Sleep: a mother’s most valuable resource

Do you love bedtime as much as I do?  Sleep is a healer.

At the end of a long day, the only thing better than three small children tucked into bed is their haggard mother pulling up her own covers, wrapping them around her shoulder, tucking them under her chin and closing her eyes.  Breath flows slow and deep and there’s silence. Part of the reason that I love the time when children are sleeping is because it’s how I refuel in almost every way:  reading, talking to Matt, blogging, watching a show I recorded, talking to a friend on the phone… but I think the most important thing during that block of time is that I get two prayers and scripture study and rest before they’re up again.  That’s some serious mom ammunition.

I remember when I got married, some well-meaning person said “Never go to bed angry.”  I can only assume that 95% of her brain doesn’t stop working at about 7 p.m. like mine does.  If I walk away from stress and tuck myself into bed, I am so much better prepared to face a new day.  Frustration fades, small infractions are more easily forgotten, and I’m just in a better mood all the way around.

Some women have fantasies of shopping sprees or exotic vacations or that the game Candyland might come to life.  Those would all be nice, but when I get overwhelmed or anxious, I tend to fantasize about 36 uninterrupted hours in a hotel room all by myself with a huge comfortable bed.  Sigh.

Anyway, I saw these two quotes the other day, and they helped me see another reason sleep is precious.  It’s a mark of victory, evidence of another day conquered.

Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, until nightfall.  Anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day.  Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, till the sun goes down.  And this is all life really means.  ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.  ~Victor Hugo

We only have to do our best one day at a time.  Then we rest and start again.  It’s practically like being born again every day.  So go to bed already; tomorrow’s gonna rock.


20 thoughts on “Sleep: a mother’s most valuable resource

  1. Rather ironically, I’m reading this post while miserable sick and staying up way past what my body wants me to. Great post…I hope I listen to it. Like, within the next five minutes…

  2. I always forget what I’m mad about by the time morning rolls around. Our marriage is good because we don’t talk about anything important or tense after 8 or 9 PM, because otherwise we’re both mad about things that don’t make sense. We also try not to make big decisions about things I have strong opinions about while I’m pregnant. Plus when we have a disagreement I tend to cry about it when I’m tired which gets us absolutely nowhere.

    Thank you Lord for making us need sleep.

  3. Agreed about not going to bed mad. Really? We’re supposed to stay up “discussing” a problem when we are at our most irrational and tired?

    But I love me some sleep. In fact, I just wrote about we started sleep training (cry it out) Spencer last night. I need kids asleep by 8:30 and then I need a good two hours at least to myself. Otherwise I find it difficult to be a good mother. 🙂

  4. Hurray for sleep! Most nights, I breathe a big sigh of relief once the munchkins are all a-slumber. But every once in a while, I also dance a little jig. And I’m not great at a lot of things when it comes to parenting, but, by golly, my children do not give me any argument when it comes to bedtime. They are a babysitter’s dream, because they just do it, no questions asked.

  5. Inkmom is right… her kids do go to bed easy. WAY easier than mine, but it’s okay. They DO go to bed, and then I DO get to sleep too! You’re right. It’s therapy… makes everything seem better!

  6. I once heard that sleep is the great equalizer, everyone gets to do it no matter how poor or rich they are.

    I also agree that not going to bed angry isn’t the best idea at our house — we’re both tired and ornry. And who wants EXTRA fighting. 🙂

    Thanks for this entry. Good stuff.

  7. Sleep. I still don’t fully understand its importance. And I definitely don’t get enough of it. I need more hours in the day, and I tend to use sleeping time to accomplish things.

    But, I’m going to make a goal to get to bed at a certain time every night this week, no matter WHAT still needs to be done.

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