When the Nights are Long
It’s 3 a.m., you’ve been woken up by your crying baby for the fourth time in five hours.
This isn’t a Tuesday night thing. It’s an every night thing.
Your eye balls are burning because they haven’t been closed enough to feel rested. In fact you forget what it feels like to be rested. What is sleep anyway? It seems like it was a lifetime ago that you got a full night’s sleep. Your head is pounding as if someone hit you over the head with a box of diapers. Doesn’t your baby know you need to go to work in a few hours and need to be semi-functional? All you want to do is curl up in your bed, bury your head in the covers and stay there for a good 12 hours…okay who are we kidding? More like 24 hours!
But you can’t.
You’re a mom and this is all part of the gig.
In the midst of your semi-consciousness, you try to figure out why your baby is crying again and why you’re awake again.
Is he hungry? No. You just fed him an hour ago. You try just in case, but it’s a no go.
Is he dirty? Nope. You took care of that two hours ago when he woke up crying.
Is he sick? No. Healthy as can be.
What is it then? Why is he up again? Is he allergic to sleep?
The answers go like this…
Sometimes kids just cry. It’s a baby thing.
Maybe he’s up again because he’s a chronic cuddler or maybe sleep is just not his thing (we know it’s yours!).
And no, as much as you may want to believe it to be true, he’s not allergic to sleep. He’s just a baby and this is what babies do. You can call it a phase. You can say your baby is “fussy”. But I chose to call it motherhood and this part of motherhood goes by quicker than you can say triple latte with a shot of espresso please. This part of your mommy life may feel as though it will never end, but it does…and quickly…so much so that you forget what it’s like to feel that sleep deprived. You forget what it’s like to feel so tired that you wash the same load of laundry twice because you left it in the washing machine too long. You forget what it’s like to feel so tired you put your clothes on inside out…again. You forget what it’s like to pour orange juice in your bowl of cereal instead of milk because you were too tired to notice the difference.
But one of the things you’ll never forget is how that “baby” smell keeps you going at 3 a.m. As tired as you are, that fresh baby scent is one that is so comforting that it makes you forget about the bags under your eyes. There is nothing like it in the world. That scent combined with that warm feeling you get as you hold your baby in your arms gives you the strength to keep pushing through because you know it’s all worth it. When you look down and see that little face it makes your heart melt because you know his unconditional love is one that is unmatched by anyone on the planet. It’s a feeling only a mother can know.
As you soothe your crying baby and his little eyes begin to close, no matter how short of a time it is, take a deep breath and soak it all in. Enjoy the quiet seconds that just you and your baby share during these middle of the night interruptions. In fact, instead of thinking of them as interruptions, think of them as special moments. As you change your thinking about the situation you’ll begin to cherish rather than dread these middle of the night wake-up calls...at least for most of the time! There will still be times when you feel like a zombie; you’re only human! But, these special moments are ones that only you and your baby can share. Think about it. A bond between a mother and child is one that is like none other in the world. This little person grew inside of you for nine months. It’s no wonder why he feels safe and comforted with you.
These moments mean everything, but they are fleeting. As much as you may want to scream when you get woken up every night or because you’re up late again when junior doesn’t want to go to sleep, you’ll actually look back and wish you could have one more of these nights. I know, it sounds crazy, but it’s true!
There’s going to come a time (very soon) when your baby sleeps all night through and that full night’s rest you dreamed about becomes a reality. You may even wake up in the middle of the night to check on him because the fact that he’s sleeping so well actually freaks you out! Shocking, I know, but true because I’ve done it plenty of times myself.
When I look at those sleepless nights in my rear-view mirror they truly feel like they were just yesterday not eight and six years ago. When I close my eyes I can vividly remember rocking my babies. When I take a deep breath I can still smell that “baby” scent that will always have a comforting feeling like none other.
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© Nicola Rios Nogales and ispeakmom.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicola Rios Nogales and ispeakmom.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.