Last night I turned my worries over to God. The past four months has not turned out the way I imagined. When I was pregnant, I imagined I would be a very cool, relaxed mum but it turns out I am the grumpiest most fretful mum I know at times! Definitely humbling.
So I said a simple prayer to confess my lack of trust and how I have turned this whole sleep thing into a measure of my parenting skills. O God, may I never boast except in Christ alone!
Matthew 6:27 says, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” He’s got a point: I can’t even add an hour to Jireh’s sleep, let alone his life, by worrying.
Worry is because I would like to be able to control the situation but find myself helpless instead. Worry is because mostly I feel like a failure as a parent when my kid is not sleeping the way experts say he is supposed to. Worry is obssessing over methods, tricks and techniques to get Jireh to sleep faster, longer and better.
(Have you seen the number of youtube videos on sleep training? The more I watch, the more anxious I get — What am I not doing right?! What have I not tried?! Anxiety fuels more anxiety — there really is no end!)
Still there are many other aspects with which I struggle. I never really got around to writing them down though they circle around in my head. This may be a good time to sort it out.
1. Missing church on Sundays (Hebrews 10:24)
Sometimes if Jireh had a bad sleep day on Saturday, or if I want to test out a new routine, I want to keep him home so that he sleeps better without disruptions. I don’t think I need perfect attendance in church to grow in godliness, but I don’t know if Jireh’s sleep has become a greater priority than God’s command to meet up with fellow Christians for mutual encouragement.
2. Not meeting up with family and friends (Exodus 20:12)
For the same reason, we have been missing family dinners (because they clash with Jireh’s bedtime) and I have turned down several invites from friends to go out. Again, I think it’s ok to be selective about outings because Jireh does sleep better at home and I have a responsibility towards him. But I also feel like I have not loved my friends enough by spending time with them, or honored our parents by showing up for family events.
3. Graham (1 Corinthians 13, Genesis 2:18, Ephesians 5:22)
On one too many occasion I have argued with Graham over how to handle Jireh’s sleep. And also, because I have found it so mentally exhausting to care for Jireh, Graham has taken over some of the housework such as hanging out the laundry and washing the dishes. And I really am thankful for that but I am wondering, what kind of a helper am I!
4. Comparisons with other mums
When I tell other mums my struggles, I receive a range of responses: cheering on, assurance, advice and empathy. At times they seem so self-assured, so experienced, so capable of handling more kids and more issues or BOTH, that it made me feel really useless! It made me feel a little alienated – like there are these other mums, and there is me. Mmm.
Ahh, ok, my struggles don’t seem so bad or many when I write them down. Gotta keep praying and depending on God’s grace!