I used to sleep like a rock. One time the tornado sirens went off in the middle of the night for a loooong time, but Matt and I never knew. We found out the following day at work when all our colleagues were talking about being up in the middle of the night to go hunker down in their bathtubs. Only we had slept through the whole thing. All that changed when a certain little pink bundle came home the summer of 2010. Suddenly, I heard every noise, every shift, every creak, every deep breath.
Last week, Charlotte was up four nights in a row from 1:00-3:00 AM. I still don’t know why, but I could hear her in her crib talking to herself and her “babies” so I was awake too. When I was eight months pregnant with Charlotte, Lydia started this fun (sense the sarcasm) thing for a couple months where she woke up at 4:30 or 5 every morning and wouldn’t go back to sleep. I was feeling like a whale and not sleeping great anyway because of all the bathroom visits, but the early wake up call was the final straw. I remember marching into her room mad and angry and ready to sort this sleeping thing out. And then I realized the problem was me. I had expectations that weren’t being met. I needed to adjust my expectations.
This is about the time I need to have a little conversation with myself, “Liss, it looks like we’re going through a growth spurt and you’re going to have a string of sleepless nights. You can either moan and complain or you can take the opportunity to pray for your child in the middle of the night. One makes you grumpy. One makes you grateful. It’s your choice, Elissa.” My frustration happens when my expectations aren’t met, so sometimes I’m going to need to adjust my expectations. Going out to eat with an almost four-year-old and an eighteen-month-old is not going to be a relaxing dining experience. It’s going to be a little nuts, and I just need to adjust my expectations before we sit down. Traveling with kids to the beach will take approximately 8.5 times as long as it would if I was just traveling with Matt. There will be countless potty breaks, snack breaks and probably a few tears shed. (Hopefully, most of those will be from the kids and not Mom and Dad.) This is just how it goes. Crazy meals and never-ending road trips and sleepless nights are just part of it.
Most of the time, a little shift in my expectations creates a big shift in my attitude, from grumpy to grateful. And then it’s time to start forming a caffeine strategy for the day… because Momma’s gonna need a lot of caffeine.