Moms of littles are tired. Like really, really, exhausted deep down in our bones. College me thought I was tired too. But back then, grown-up naps were encouraged and expected, and staying up till 4:00 am was a choice and a “successful” night. Motherhood brought on a level of tiredness that I only read about. From the day you give birth to your first child, your sleep is owned by a tiny human and you become a tired mom. They dictate when you rise when you rest, and how many hours of sleep you get in a night. That first time your newborn strings 5 hours together you do a little happy dance…5 hours! Oh man, that’s rough.
The Tired Mom From Day 1
I remember when my third baby was born, I was having pre-labor contractions all night before I went to the hospital in the morning. He was born in the afternoon, and we discovered he was tongue-tied which meant he couldn’t latch properly to breastfeed. Which also meant we had a very hungry and angry baby. So here it was 11:00 pm, I had been up for 24 hours without rest and my baby was now screaming non-stop out of hunger. I probably slept a grand total of six hours the entire time I was in the hospital over that weekend. When the nurse was discharging us to go home she looked at me and said, “You look very tired, try and sleep when you get home.” Sleep? I have zero control over that until my kids are grown!
You Are Not Alone, Tired Mom
This sleep deprivation and level of exhaustion seem to be a universal experience for moms of littles. I was scrolling through Instagram the other day and came across another mom’s account, @Bethyg27. She has three young kids and is currently pregnant with twin boys. Her post really resonated with me:
“By the time I walked out of their room last night for the ‘last’ time, It was 10:00 pm. I had been parenting since 6:00 am that morning. I was tired and exhausted and ready for some uninterrupted Netflix time. Which lasted until 10:15 pm when I passed out on the couch. Last night was rough. Bear was up at 1:30 am crying, Hudson had a bad dream at 3:00 am, and Emmy tried to squeeze in bed with me at 5:00 until I went and cuddled her in her bed.
At 6, when my alarm went off, I wanted to be angry. But to what point?! This day is going to happen whether I am ready for it or not. Hudson has a field trip I am chaperoning, and Emmy has ballet. So I soaked in the tub with my Bible for 15 glorious minutes before my first kid was up. Reminding myself what I have many times over the years, my day is not dependent on how many hours of sleep I get or my mood. The joy of the Lord is my strength.“
The Tired Mom Vs. The Joyful Mom
It is so true. On my hardest, most tiring days, especially the ones where I had a bout of insomnia the night before, I know I have a choice to make. I can start the day annoyed and frustrated, blowing up at my kids, resenting them for keeping me up at night, longing for my bed, and setting a negative tone for the day. Or I can have a moment, ask Jesus for grace, energy, strength, joy, and guidance, and then move on.
The truth of the matter is, we will probably be tired no matter how much sleep we get. Has there ever been a moment as a mom where you were like, “I am not tired at all today, I could stay up till 2:00 am and keep going!” No. Motherhood itself is physically, emotionally, and mentally tiring, whether on 4 hours of sleep or 12 hours of sleep.
We Set The Tone
Our kids will react to the mood we set at the start of the day. We can be an example and show them we can overcome a foul mood by drawing on the Lord for strength, or we can fill the atmosphere of our home with anger, resentment, bitterness, and yelling. The day will go on no matter what so the choice is yours. I am not saying to stuff your feelings down and always put on a happy face. No. Feel those feelings, address your exhaustion, grumpiness, and need for rest. But don’t dwell on it. Don’t use all the energy you have left focusing on the negative. Change your mood and draw on the Lord. He will get you through and give you energy and strength you couldn’t find on your own.
If we weren’t tired all the time as Moms, we wouldn’t struggle. And if we didn’t struggle, we wouldn’t rely on and draw on Jesus for help. And trust me, you don’t want to go through this whole mothering gig without Jesus by your side.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)