep”.
My second thought – my sixteen year old daughter obviously wants to talk and I need to put her needs first. My needs….well, maybe I could sleep a little extra on Saturday morning.
My daughter and I did some serious talking, until almost 2:00 am, on a school night no less.
In those four hours I had done more good listening and sorting through life’s issues with my daughter than I could have ever done in the next month through our chit chat during the busy days of life.
She knew she could come to me, when she needed to talk. Why? Because I had always been approachable and accessible. I had earned the right to speak into her life because I have spent many, many nights up with her through the years. Either because she was sick, or because she was in the mood to chat.
So my advice to you – accept sleepless nights as a way to grow in relationship with your children. You want to be the one they come to whether they are sick or hurting…or want advice on how to sort through life’s issues.
Yeah…you pretty much have to Be The Mom day and night…for MANY years, so sleep will have to wait till you are old and gray!