Welcome to Mom Motivation Mondays where weekly contributing writers share their motherhood experiences to encourage you to find the joy in being a mom.

{This week: Post by Jaimi}

All children have different sleep needs. They are not robots. No matter if you have toddlers or teenagers, chances are you have lost sleep since becoming a mom. My biggest challenge as a new mom was getting used to the lack of sleep. My child never slept as much as the other kids or as much as the parenting books suggested. That led to frustration and I reached my limit a few times. Now I have realized that sleep deprivation might be my mom-strength.

There are a variety of reasons why we lose sleep as moms.

Maybe your children, like mine, have separation anxiety when they wake up in the dark and see that you are not there.

Maybe they have fast metabolisms and get hungry before the sun comes up for the day.

Maybe they are teething.

Maybe they work well on little sleep.

(How great of a skill will that be when they are parents some day?)

No matter the reason, it is easy to say “all children of ‘x’ age need such-and-such amount of sleep.” It is not easy, however, to be the mom who does not get the sleep you feel you need.

Sleep Deprivation As a Mom

At times over the past 8 years of being a mom, I thought I would never get a good night of sleep again. When the baby was up to breastfeed or bottlefeed the nights became exhausting. When the toddlers were teething and woke me up through the night, I got frustrated. Teething patterns in babies are a big reason why they wake frequently at night.

If your children are teens and you stay up to make sure they get in before curfew, you may wonder when life will have a normal sleep balance again. We moms-at times-may wish for time to fast forward. It can be tough to enjoy all moments of being a mom.

I have had time to do more than a little self-reflection over the past 2 years of being awake (often for hours) through the night with the twins. Those quiet moments at night sometimes felt awful…I just wanted to sleep!

Then, a breakthrough happened. I started to realize that I have the ability to hate or to love. I could get mad at my children for waking me up at night, again, or I could hold them and realize the little cuddles will not last forever. The twins may be the last babies to actually wake me up at night. Time is not going to reverse. I do not want to wish it away.

A Quota of Mom-Time

Sarah Mae said it well when she pointed out to us moms that sometimes our child just needs us. How big is that?! They NEED us so much. We are so important, so valuable to them that they WANT and NEED us close to recharge their batteries, so to speak.

I noticed on days when I spent more time away from my kids-if my husband was home and went grocery shopping alone, for example-when I got home the kids were very clingy. They wanted to be near me more. It was almost as if they had a mom-time-quota. They needed a certain amount of time close to me each day to feel comforted and centered. They needed mom to help them feel balanced.

My twins have left me very sleep deprived as a mom, but I am starting to think maybe sleep deprivation is my mom-strength.

Mom Strong

I decided with the twins that I was not going to push them away at night. I was not going to try to “train” them to sleep when they still needed me so much. I broke on a few nights. I started to doubt that I was strong enough to deal with the lack of sleep. 

One night, the twins were up laughing and playing with each other as I was trying to rock them back to sleep, and I got frustrated. I placed them both in their beds, kissed them, said, “good night,” and walked out. They immediately started crying out for me. I tried to block out their cries and go to sleep, but eventually the crying got louder and one twin even started coughing like they were going to throw up. Rocking them and waiting for them to get tired sounded better than cleaning up vomit at 3AM, so I went back in and stayed awake with them until they (eventually) fell back asleep.

They were showing me they still needed a lot of me. They needed me to be strong enough to be sleep-deprived for them. 

For the last 2 years, I have slept all night only twice-when I was out of town with my husband and we had family watching the kids. It was heaven to actually sleep. In BIG news, for the first time ever in their lives, the twins BOTH slept all night the other night! They went down at 8pm and slept until 4am. Although that morning wake up time was horrendous, it was still a beautiful thing to get a full night of sleep. If this turns into a trend, my cuddle time with the twins at night might be ending.

I just decided that was it. Time does not slow down or stop. Being a mom means I chose to put another life above my own-I chose to place needs higher than mine. It does not mean I will let myself get unhealthy or lose too much of myself by being a bit exhausted many days.

We moms are capable of comforting our children-helping them recharge-just with our presence. That means a lot of cuddles and it also may mean a lot of waking up at night and sleep-deprivation. That is mom strength!

We often think that we can’t do it. The noise of the parenting world tells us we can’t do it, but we are much stronger than that. We can handle so much. We are mom strong.

 If you are a tired mom, don’t worry, you are just about to realize the depth of your mom-strength.

Are you a sleep deprived mom? Did you every think about it being your Mom Strength? It is and this is why...

Did your children sleep well early on or did it take them a while to learn to sleep all night?

Find resources for implementing routines and schedules in your home. Printables and suggested schedules make it so easy!

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A weekly series of motivation for moms brought to you by stay at home mom bloggers at The Stay-at-Home Mom Survival Guide.