Being a parent teaches me a lot of things. Sometimes it forces me to learn things I’d rather not learn. Things like how to survive the world with less than a few hours of sleep or how to cook dinner with a crying toddler and un-soothable five-month old or how to be patient when you haven’t slept in three years. Things like that.
Lately, I’ve been struggling with maintaining my health and well-being while my two kids are simultaneously going through growth spurts/separation anxiety/teething.
Everything I read says that sleep is mandatory for your mental and physical health. It helps you lose weight and maintains your sanity. But having kids teaches you that when circumstances are beyond your control, you need to take the reigns on what you can. This means to stop resisting what you don’t want so you don’t miss out on the moment.
I have always struggled with insomnia. But now I have external alarm clocks in the sounds of crying babies that wake me up. Being a mom makes me hyper-alert to everything from the late night jogger to the car down the street. Normally, a lack of sleep turns me into an ugly gremlin. My son has even closed my door once saying, “Oh no! Scary mommy is coming out!” I’ve had to fight my desire to sleep. But I realized that some things like sleep are beyond my control. Is it possible to still find something salvageable in a day even if I don’t get what I think I need?
Yesterday during one of the worst days without sleep, my son and I laughed and giggled. While I’m too tired to remember over what, I do know that my ability to let go and surrender gives me the energy to do what I can. Fighting with what is not only depletes me further, but it ruins what still can be a wonderful day.
This does not mean you’ll see me smiling like a fool (unless it’s from delirium) when insomnia hits. But it does mean that my kids have given me yet another reason to be grateful. Yes I may not have slept at all last night. Yes my eye is twitching like crazy from fatigue. Yes I probably won’t have the energy to be supermom today. But every one is well. No one has to go to the ER. And I am here and so are they. In the big, giant scheme of things, this is but one day. I will probably have many well-rested nights when the kids are grown and gone. But I have them now cuddly, crazy and needing their momma.