Sleep is important. I know you know that deep down. I say it a lot. The information is definitely seeping in there somehow, somewhere.
It's important for the baby, for you big kids, and for me and Dad, too. It seems like such a simple task when you think about it, doesn't it? You guys take a bath or shower, brush your teeth, put your pajamas on, read some books, say our prayer, get your bottles or pacifiers or whatever the stuffed animal flavor of the week is—and lay down in your cozy bed. Lights off, eyes closed, off to dreamland, right?
So why is it so hard sometimes? And I don't mean this in a sarcastic way. I genuinely wonder. It's part of what keeps me up at night. (That and work and catching up on TV and cleaning up and…)
I wish I could know for certain each time you seem wired at 7 pm or when you wake up inconsolable at 3 am. Sometimes I have an idea and sometimes my strategies to calm and soothe you work—but I still wonder…
Are you too hot? Too cold? Overtired? Overstimulated? Is your diaper wet or dirty?
Are you hungry? Thirsty? Do you have a fever? Are you teething? Does your belly hurt? Do you have gas?
Are you uncomfortable? Am I rocking you too slowly? Am I not soothing you? Do you want me to sing a lullaby?
Are you cozy enough? Is that sleep sack soft enough? Do you want a pacifier? Maybe a lovey?
Do you only want to lay in my arms? Do you want milk? Do you need medicine? Do you wish I had the right answer? Do you wish I could read your mind?
Why can't you fall asleep tonight, kiddo?
Are you remembering a bad dream? Are you scared of something? Do you need a night light on? Is there any way I can help ease your troubles?
Are you excited for tomorrow? Do you feel like you're missing out on something? Are you thinking of that drawing you wanted to finish? What is keeping you up?
Do you want me to lay next to you? Do you want me to tell you one more story? Do you feel more peaceful when I'm with you as you drift off to sleep?
What are you thinking about? What are your worries? What is keeping you up tonight?
Are you wondering how many stars are in the sky? Why dinosaurs aren't around anymore? How big a castle really is? What clouds actually feel like? Why we even need to sleep?
And just so you don't call me a hypocrite, I'll say—I stay up late every night of my life and I know I shouldn't. Sleep is important. I know that. If you saw me up at 11 pm watching a mindless TV, I know you would tell me to go to bed. Just like I tell you.
But some nights it's just so hard, isn't it?
Why can't you fall asleep tonight, mama?
Are you worrying about your baby's development? Are you stressed over your little one starting kindergarten next year? Are you sad that your toddler doesn't need you as much anymore?
Do you wish you could spend more quality time with your partner? Do you miss them? Is it because you're often both so exhausted? That you're both so caught up in the chaos of raising children?
Do you feel bad about canceling on your friends? Did you forget to text her back? Do you feel left out? Do you feel like this busy season will never end—and you'll never see your friends again?
Are you replaying the day, wondering if you were enough? Are enough? Did enough? Planned enough? Prepped enough? Laughed enough? Had enough fun? Enough patience? Enough enthusiasm and positivity? Enough love? Enough vulnerability? Enough happiness?
Sleep is exhausting, isn't it?