So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

It’s 2 a.m. and I am startled awake by my 8-year-old, “Mom, I’m scared, can I sleep with you?” This is not the first time (or even the 20th time) he has woken me up like this. We have been playing this game for months now.  

He hates to sleep alone.

He is afraid of the monsters he is sure are in the heating vents.

He wants all the lights in the whole house on.

He is exhausted from not sleeping.

And me, I am exhausted, exasperated, sad for him, and so ready to find a solution to our situation.

In the morning, he looks at me with sad eyes. I give him a hug and tell him, “It’s OK, you’ll eventually be able to sleep through the night again.” He doesn’t look convinced. And as the weeks turn into months, I am feeling less convinced myself.

There are so many words of advice, ideas, tips, and tricks out there for helping your kiddo get over their nighttime fears. The thing is, it feels like we have attempted every single one.

We made monster spray, we had a ceremony and kicked the monsters out, we talked about the problem logically (surprisingly, logic was lost on him in the middle of his nighttime terror). My husband and I doubled down on setting boundaries and being consistent with bedtimes as well as watching what he saw on TV and in video games, and on and on.

RELATED: My Child, I Will Fight For You

As the months progressed, we continued to work toward finding a solution. Some things have been helpful. He has learned how to do deep breathing and has found skills that work to get him to fall asleep with a lot less effort. He currently has his bed more than half full of stuffed animals and likes to sleep with a blanket over him and the animals. He calls it turtling (at this point, I figure, whatever works!).

The thing is though, as his sleep problems have stretched on and on, we have both slipped into a bit of hopelessness and fear.

It feels like a very real worry that he will end up being in high school and still coming into my room in the middle of the night.

But then, last week, he slept through the night. And then, he did it again the next night and the next. I look at him in the morning and smile. The look he returns is one of my favorite things I have ever seen. It’s a look of quiet triumph, a knowledge that he is conquering his fears, a look that says he knows he is loved and I am proud of him.

RELATED: Mothering Boys is a Work of the Heart

If you are facing similar issues, you are probably desperately asking, “What worked?” In the end, it really wasn’t any one, magical cure (although I sure wish I could say it was that easy!). In truth, it was a combination of consistency, practice, and a willingness to not give up. It was a little bit of me letting go of my need to fix the situation, and a lot of him deciding to take charge of himself and find solutions that resonated inside himself.

Somewhere in the midst of all of our struggles, I came across the idea that children may never completely overcome their anxiety—but they can learn to work with it, learn to move through it.

That felt oddly hopeful to me. It allowed me to change my mind frame from one of trying to solve the problem, to one of trying to give my son skills he can use for the rest of his life. Taking some of the pressure off to fix or solve his problem was monumental.

RELATED: To Parents of Children With Anxiety

So, are our nighttime troubles over? Well, honestly, as with most parenting dilemmas, who knows. What I can tell you is that I am going to keep loving him, encouraging him, and being his number one cheerleader no matter what tonight, tomorrow night, or any other night brings.

Ruth Song

Ruth Song is an author and illustrator of workbook-style journals that focus on big transitions and mental health for elementary-aged kids. She is a mom, a wife and enjoys painting in her spare time.

No Man in a Girl’s Life Holds More Influence than Her Dad

In: Kids, Marriage, Motherhood
Father and daughter on amusement ride, color photo

As I sat outside Walmart watching my husband of nearly 16 years walk in with my 9-year-old daughter to buy me a box of tampons, I realized how blessed I am.  This is real life. Not only does he not care about running into the store and picking up these items, he asks our girls if they want to join him, and they use this time to talk. They talk about real-life—about growing up, changing bodies, what tampons are even for, how they can wait years and years before they need to start dating, how he will be waiting outside...

Keep Reading

You Don’t Raise Your Babies to Be Little Forever, but I Thought I’d Have More Time

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Little boy peeking over wooden fence, color photo

I can see the yellow blur of the school bus passing in front of my window. Soon my little boy will excitedly burst through the front door with his picture of a giraffe from art class. His big brown eyes will meet mine as I get a toothless “I missed you, Mom” grin. He will tell me everything he had on his tray for lunch, recount the whole soccer game at recess, and share all about that hilarious thing his friend said on the bus. He will then sit on my lap as he takes each school paper out of...

Keep Reading

My Little Girl Has Big, Brave Dreams

In: Kids, Motherhood
School paper with little girl's handwriting, color photo

My 6-year-old daughter wants to be a soldier.   When we heard from the ultrasound tech that we were having another girl, that was not exactly the career path that popped into our heads.   There’s something absolutely terrifying knowing your child wants to do something big like this. I’m sure I’d be petrified if I had a son with the same ambition, but there’s something extra scary about it being your little girl. There’s something weighty about raising a daughter who wants to be a soldier. But honestly, it’s not a surprise at all. RELATED: God Has Filled Your...

Keep Reading

As My Children Grow, I Miss It All—Even the Sick Days

In: Kids, Motherhood
Toddler on mom's shoulder

I whisk my daughter through the doors of urgent care and cradle her head as I stand behind three other mamas clinging to their babies. We’re each rocking in different ways but moving nonetheless. The silent, comforting rhythm of motherhood. I see sad, sick eyes from the babies with their heads nestled into the necks of their mama. I’m tired from the sleepless night, and I shift from foot to foot. There is hushing and humming and back-patting. A pacifier drops to the floor. All of a sudden my daughter feels heavy. A vague sinking feeling comes over me, like...

Keep Reading

Life with Autism Is Full of Ticking Time Bombs

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother, father, teen daughter, color photo

Many of us who live with autism are familiar with the comings and goings of the ticking time bomb—one that disappears for periods of time, so much so that we might forget about it. Then, suddenly, this bomb drops at our doorstep in the form of a returning or new obstacle, so intense that it causes us to pause our lives, alter our plans, maybe even change our current paths. For our family, the new challenge has been sudden, piercing, sporadic screams. Not constant, not even often, thankfully, but jolting nonetheless. So here we were, in the midst of our...

Keep Reading

Youth Sports Build Strong Kids

In: Kids
Young girl with gymnastics medal, color photo

My kids are heavily involved in sports. My son plays for an elite basketball team and my daughter competes on an Xcel gymnastics team. It takes up a lot of our time and a lot of our money. Even though prioritizing youth sports seems to be an American norm, we still sometimes receive criticism and judgment as to why we would spend so much of our time and resources on it. (“Don’t you know the chances of your child going pro is less than 1%?”) As I sat at my daughter’s gymnastics meet, listening to the parents cheer so excitedly...

Keep Reading

Don’t Let Anyone Rush You, Mama

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother with two kids at home relaxing

From the moment our children are born, other people make it challenging to stay in the present moment—they start asking questions that look forward instead of at the now we are in. Can you believe how big she’s getting, where did your newborn go? Oh my goodness, he’ll be walking any day now! Are you thinking about preschool? What will you do when they’re both in school? What will you do when your baby goes to college? While these questions may come with good intentions, they’re not helpful at all. We moms need to be allowed to be fully in...

Keep Reading

Dear Child, God Sees All of You—And So Do I

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mom and young son painting together

Math has always come easily to him. Even from the beginning stages when we counted wooden blocks on the living room floor, the numbers just came to him. “How many blocks are there?” I asked him, pointing to the scattered row of blocks. I expected him to count them. He was only three or four years old. “Six,” he answered promptly. “Yes . . . but how did you know that?” I asked hesitantly. He had not taken the time necessary to have counted them. “Three and three are six,” he replied. And on it went. The math came easily,...

Keep Reading

Kids Crave Your Time, Not Fancy Things

In: Kids, Motherhood
Dad and daughter with basketball smiling

I have four kids, and like most parents, I’m doing my best to give them a happy childhood, but we’re not really an activity family. Don’t get me wrong, we love a good day trip to the local water park or a night out at the movies, but with several different ages and a tight budget, activities or outings are rare for us. Sometimes I end up feeling bad about it, like our kids are missing out, but then I take a deep breath and realize that some of the best moments come from the simplest of things. Lucky for...

Keep Reading

Dear Kindergarten Graduate—Wherever Life Takes You, I’ll Always Be Your Safe Place To Land

In: Kids, Motherhood

I cried on your first day of kindergarten. Did you know that? I held it together through the getting ready and the goodbyes—but once I had waved one last time and was pulling out of the parking lot, the lump in my throat poured out as hot tears down my cheeks.  How could you be starting kindergarten? You, my precious firstborn baby. We had some growing pains as we adjusted to a new routine. The school days were so long. I spent my days missing you and you spent yours missing me. We were apart from each other more than...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections