A common piece of advice thrown out at moms who are expecting their first child is, “You will never sleep again, so before the baby comes, rest up!” Upon hearing these words, my thoughts, as any unknowing mom might do, landed on thinking, “Well, although I might not sleep the first year, there is lots (and lots) of time for me to catch up on my rest once the baby sleeps through the night.” How wrong I was. So very wrong.
As any seasoned mom knows, the sleep never quite returns, nor is it ever the same after you have kids. Why? Because, although your children sleep through the night, you don’t, because there is always something to do to prepare for the next day; or when your children are away at grandma’s or out with friends, you toss and turn, thinking about them and hoping that they are okay. I recently even stayed up fixing a computer until 2 a.m. so that my middle child had what she needed for school the next day, only to be told when she got in the car at the pickup line, “We didn’t use our computers today, Mom! There wasn’t enough time.”
Although I could remain angry at how often I lost sleep only to deal with all the anxiety, worry, and late-night computer fixes, I find incredible humor in it all. Somewhere along the way, I have learned that sometimes you have to “roll with it.” The Holy Spirit has and continues to sustain me as I travel through motherhood, and sleepless nights are just one of the many places he guides me to better understand that it all will be okay. I have often found that the greatest doses of humility are offered to me during those nights, and what often follows is the sense of the Lord saying to me, You did not need to worry about that, anyway.
In Philippians 4:6-7 we are encouraged not to worry, but to pray about everything. With thankful hearts, offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with a peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel. In those late nights, let us all remember to stop and pray for peaceful rest. Instead of worrying about all the details and to-do lists that spring out of family life, let us turn to God and, in the words of Saint Augustine, fully rest in him. Sleep may not return for some time, nor ever be the same, but I have found that the peaceful rest I most need and really desire can only be found in God. And my prayer for you is that you, too, get the rest that you need, even when you are finding yourself up at 2 a.m. conquering another worry or tending to another item on your mother to-do list. Rest well, my fellow moms.