SLEEP! Probably one of the most important elements of surviving, next to eating. The more I learn about its importance, the more I lose. It's a vicious cycle I can never seem to escape, and have never been able to master it my whole life. But when I watch my 6 month old sleep, I realize something so magical. It's not supposed to be difficult! It's just supposed to be...part of each of our days. So, enough with the medical research that tells me how my brain is suffering, how I'm aging more quickly, or how I'm not taking care of myself if I don't get enough sleep. Enough with the pressure to get "caught up with sleep." I'm just going to be happy with the little sleeps I get here and there, however short they are! Maybe I'll "catch up" on sleep when I'm retired, whenever that may be!
But then, there are my kids. For some reason, I can't stand when they don't get enough sleep. Not only do I obsess about how it's impacting their health and performance at school, but I get to experience the wrath of the tired child. Whether it's a meltdown over "almost-nothing" or quick-witted snarky-ness throughout the day, I just can't tolerate it. Oh wait, maybe I'm lacking patience because I haven't gotten enough sleep myself?! Crap! Ugh...I guess I need to get more sleep.
I'm sure other parents out there can relate. As my mom always says, "this too shall pass." I believe this season is all about tiresome days, running low on steam, crashing into my pillow with thoughts swirling around unfinished laundry and the upcoming book report my daughter hasn't started. Meanwhile the baby has decided to have a "sleep regression," which I hadn't even heard of when my bigs were babies just 7 years ago. This is the season, in which we are called to rely not on ourselves to make it through, but to take a deep breath, and pray for energy one day at a time.
When I began wanting to become a parent, when I wanted more kids, when I wanted a family...maybe I didn't realize the level of energy I would need to muster up each day. Maybe I had no clue what I was asking for. Correct! If I was told I had to trade good sleep for the joy of raising kids, I probably would have accepted the challenge in a second. And now, looking back to those pre-kid days, I can sometimes long for sleeping in past 6am...watching something geared for above the age of 10...cooking gourmet meals with no one complaining about the "specs" of black in their chicken...and having time to read a book. But then I quickly remember the laughter that fills our halls, the never-ending intrigue that circles around every single new discovery, and oh... the hugs and kisses. Man would I be bored after one day, and boy would I miss those little minions.
So I try to soak up every exhausted minute, even if it's 3:30 am and I'm alone feeding the baby in a dark room. At least I can see his smile light up when I respond to his call. I'm actually glad I wasn't asleep, and missing out on that!