I don’t think before I had kids I understood the desiring sleep thing.
That beautiful elusive five letter thing of joy that doesn’t seem to exist much in motherhood.
Last night I had maybe two hours of interrupted sleep. Two hours. And when the alarm buzzed at 6:40a.m. alerting me to get my body out of those covers and to get boys dressed and make instant oatmeal and to change the laundry and to start a day of crazy all I wanted to do was turn that iPhone alarm of mine off and roll over and sleep just a bit more.
Which, just so you know, I did.
And then the back up alarm rang.
(And just so you know again I have a real love/hate relationship with that back up alarm.)
Motherhood is a great deal of wanting sleep and not being able to get it and living in this place where you feel like you’re underwater moving slowly through a life that is racing by at exponential pace and all you want in that moment is to hit snooze and not have one of the three back up alarms wake you up.
In fact, I think that motherhood has a great deal of those all I want phrases sprinkled in it. You know like a break, time off, or someone to make dinner. It’s not that we’re living ungrateful – it’s just that most times what we do is this unbelievable and constant giving without the potential for a break in site. So we get to these points, like I am today, where we just want to utter all I want is sleep. Because truthfully, I’d love a nap.
But we don’t sleep. We would. But life and responsibility and mothering is there.
So we give.
Every single day you give.
You love and nurture and make those sandwiches that are cut into triangles for one and squares for the other. You wake up on that third alarm and find shoes and teeshirts and socks for the seven year old. You rock the colicky newborn or pace around or have the just the right sway and jiggle motion down. You check that email and call a friend and move the laundry and wipe the sink and work and sweep up cereal crumbs and wash towels and fish for change for the field trip.
You just keep going.
I know it’s hard.
And it’s lonely. And sometimes when people ask what do you need me to do? You just want to scream can you not see that I just need to be told that it will be okay or that I will get through or that I am not alone? It’s not that we’re not grateful for the offer for help but sometimes in those moments we simply need a friend. Someone to cheer us on. To see all that we do.
Because often tucked in those all I want phrases is this gut checking heart aching feeling of being alone.
Where was all of that in the motherhood manual? Where were the instructions on how to survive on 90 minutes of sleep and all of that? How about what to do when you’re so physically tired and yet there’s not a break in sight and you have to pick up the kids in thirty-two minutes?
I just kind of want to whisper to you these simple words of not being alone.
I know, I know, I know – it doesn’t replace or help or negate or solve all those all I want statements. I know. But maybe maybe you right now sitting in your home with to-do lists and sick kids (like mine) and lunches to make and toddlers to chase and whatever story line is yours right now – you just need to hear that you’re not alone. And that it’s not selfish or not normal to want a break or sleep or someone to deliver you a hot caramel macchiato from Starbucks (or maybe that’s just me). Those all I want moments in life are simply the reality grinding hard moments of life.
Sometimes I sit in my kitchen with my head in my hands not knowing what to do next. Especially on those days when I’m just beat up by the expectations and duties of life. Yes, those days. Or on those moments after a sleepless night and puke buckets and shaking kids who are scared and don’t like being sick and multiple alarm shutting off for a moment more sleep days. On those days I’ve learned to give myself grace – to step back – to not make rash decisions – and to allow myself the freedom to express my heart. Tucking it all in and shoving it down and saying I’m fine when really I just need love or a hug doesn’t help at all.
Sometimes the tears just need to tumble.
Sometimes it’s okay to say you know what? I’m not fine today. I’m overwhelmed and tired and just want sleep but more than that to know that I’m not alone in this vast world of motherhood and to-do lists and expectations.
Because truth, dear mom who wants sleep or a break or someone to see her, you are incredibly and unbelievably valuable and important. You see – those statements are statements of all you give. You give and give and give. And so often it’s with nothing in return. No gold stars or accolades at the kids school – like hooray look at the unbelievably healthy lunch she packed and the handwritten note – or times when we can just hit that snooze button. There is whole lot of doing and not much seeing of the selfless role of motherhood.
All of those all I want statements will eventually come. The kids will grow. The sleep and breaks and all of that will return.
But now? Now it’s intense. Selfless.
But unbelievably valuable hidden in the giving of self normal role of mom.
I wish I could give you the solution to all those all I want statements. Especially that sleep one. But please know that from me up here in finally thawing Minnesota to you that I want you to know you’re not alone.
I appreciate what you do for your family. Big and small. It all adds up and it all matters and you are an amazing person. Even when you’re tired or stumble or have moments where you’re ready to throw in the towel.
Press on brave and awesome and tired mom.
If you’re a tired mom with me consider reading my letter to both of us -> to the tired mom
I am grateful for you and all moms who stay up all night for the rest of us.
Thanks, Dan. Staying up all night goes on the list of the things moms just do. Even yesterday, I got home from school and Elijah forgot his planner – so back in the car, back the 1.25 miles, into the office – with the planner. Because that’s what we do.
Thanks for all you do too.
a million thank you’s for this. Exactly what I needed to read today. <3
So glad Amy.
I hope today is wonderful.
“Big and small. It all adds up and it all matters and you are an amazing person. Even when you’re tired or stumble or have moments where you’re ready to throw in the towel.” Right there at moments today, this week, and this year. Even reading those words helps me take a deep breath and remember. Thank you for your blog, sharing your encouragement, especially when I need it.
Thank you for reminding that I am not alone and I am normal to want to sleep or want a break. It has been “One” of those weeks where I felt one more “I want” and I am going to lose what is left of my sanity.
I enjoy your blog tremendously and feel it touches my heart. You say exactly what I am feeling and need to hear. Thank you.
Thank you for that. I am looking after 2 precious children on very little sleep. I have so little energy during the day and it makes me grumpy and snappy. It’s not their fault, but it is hard. This too shall pass.
I was so there last week. I could not keep myself together… Every little thing had me falling apart. I desperately needed sleep! Thankfully I was able to get some this past weekend and it is like I’m a different person. I really appreciate your words… Spoke straight to me. Hoping you can sneak in a nap or three
I know how you feel, but when you hear, ” Mom, your just the best mom ever!” It makes it all worth it. Remember when they get older and call they never ask to talk to anyone else. They always ask for Mom.
I feel you. I hate being exausted, feeling unappreciated. If I never hear whatever or anything is what I want for dinner would be wonderful. I rarely get to eat and not hot as Mama is normal. I just want to clean the crap, sorry mess up, and be left alone. You are worthy too! Mama cursed me telling me my kids should be 10 times worse than me. He’s not the problem. I know God has a plan to get us to a more peaceful home where I can be less stressed and a better Mommy. We will miss it when they are teenagers. 🙂 Pouting over. Thanks! Hugs!
I want you to know I read your articles. your writings help me feel less alone. We moms are so important to the success of our kids. Our kids dont judge us, but we sure judge ourselves.
Thank you for these words. I needed to feel like I wasn’t alone today.
You are not alone, either. Here’s to hoping you squeeze a quick nap in.
Your words always wrap around me and give me the biggest mom hug. When I was really underwater from lack of sleep people used to always say, “It will get better.” It used to drive me nuts. I just wanted to have someone say it’s okay, I’ve been there too. We had neighbors over the other night and I shared that we continute to have sleep issues even with a 5 year old and 2 year old and they said, “Finally someone else.” Connection matters.
I can’t believe that you even mentioned puke buckets! You hit the nail on the head describing my life this last week. 4 boys ages 6 and under all puking at once. No sleep for this tired momma. Thank you so much for sharing your heart…and your encouragement. This is my first time to comment, but definitely not the first time I have been inspired and blessed by your words. Thank you for taking your precious time (that you could spend sleeping) to write exactly what we need to hear. I pray God blesses you richly for that.
i think this was written for me specifically today. thank you. i’m beat.
As a mom to a 13, 10 year old and 3 month old I cry and relate to every post you write! Such raw, real and true words and emotion in these posts!! Thanks for the virtual pep talks and hugs!!
You’re welcome, Nicole. 🙂
I love this! Thank you times a million.
Yes, you are welcome, Jen. 🙂