I remember being a kid and having energy in the morning. I remember that my mom would be tired and I’d ask her why she was so sleepy. “I didn’t sleep well last night,” was often her answer.
“Oh I was awake worrying.”
“It’s a mom thing.”
I’d shrug and continue with my day, wondering why grown ups were always stressed about something. They had it easy, man! They could do whatever they wanted! They could watch PG movies and stay up until 9 pm if they wanted! So cool being a grown up…
Then I grew up a bit and developed some anxiety. I couldn’t sleep, I would constantly be fretting about something: grades, bills, does x friend still like me, what is the meaning of life? Suddenly, I totally got why my mom was always up at night. Or so I thought.
And now I’m a parent. You’d think that the reason I’m writing a blog post at 4 am is because I have an infant, but no. Little Bean is sleeping soundly and has been doing her nights almost perfectly for about a week and a half. I’m awake because I have what I’m going to call “The Mommy Dreads.”
With my husband’s deployment creeping up on us and a big move for the Little Bean and I to be closer to family, I have a lot on my mind. We’re living out of boxes, slacking on some basic cleaning, I’ve missed two bills despite having a list and a calendar in prominent view in my kitchen… Things that I’ve never done before. Then again, I didn’t have a crying baby in the house either. I thought I was an adult before, but I’m realising that I’m only just getting started. It’s very humbling.
I had a breakdown last week when I realised how behind I was on some of my mommy duties (mostly paperwork related). I wanted to curl up in a ball and leave it to a “real adult.” You know, somebody who’s done this longer. I just wanted Mom to do it, but now I am the mom! Changing a wailing baby’s diaper, I looked down at her and simply said, “I know… I want my mommy too. Don’t worry. That screaming you’re doing? You’re going to learn how to do that on the inside like me someday.”
About two hours ago, I woke up with heart palpitations and in a cold sweat because I felt like there was something I had forgotten to do. I got up, checked on the baby, made sure the door was locked, and made sure everything was secure. Although I climbed back into bed beside my snoring hubby, I couldn’t fall back to sleep or even lie still. My heart was still hammering and I felt like I was going to go into full on panic attack mode with unstoppable tears for no reason. So got back up, grabbed my Bible, and had some much needed time with Jesus.
Normally, my go to “encouragement spot” is Psalms. A writer myself, I adore David’s verses and often find myself relating to the poet of old. Tonight, however, I found myself flipping over to Matthew 6 and really zoning in on verses 25-34.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Such a familiar passage, but all of a sudden it took on entirely new meaning. Especially the last bit. “Each day has enough trouble of its own,” used to sound so fatalistic to me. “Good grief, Jesus… Depressed much?” would be my slightly sacrilegious mental note at the end. But He’s absolutely right. Each day has its own set of troubles and worries. And when I go to sleep at night, I’ve already conquered one day’s trouble; I don’t need to be worrying about the next.
I always understood that, yes, God loves His children like a Father, but I don’t think I ever fully grasped what that meant. I still can’t ever fully grasp His deep love for us. However, now that I have this precious baby girl, this beautiful child that I look at and would do anything for, I understand it a little bit. If He says I’m His child, He’s going to look out for me and provide what’s best. Just as I sometimes let Lily cry it out in bed, He’s going to let me tough it through life a little bit; and just as Lily knows that I’m going to come get her, I know that my God will never leave me.
It’s easier to tell my heart not to worry than it is to actually calm whatever neurological triggers that are firing up in my brain to make me feel anxious, but it’s a start. Jesus is the cure for the “Mommy Dreads.” He’s given me all I need to be a good mom. I just need to trust Him and know that He’s leading me, my husband, and my little girl down the right path.
That said… If anybody has insomnia cure recommendations, I’m all ears.