Shop the fall collection ➔

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.

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 ( 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.

I Love it When You Smile at Me

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little girl in wheel chair with classmates, color photo

I gained a bit of insight today. We were walking past the checkout at the store this afternoon when we came upon a mom and her children, waiting in the checkout line.   RELATED: A Simple Invitation Means the World To a Special Needs Parent My daughter Chloe rolled by them in her wheelchair. I watched, as I often do, as the children noticed her. One girl about Chloe’s age smiled at her as we walked by. As soon as we had passed them, Chloe turned to me and said . . . “She’s the first person to smile at me!”  Let me say I...

Keep Reading

It’s Okay to Say No to the Promposal

In: Kids, Teen
Boy holding pink sign saying "Prom with me?"

Promposals are cute.  But, even for the sweetest questions, it’s okay if the answer is not yes. I have more boys than girls at my house so the whole meet the boy asking your girl out with a gun posts don’t sit well with me. Boys and girls have an equally hard time negotiating friendships and relationships in high school, and I care equally for both. A young man spent some time, told his friends, made a cute sign, and planned to ask my daughter to a dance. A friend of my daughters mentioned he might ask (and even made...

Keep Reading

I Wipe the Slides

In: Kids, Motherhood
boy on slide

I want you to have the most fun possible at your tiny playground stars program, so I wipe the slides. I don’t want you to have a meltdown if your clothes get wet while I’m gone, so I wipe the slides. I want to have three precious hours of only managing your little sister, so I wipe the slides. RELATED: I’d Rather Serve My Kids Than Have Them be “Self-Sufficient” I don’t want you to feel embarrassed by a big reaction to wet clothes when I’m not there to help you, so I wipe the slides. I want you to...

Keep Reading

One Day You’ll Outgrow Being My Little Boy—But Not Today

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Mother and two sons back-to-school picture, color photo

One day you will come home after your first day of a new school year and not wish to share a single thing. Not today. Today, you got into the car and talked non-stop about every second of your day. I was delighted!  One day you will not have countless first-day forms for me to sign and return the next day. Not today. I signed my name at least four times. I was happy to grant permission for you to play sports, learn algebra, and do whatever else I gave my permission for.  One day you will not allow me...

Keep Reading

The Sports Mom Shows Up For Her Kids, No Matter What

In: Kids, Motherhood
Youth baseball game

We’re nearing the end of club baseball/softball season, and the burnout is real. The time away from home, burning through gas to get somewhere for two hours with half your house packed only to pack back up and turn around and drive to the next two-hour destination is insane. I don’t even like the sport right now. There . . . I said it. I’m so sick of softball fields and wind-blown dirt in my face. I’ve seen so many balls thrown in the last two months that my eyes hurt. But I still show up. I love to see...

Keep Reading

Having Babies and Toddlers Is Exhausting—but So, So Sweet

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood, Toddler
Family of four with baby and toddler on bed

I took the girls to one of our favorite coffee shops last week and all around me were parents of babies and toddlers. Their little ones ran about in the grassy area out back, toddling up and down the lawn, when it suddenly hit me with perfect clarity—the sun has nearly set on this season for me. It was a realization marked by internal tension, a mourning of the loss of one season contrasted by the joyful anticipation at the arrival of the next. It came out of nowhere and hit me like a tidal wave. Having five kids in...

Keep Reading

3 Common Phrases to Avoid Saying to Your Kids (and What To Say Instead)

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother sitting with young boy on couch

Learning to love yourself is hard work. I did not grow up loving myself. Instead, I always felt inadequate, and I felt the need to change myself to prove my worth.  I want more for my kids. I want my kids to know their inherent value and worth. I want to empower my kids to love and accept themselves.  My self-love journey, aided by the expertise of a counselor, has helped me realize there are some narratives from my childhood I needed to unlearn. I had to accept my emotions as helpful and not something to be pushed down. I...

Keep Reading

They Love Each Other (and Sometimes They Don’t)

In: Kids, Motherhood
Toddler girl lying with big brother, color photo

When I was pregnant with his baby sister, Forest kissed my belly and talked about all the wonderful things he would do with this little girl he already loved so much. His plans changed, however, after she was born, and the thing he wanted to do the most with her was place her gently in the trash can. Some mornings he would kiss her softly, other mornings he would walk into the room where I’d be nursing her and say, “Her doesn’t look precious to ME.” Two and a half years later, Forest’s feelings toward Grace remain about the same....

Keep Reading

As a Mother, I Matter Too

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter in living room

“What’s more important than me, Mammy?” my daughter asked. I looked at her, and she was looking at me. Her question wasn’t harsh or accusatory, it was curious. She was curious. We were in the kitchen, I was at the table working, and she asked me to help her find something. I told her I was finishing up some important work and then I would play with her. This is when she asked me what was more important than her. I bit my tongue to stop the words that wanted to rush out of my mouth. I wanted to proclaim...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, Follow Your Beautiful Heart

In: Faith, Kids
Mother and daughter smiling

When I held you in my arms for the first time, it was like time stopped. As you looked up at me with innocence and new life, I was struck by the reality that my main role in your life would be to guide and direct you on the right path. I hoped I would do the best job possible. As I watched you grow, I basked in your joy of putting on your pretty dresses, adorned with layers of costume jewelry, parading around the house for your father and me to see. I dreamed often of what path you...

Keep Reading