It’s amazing how much babyhood revolves around sleep, or lack there of. Lately, my 21 month-year-olds have been on bouts of sleeplessness. Waking multiple times a night, and naptimes ceasing to exist has quickly thrown my body clock and theirs out of balance. There are times when one or the other just wants to be held and comforted. One day, after one of my boys just would not nap, he and I sat together and rocked quietly. For a while, frustration ensued. Frustrated because I didn’t have “my naptime” and frustrated because he wasn’t getting the sleep he needed. But as we rocked, I shoved those thoughts aside, and was reminded that it wasn’t too long ago (but it seems like forever ago!) when he and his brother were tiny newborns, and I longed to just sit and hold them as they slept in my arms.
A little over a year ago, we brought our babies home and the waiting was over…but now what?! I jumped into the motherhood pool with both feet, with little training but a whole lot of love to keep me afloat. In the early months of the boys’ birth our schedule looked a little like this:
-Babies wake up
-Mommy wakes up
-Mommy takes 15 minutes to get ready to nurse them; set up Boppies, strap on tandem nursing pillow, get extra blankets, towels, pillows, water, oh wait gotta go pee, scratch that, then do it all over again…. (sounds kinda funny now, but at the time it was NOT funny at one o’clock in the morning)
-Babies nurse for twenty minutes or so
-Burp babies, which isn’t always easy!
-Put babies back to sleep
-Mommy pumps for 25 minutes more
-Mommy stores milk and cleans up
-Mommy sleeps for 30 minutes
The schedule was pretty intense, especially for someone like me who does not do well on little sleep, but the thing that made my heart ache the most was that I just felt like a feeding and changing machine. I couldn’t just hold my babies while they slept. I was always handing one boy off to someone else or putting one down. It seemed everyone else got to hold and snuggle them while pushing me off to go take a nap or pump. I’m not going to lie, when I was around my other friends who had just had a baby as well, I felt a tinge of envy as I’d watch her just sit there chatting away as their little baby slept peacefully in her arms.
After the fog of the first month or two—or was it three? — cleared, we fell into a good sleep routine, and I got to experience sleeping four to five hours and then eventually through the night and even managed to fit in a nap from time to time. But I realized while some stages in babyhood seem to be unending, there are others that just don’t last long enough.
So, fast-forward back to the beginning, rocking my boy while he quietly dozed quickly went from frustrating to peaceful as I reminded myself that’s what I wanted all along; to be able to enjoy those quiet, tender moments that are reserved for mothers.
Through this experience, God helped me to see a tiny glimpse of what He may be experiencing with us. He watches us through our busiest days, fulfilling all of our daily obligations and responsibilities. He watches our victories and struggles, our proudest moments and our most shameful. He watches us put Him on the calendar for an hour on Sunday. How painful must it be for our Father to watch us fill our lives with everything but Him, looking to everything else but Him for answers. He watches, but really wants our most quiet and peaceful moments to be with Him; to give us rest, and peace, and comfort from a tiresome world.
[And Jesus said:] I thank thee, O Father, thou has hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes…come unto me all that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…
-Matthew 11:25, 11:28