Hey there. I’ve noticed you have been looking a little bit more rested lately so I wanted to have a chat before too much time has passed. I didn’t want you to be so wrapped up in doing things like learning new hobbies, spending time with friends, enjoying your life, etc. that you forget what the last few years have been like.
I want to remind you of the tough road you’ve walked of sleep deprivation. It’s been quite the experience, hasn’t it? It’s crazy how normalized some things became for you – like falling asleep while reading aloud to your kids in the middle of the day, obsessing about how many more hours it would be until you could take a nap, and drinking as much coffee as you wanted during the day without it adversely affecting your sleep. Those things actually happened!
Oh, and those mornings. Do you remember those? A kid would wake you up in the 5:00 hour and it was all you could do to not go on a cursing rant on Facebook. Ugh. Those mornings! You wore your cranky pants for at least two hours each day before the coffee worked its way through you enough that you were civil.
Oh my word, and do you remember those sleep regressions the kids went through from time to time? The ones where they woke at 2:45am FOR THE DAY and life was just so painful? How did you do it, lady? How did you get everyone taken care of on those days!? It is nothing short of a miracle.
I’m happy to report you’ve somehow made it through relatively unscathed. Most friendships are still intact, your kids are turning out okay, and your marriage is hanging on too. And you’ve been getting more sleep. More blessed sleep! People with older kids told you these days would come…and finally, FINALLY, they are here.
Go ahead and rejoice! I’ll wait a minute. Or two. Go nuts!
Okay, now that we’ve celebrated, we have some important work to do. There are many women out there who need your encouragement. They are still in the thick of it. These women are upright only because of the power of caffeine, and they are desperate like you were. They are hurting and feel hopeless sometimes. Don’t forget about them! Love them powerfully. Ask them how their kids are sleeping and invite honest answers. (And remember NOT to give unsolicited sleep advice or suggestions. Remember how upsetting that was when people did that to you?). Offer to have their kids come over to play so they can rest. Cook them meals, drop off coffee, even offer to clean their house. They are tired. Do anything you can for them. And whatever you do, DON’T give them anything more to do! Take as much of their workload as you can, because they are bent and nearly broken by this lack of sleep.
And in not too many years, it might be your own children – your daughters or daughters in law. (Sorry to freak you out – your kids are still in elementary school. You’ve got time, but that day will come.) Love on your kids while they raise their own small children. Love them powerfully when they are sleep deprived. Offer to spend the night and be the one to soothe the baby. You might have to offer multiple times, like your mom did for you before you finally consented, but keep offering! Offer to clean their houses. Make them freezer meals and more freezer meals. Drop off coffee and coffee gift cards. Sacrifice your own sleep so they can get a little more.
Let them know that you see them. Let them know it’s tough and it’s okay for it to be tough. Let them know you are there for them. Remember how tough those days were and how hopeless you felt? Remember how alone you could feel and how crazy it all made you? Remember and don’t forget. Give these women grace upon grace upon grace and show up for them in big ways.
So often when the hard stuff has passed, we tend to forget – but don’t forget this time. You are sleeping more now and that is a precious gift. Use your extra time and energy to care for those who are walking behind you on this path.
And let me say one more time, you look great. Congratulations on getting through the short nights. I’m proud of you and I always knew you could do it.