Well, hey there. Last night was something, huh? So much time spent not sleeping, it’s a wonder you can function right now. It may feel isolating but trust me when I say you are not alone.
We had a rough night at our place too. The littlest spent more time needing to be held in the rocking chair than sleeping in his own bed, and somewhere in there, one of the older kids was scared and crawled into bed with us. That older kid happens to be a snuggler, which can be adorable, but last night it manifested into him stretching out his pokey little toes until he could make contact with one of us at all times. Sleep was difficult to come by.
So often, after these rough nights, all I want to do is sleep in. Just another hour would be a game-changer. Rarely is that ever possible. If your situation is like mine, and there’s a good chance you can’t go back to bed, here’s what we’re going to do.
Look at your beautiful self in the mirror and smile. I know it will be tempting to notice the bags under your eyes but instead, look INTO your eyes, deep into those beautiful eyes. Notice the tenderness there that allowed you to care for your child throughout the night. Notice the resilience and determination to keep going. Those qualities are inside you, and they’re not going anywhere, even if you’re tired. It’s part of who you are, so cling to it and claim it.
Prepare some nourishment for yourself – as much as you are able. Grab a snack or a cup of tea or coffee. There may not be much time, so even if this takes you an hour to complete between running off to assist with whatever shenanigans are happening, see it through. You are worth it.
Make a plan to do a small act to care for yourself later today and acknowledge your effort to continue despite your exhaustion. It could be picking up a coffee from your favorite shop, calling a friend to chat, reading a book you love for 15 minutes, sitting outside and breathing in the fresh air, or doing your nails. It doesn’t need to be big or extravagant, just a small gesture of kindness to yourself for continuing to show up for your kids even though you may feel so tired you want to give up. Set a reminder on your phone if you need to, but be sure to do this.
I wish I had a magic tip to get your child to sleep through the night. But, unfortunately, the reality is so many children frequently wake throughout the night until two years old or beyond. (Ask a seasoned parent, not a parenting book, and you’ll hear the real story.) We can create the ideal sleep environment all we want, but we can’t make them sleep.
What we CAN do is take care of ourselves so we can keep showing up for them. Today in your exhaustion, please know you are seen, valued, and loved. This phase of life won’t last forever (so those seasoned parents say), and someday we will sleep again. Until then, I raise my coffee mug to you and commend you for hanging in there one more night.