Friday, January 2, 2015

Embracing Sleepless Nights (and Other Challenges)

One weekend before  Christmas my mom, JaiseAnn, and I spent our Saturday at a Christmas expo. We walked around, visited with vendors, sampled food, and shopped. We ended our trip with a quick stop to nurse JaiseAnn in the mother/baby "rest stop" and went out to lunch.

Zach was with his dad that day and I knew he was planning to spend the evening with his dad, brother, and grandpa watching a football game. It meant that I was alone for the pre-bedtime witching hour and for all that bedtime entails. A few months ago that would have given me a bit of anxiety. Instead, I was excited about it.

JaiseAnn and I played together on the floor. I made her a little dinner. We took a walk. I gave her a bath and put her in her pajamas. Then I crawled into bed with her and nursed her to sleep. I fell asleep, too. I was exhausted and I was so looking forward to an evening curled up in bed cuddling with my little girl. It was almost perfect.

A few months ago if you would have told me that I would have looked forward to an evening alone with JaiseAnn at bedtime, I wouldn't have believed you. If you would have told me that I would appreciate the fact that I could sleep in the same bed with her. I would have scoffed at you. But it's true.

Because a few months ago I was too busy thinking of how things should be. I was too busy seeing other moms on social media put their kids down for naps, leave for overnight trips, and go out on long dates. I was too focused on all that was WRONG with our current situation and not focused enough on what was right.

As I've reached out to more and more moms, I've found that we are all not that different and that each child has a unique set of challenges. JaiseAnn's biggest challenge is without a doubt, sleep. That being said. I don't fight it anymore. I know she will wake up a lot. I accept that she's in our bed. I accept that she still nurses throughout the night.

Acceptance of those things has done something incredible...It's allowed me to embrace and enjoy those things. Most nights I recognize that my little girl won't want to be cuddled so close forever. I recognize that our nursing relationship will end sooner than I will likely be fully ready for. I recognize what a blessing it is to sleep beside her and to comfort her throughout the night.

As I've reflected on that this past week, I've realized that maybe I'm learning something that I really could apply to every area of my life. When things get hard or challenging (and they often do) I really could benefit from taking a step back and focusing on the good and the positive things rather than everything that my current situation is lacking. Not only would it help me to accept and deal with challenges, but I truly feel like it might help me to embrace them.

Motherhood is teaching me so much. Maybe by the time JaiseAnn is a grandmother I'll be the person I want to be. Just maybe. And it will all be thanks to her. Her and her terrible sleep patterns.

What are your thoughts? Have you been able to find the positives and embrace some more challenging times? What's your trick?

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