Monday, August 23, 2010

Sleep: To Sleep or Not To Sleep...

Mothering is about sacrifice.

Dear New Mother,

When will you next get some sleep?

Perhaps it will be when the first night you bring your baby home...
Or will your desire to watch the little human you created and worry over it's safety keep you awake?

Perhaps it will be when you have finally become used to have a small baby in your house and are exhausted from all the new demands put upon you...
Or will the biology of your day and night confused newborn force you to stay awake?

Perhaps it will be when your baby is a bit older, no longer a newborn, and seemingly the entire universe is telling you your baby should be sleeping through the night....
Or will the middle of the night cries of hunger for that dear bottle or breast touch your heart enough that it keeps you awake?

Perhaps it will be when you've overcome the influence of others and now have a walking and talking toddler..
Or will the tears of a "big kid" who wakes up at night sad because they have wet the bed once again keep you awake?

Perhaps it will be when you finally have a child, a little person surely capable of sleeping at night...
Or will that first nightmare that makes you want to hug your child and let him/her know how safe they really are cause you to stay awake?

Perhaps it will be when you've put that child to bed early so that Santa can come and leave a gift...
Or will that little bright excited f
ace keep you awake (or rather wake you up out of anticipation!)?

Perhaps it will be when your child has their first sleepover....
Or will the anxiety and nervousness of having your child away from home and wondering how s/he is being treated keep you awake?

Perhaps it will be when your now older child starts sleeping happily at night....
Or will that horrible illness that is spreading around vatch your kid and your desire to comfort them through the sickness keeps you awake?

Perhaps it will be not when your child sleeps, but when your pre-teen stays awake all night cramming for an exam....
Or will you worry so much about your child not getting enough sleep their self that you stay awake? Or will you stay awake yourself trying to help with the homework?

Perhaps it will be when you have a teenager fully capable of caring for themself?
Or will the first time they miss curfew and the constant wondering if you should call the cops or give it one more hour keeps you awake?

Perhaps it will be when you trust the peers of your teenager so much so that a missed curfew no longer bothers you?
Or will the time they come home heartbroken for the first time or teased to tears keep you awake?

Perhaps it will be prom night when you fully relinquish control, you no longer have a say and can only hope your child has grown into a mature responsible adult...
Or will the thoughts of that safe
-sex talk you had the night before keep you awake?

Perhaps it will come when your child, now adult, finally has their own place?
Or will the lonliness, utter silence, and worry of your child's safety keep you awake?

Perhaps it will be when your child is expecting themself and calls in the middle of the night thinking they have had labor contractions (or wife/partner has)?
Or will the anticipation and excitement, the thoughts of what your grandchild will look like, keep you awake?

And then starts a new generation. When will your daughter or son get any sleep?


When we choose to become a mother we choose our baby over ourself. At least I hope that is the case. So let's get real for a minute. When you have your beautiful new baby you have given up sleep for *at least* the next 18 years. When I read about all the moms who just want their baby to learn to sleep through the night I have to take a deep breath and chuckle a little. I want to say "But momma your little one is going to keep you up for the next eighteen years, enjoy the night wakings now and just get used to it". We might as well do just that, get used to it. When we accept that a reasonable amount of sleep is no longer something that we will always, or for some of us 'ever', get then we can find other ways to get in some rest or feel refreshed and happy as parents.

Find a way to embrace and enjoy this new era of your life. Even without that much needed sleep.



  2. I'm linking this to a new mom's Facebook page. Someone should have said this to me a couple of years ago. ;-)