It has officially been one year. One year since I went through the most painful labor of my life so far. One year since my beautiful, tiny baby girl was born. At only 4.11 lbs she was a tiny miracle. But that story is for another time.

This one year mark also marks exactly one year since I have slept through the night. That’s right. My baby is one year old and she still has not slept through the night. Unless you count 5 hours once in a while through the night. 

Frankly, I don’t. 

A good 8 hours is how much sleep I need to consider being a good nights sleep. And those 5 hours? Those have been the occasional good nights that we have had. Trust me – I am all for sleep training, crying it out, and any other method you can throw at me. But when your baby has severe silent reflux, is not growing, and needs any extra calorie you can get in her, those are just not options. Even at 10 months old I was finding myself waking her up one extra time just to make sure she ate enough that day. And then there are the horrible reflux pains that leave my baby up for 2-3 hours in the night crying in agony. Those who have had babies with reflux know that it is no joke. On top of this, my toddler is still mastering the art of sleeping through the night herself. Ah, the joys of having two under the age of two. 

Moms are pros at functioning on no sleep. I’ve had countless days with only 2 hours of shut eye. I survive on lots (and lots) of coffee. I am sure many of you can relate. 

I am no hero though. These are just some of the ways that I get through the days, weeks, and months with no sleep.

  1. Prayer. Prayer. Prayer. Prayer. So. Much. Prayer. Surrounding my day in prayer.
  2. Coffee. Obviously. And if I am going anywhere that day — Starbucks.
  3. A plan. And a list. Staying focused and moving. It is the times that are slow and quiet where the exhaustion often hits me the worst. While things need to be taken slower in times of such tiredness, I also need to keep my mind off of how tired I really am. 
  4. Grace. Grace for self to have a messy house, take-out for dinner, and for the TV to be on a little more than recommended.
  5. Activities Ready and Set. On days with a little more energy, I take time to make ‘quiet’ and ‘independent’ activities ready for my toddler for the days where I am having difficulty functioning.
  6. Naps. When my girls nap at the same time, I put down everything and run to those sheets. No need to try and get things done (I learned this the hard way). I will be a happier mama for it.
  7. Scripture. Keeping verses around throughout the house strengthening and encouraging me to keep pressing on. Repeating those verses in my head again and again, reminding me of truths, and shutting down those lies that always seem to creep up most when we are weary.
  8. Frozen Meals. Whether bought, prepped, or given, my freezer always needs to be filled with meals.
  9. Help. From cleaning house, to bringing meals, to taking my kids for a couple hours, I have learned the importance and necessity of leaning on others.
  10. Daycare. I put my toddler in daycare one day a week for an entire year just to be able to have one day with a little more freedom and a little more rest. It was worth every penny.
  11. Being Honest with Self. Being honest about what I can handle, about what I can’t. About what I can say yes to and what I need to say no to.
  12. Being Okay with Saying No. From church commitments to seeing friends, I have had to learn that there is a lot less I can do when I am getting such little sleep. And that is okay for right now.

Remember – this is not forever. There WILL be a day when you will get a full nights sleep. Whether in 1 year or in 3 months, it will come. And that will be a glorious day won’t it? I am still waiting.

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Esther Vandersluis

Esther is a Canadian writing from Hamilton, Ontario, living in a sea of pink as a girl mom to three. Find her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/beautifulalarm) where you will find writing for stay-at-home moms, moms with littles, sleep-deprived moms, moms feeding babies, and babies with failure to thrive, all under the umbrella of faith in Jesus Christ.

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