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A reminder letter to myself—stop losing sleep over your children’s sleep

You will spend a full night in your bed again. A full, uninterrupted night...tonight is probably *not* that night.

A reminder letter to myself—stop losing sleep over your children’s sleep

Dear tired Me,

You will spend a full night in your bed again. A full, uninterrupted night. Spooning with the love of your life. Fingers intertwined.


Tonight is not that night.

You have four kids. Set realistic expectations for yourself, and start accepting what your heart has already has embraced—that you need sleep at night, and your children need you. You will one day get more restful sleep when your kids are sleeping away at college, or in their own apartments. And you’ll miss those tiny arms around your neck at night.

For the last seven years you have been co-sleeping. Co-Sleeping was never the plan, but when fatigue got the better of you, you chose “the easy way.”

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You tried “the hard way.” There were tears—from you and from your child. You decided that no one needs that kind of pressure. You learned to trust your instincts. You arrived at co-sleeping after your fair share of struggles. Now there’s no shame in your sleep game, because everyone is actually getting sleep.

Now, you must let it go. I need to stop losing sleep over it. It works for us, and this is key. We all have to do what works for our families.

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Tonight you will sneak up the stairs hoping you won’t startle those little sleeping heads, praying that they all stay asleep. And just as you’re settling to sleep, you will hear the familiar call. And you will answer it.

Tonight, like every other night, you will be too tired to settle and soothe bending over the cot. Because...achy back. So instead you will bring the little one into your bed.

The middle of the night isn’t a time for parenting. It’s a time for survival.

Tonight you will not be wearing that silky little number that’s been gathering dust at the back of the wardrobe. No. You will wear whatever you can grab to be ready for the midnight ambush—baggy, comfy, warm. It seems, the middle of the night isn’t a time for being sexy these days. But one day we’ll bring the sexy back.

Tonight, as your child settles soundly and happily next to you—his little arms wrapped around your neck tightly, breathing softly—you will feel whole with happiness and love.

Tonight, when your 3-year-old wakes because his bed isn’t nice and comfy, he is too cold, he can’t sleep, he saw a monster, or because he simply needs a hug—you will know in your heart, this too will pass. When you’re in the thick of it—wondering if your nights will be like this forever and where you’ve gone wrong—hang in there, and know you’re not alone. There are many mamas in your same spot, with similar thoughts.

We’re all in this together.

Tonight, when you end up in the spare bedroom sandwiched between two little boys, you will feel like a champion. Because of all the love around you. Sweet, soft and snuggly love.

Tonight you will accept that the “stay in your bed” reward chart that you hung up for your 3-year-old has failed you. At 2 a.m. he doesn’t care about all the stickers, presents or bribes in the world. At 2 a.m. when he wakes up alone in his bed, all he cares about is not wanting to be alone. All he cares about is being warm and needing cuddles.

Tonight, you are ready for whatever may come your way: ear infections, night terrors, vomiting bugs, bad dreams and high temperatures. Regardless of how tired you are or how many curse words run through your head, you will give those mama hugs.

If you are unsure about your sleeping arrangements or feel that whatever you are doing isn’t the right thing, know this: Accidental co-sleeping does not equal failure. It’s easy to feel like you’ve failed at parenting if you let your child sleep with you. But you aren’t failing. Co-sleeping helps us all get better and more sleep. Co-sleeping has helped us through the early stages of breastfeeding, through terrible teething bouts, sickness, separation anxiety or whatever has gotten thrown our way.

When you wake up tomorrow morning feeling a bit achy and tired from having been sandwiched, you will look at your children and hope that they will know how deeply they are loved, and that they will grow up to love others selflessly, just like you did. No matter whether they were in their bed all night, or snuggling up with you in mom and dad’s bed.

Trust your gut. Show yourself lots of kindness. And in the morning, always chase your coffee with a large chocolate chip muffin.

The kids will be fine and so will you.

Love,

Tired (but oh-so-grateful) Me



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In This Article

    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

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    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

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    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

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    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

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    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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