Our son has a difficult time sleeping. Difficult? Maybe impossible is the most accurate word. For a time he slept wonderfully. And now that time is gone.
It was maybe two weeks ago that I found myself at my breaking point: at work, crying to a coworker because I was just. so. tired. I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t sleeping, why everything I did wasn’t helping, and why my emotions were getting the best of me.
During that conversation with her, I did my best not to let the tears run down my face – instead just holding them hostage, giving myself a headache. Until I uttered the words, “I can’t even think about having another child.”
Then, all. the. tears.
Why did I even say that? I love my children. They are so wonderful, and I cherish every opportunity to be home with them.
But, the truth is – I’m not sure I can handle having more. Maybe ever.
And just like that, the guilt overwhelmed me and I couldn’t take it anymore. I sobbed.
I felt like a terrible mother. “You’re not a bad mother,” she reassuringly told me.
I wasn’t completely convinced.
But there comes a time when we have to be honest with ourselves, and others, about how our hearts are really feeling.
Sometimes that means we don’t fully understand how we are feeling until we blurt it out to someone else.
There were a few things I learned after that conversation:
Sometimes it’s necessary to cry to a friend. It’s reassuring to hear that you’re actually fine – you’re actually only human, and that means we all have our breaking point.
It’s helpful to write down all the positive things we do in a day for our children, if that’s what helps us feel better.
Hey, you showered today! You kept the kids from hurting each other!
You cleaned up the kitchen, a little! Even the small things counts.
Take a deep breath, and acknowledge that in this moment anxiety may be getting the best of you. When we’re sleep deprived, our minds don’t operate as rationally as they used to. You shouldn’t give your kids up for adoption; you’re a wonderful parent!
Lastly, it’s important to embrace our imperfections. Laugh about it. Find someone that will help you laugh about it too. Honestly, none of us shower any more. That’s what dry shampoo is for. Or baby powder. Or top knots.
One day, truly, we will look back on these moments with fondness. But it’s ok not to look at them with fondness now.