Last night was one of the more difficult nights of being a mom. I had started the diapers in the wash too late, and had to stay up to transfer them to the dryer. But I fell asleep for an hour, only wakened by my crying baby. I fed him and put him back in the crib, moved the diapers to the dryer, got myself ready and settled down to sleep... for one hour. At 3:30 the little man awakened a second time. I brought him to bed with me to feed him, but instead of being his usual polite, sleepy self and eating and falling asleep quickly, he fussed, crawled, chewed, and beat on me for nearly an hour. I think I know what an angry drunken hamster would act like now. lol. It wasn't really funny then, though. I put him in his bouncer next to the bed for self-preservation (he had been hurting me), but he didn't go to sleep. I went to his room and nursed while standing and rocking, and that seemed to finally be working. Until I laid him down and he woke up. He was still restless, but was enough calmer that he starting showing hints of why he was being so odd... I rubbed his gums, and his second tooth has begun breaking through! Aha! I gave him Tylenol and soothing pats, and he finally fell asleep. I got to bed again at 5am, but then needed to destress so I could sleep. He hadn't been like this since he was 2 months old, and my patience in the early AM must have suffered during the next peaceful 5 months. He thankfully slept until 8 something, and B got him for me so I could relax in bed a little longer. :) J is doing better today, and I am ok, though dead tired.
As I was destressing, I got to thinking. I asked myself, "Why did I get so irritated at the unexpected sleep disruption?" I am pretty sure there is nothing in the Bible or the US Constitution that gives the right to 6 or more hours of sleep straight. lol. Not only that, but what is a mom? Coming at motherhood from a Christian perspective, "Mom" is another title for someone who serves another, putting them higher than one's self. Similar to the role of a Christian to the God, the lost, and their brother, the role of a wife to her husband, or the role of a friend to a friend. As Christians, we are even to show care for our enemies! All these roles, when lived right, involve selflessness and sacrifice. So, why was I angry at a baby who turned out to be in pain, a baby who depends on me for everything, a baby I love? I wasn't ready in the moment to be selfless. My servant's heart went to bed with me. I didn't used to understand why it said in Titus 2 for the older women to teach the younger to love their children, but now that I am a mom, I do. When loving means losing sleep, not going to that party because babies aren't welcome, taking all day to get simple chores done, not getting the whole evening to yourself and your spouse, or not having time for your hobbies, it may not sound terribly easy to do anymore.
The crazy thing, though, is that when you do pour youself out for your baby, or others in general, giving up your own "claims", "rights", or even what you previously would have called "needs", you actually find yourself enjoying life with that baby, spouse, friend, etc., more! It lessens the conflict of desires that can embitter the relationship. Just like marriage, where if you put yourself first you are more miserable because inevitably things will not always go how you want, whereas a giving heart promotes peace, so is childrearing. And it makes sense when you look at our Example. God calls us His children, and He loves us so much that He was willing to suffer for us, to sacrifice even His own Son for us! That makes what I had to give last night look paltry indeed.
Working on truly loving my child-Robyn