sleep deprivation as a parent

Today I am sharing a little from my heart.
I came across this picture of myself the other day.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words.
I think I have a thousand words to say about this picture.

Wow! What a tired mum.
Wow! Look how cute and small those boys are!

As soon as I saw this picture a river of precious memories came flooding back to me. What a challenging time of my life but also what a special sacred time too. 

Dealing with feeding, bathing, cuddling, kissing and caring for two new born boys PLUS four other children who still needed school lunches, homework help, washing, feeding and caring was seriously exhausting work. Add to that the healing my own body needed to do after giving birth to them and dealing with the emotional and physical changes taking place within my body. Whew! Crazy.

This was the most sleep deprived I have ever been. Matt and I did not get any sleep for the first year of these boys lives. At the start every time Sam and Eli would wake up at night we would find 4 other children standing at the end of our bed watching and wondering what was going on.

It always required both of us to get up, one of us to feed the boys and one of us to get the other four children back to sleep. Lucky for us this did not go on for too long and then we could both focus on keeping a routine going for Sam and Eli.

When I look back on this time I really don't remember feeling depressed. I don't think I had time to be! Sure there would have been moments where I cried, felt terrible and could not see the light at the end of this nappy changing tunnel and felt just downright worn out. But, now that it has all passed, all that I remember is how gorgeous my cherubs were and how blessed I felt to have them in my life.

I miss those squishy cheeks, those gorgeous fingers and toes, those sweet smiles and eyes that seemed to look right into me. I loved those special late night moments when I held my two cherubs close and they looked at me like I was the most important person to them in the whole world.

Where it was dark, it was quiet and time seemed to stand still.

I do remember having a strict routine that I followed. I got up early and just keep my body moving throughout the day. I was up and down, up and down, rushing from one room and one clean up after another.

My arms were full and so was my heart.

My date nights and spending time alone with Matt was what I missed out on the most. Our quiet catch up time together was sitting up in the early hours of the morning with a bottle each feeding a new born boy.

When Matt came home from work each day it was not to sit down and rest, it was to start the second shift, to get to work and to pitch in and help. I am so thankful that he did just that. There was always someone who needed to be fed, or changed or bathed.

We choose to do this together as we both had full days and knew no-one had an easy job.

To those of you who have young cherubs and are feeling worn out, sleep deprived, exhausted and under appreciated, KNOW THIS:

*You are doing a great work and every single little unnoticed, unappreciated thing that you do for your family is important.

*When you look in the mirror and see a tired worn out face and body, know that you have a wonderful glow about you because you are a mother and you are serving and caring in a way that nobody else can for your family.

*You are making a difference. That clean outfit you just put on, that face you just wiped, that washing load you just did for the thousandth time, that meal you just cooked that no-one wanted to eat, makes a difference to the feel in your home, to the health of the precious little cherub who is living there and for all those who enter.

*Children do not see what you see. They cannot see that you are looking shabby, that you are still carrying that extra baby weight, that you feel terrible, that you are not your so called normal self. They only see your eyes, your smile and your love.

*This time will pass and you will survive it. It does get better, sleep does come in larger chunks and soon enough you will be wishing for those days all over again.

Now that my boys are bigger and are sleeping a lot more I can look back on that time and be thankful for the lessons I learned, for the love they taught me and feel a little proud that I survived that time.