Open letter to mums who badly just want to take a break and sleep
Hey mom, have you ever had days where you just want to curl up in bed and sleep? If yes, don't worry, you aren't the only one. This letter is for you.
I don’t think before I had kids I understood the desiring sleep thing.
That beautiful elusive five letter thing of joy that doesn’t seem to exist much in motherhood.
Last night I had maybe two hours of interrupted sleep. Two hours. And when the alarm buzzed at 6:40a.m. alerting me to get my body out of those covers and to get boys dressed and make instant oatmeal and to change the laundry and to start a day of crazy all I wanted to do was turn that iPhone alarm of mine off and roll over and sleep just a bit more.
Which, just so you know, I did.
And then the back up alarm rang.
(And just so you know again I have a real love/hate relationship with that back up alarm.)
Motherhood is a great deal of wanting sleep and not being able to get it and living in this place where you feel like you’re underwater moving slowly through a life that is racing by at exponential pace and all you want in that moment is to hit snooze and not have one of the three back up alarms wake you up.
In fact, I think that motherhood has a great deal of those all I want phrases sprinkled in it. You know like a break, time off, or someone to make dinner. It’s not that we’re living ungrateful – it’s just that most times what we do is this unbelievable and constant giving without the potential for a break in site. So we get to these points, like I am today, where we just want to utter all I want is sleep. Because truthfully, I’d love a nap.
But we don’t sleep. We would. But life and responsibility and mothering is there.
So we give.
Every single day you give.
You love and nurture and make those sandwiches that are cut into triangles for one and squares for the other. You wake up on that third alarm and find shoes and teeshirts and socks for the seven year old. You rock the colicky newborn or pace around or have the just the right sway and jiggle motion down. You check that email and call a friend and move the laundry and wipe the sink and work and sweep up cereal crumbs and wash towels and fish for change for the field trip.
You just keep going.
I know it’s hard.
And it’s lonely. And sometimes when people ask what do you need me to do? You just want to scream: can you not see that I just need to be told that it will be okay or that I will get through or that I am not alone? It’s not that we’re not grateful for the offer for help but sometimes in those moments we simply need a friend. Someone to cheer us on. To see all that we do.
Because often tucked in those all I want phrases is this gut checking heart aching feeling of being alone.
Where was all of that in the motherhood manual? Where were the instructions on how to survive on 90 minutes of sleep and all of that? How about what to do when you’re so physically tired and yet there’s not a break in sight and you have to pick up the kids in thirty-two minutes?
I just kind of want to whisper to you these simple words of not being alone.
I know, I know, I know – it doesn’t replace or help or negate or solve all those all I want statements. I know. But maybe, maybe you right now sitting in your home with to-do lists and sick kids (like mine) and lunches to make and toddlers to chase and whatever story line is yours right now – you just need to hear that you’re not alone. And that it’s not selfish or not normal to want a break or sleep or someone to deliver you a hot caramel macchiato from Starbucks (or maybe that’s just me). Those all I want moments in life are simply the reality grinding hard moments of life.
Sometimes I sit in my kitchen with my head in my hands not knowing what to do next. Especially on those days when I’m just beat up by the expectations and duties of life. Yes, those days. Or on those moments after a sleepless night and puke buckets and shaking kids who are scared and don’t like being sick and multiple alarm shutting off for a moment more sleep days. On those days I’ve learned to give myself grace – to step back – to not make rash decisions – and to allow myself the freedom to express my heart. Tucking it all in and shoving it down and saying I’m fine when really I just need love or a hug doesn’t help at all.
Sometimes the tears just need to tumble.
Sometimes it’s okay to say you know what? I’m not fine today. I’m overwhelmed and tired and just want sleep but more than that to know that I’m not alone in this vast world of motherhood and to-do lists and expectations.
Because truth, dear mum, who wants sleep or a break or someone to see her, you are incredibly and unbelievably valuable and important. You see – those statements are statements of all you give. You give and give and give. And so often it’s with nothing in return. No gold stars or accolades at the kid's school – like hooray look at the unbelievably healthy lunch she packed and the handwritten note – or times when we can just hit that snooze button. There is a whole lot of doing and not much seeing of the selfless role of motherhood.
All of those all I want statements will eventually come. The kids will grow. The sleep and breaks and all of that will return.
But now? Now it’s intense. Selfless.
But unbelievably valuable hidden in the giving of self, normal role of mum.
I wish I could give you the solution to all those all I want statements. Especially that sleep one. But please know that from me up here in finally thawing Minnesota to you that I want you to know you’re not alone.
I appreciate what you do for your family. Big and small. It all adds up and it all matters and you are an amazing person. Even when you’re tired or stumble or have moments where you’re ready to throw in the towel.
Press on brave and awesome and tired mum.