own the night

I must admit, I was taken aback by a few of your comments on my last post. Surely, my husband would either laugh or faint if he heard me described as laid-back or easy-going. I assure you, I am neither of these things by nature. Schedules are my safeguards. Structure is my middle name.

It’s taken me a few years, and I’m still learning it everyday…

but I’ve discovered that babies are different.

Babies don’t reason well. They aren’t conscious of milestones. They don’t have anything to prove. They don’t understand should. So somewhere along the way, I simply stopped using the word. I let go of my schedules and my structure, and I enjoyed my girls.

I stopped reading baby websites and comparing milestones on mommy forums. I tossed the medical advice not backed by evidence & science. I stopped counting the weeks until the next stage – sleeping, solids, or sitting.

I declared war on should.

Instead of worrying about spoiling them, I try to memorize the way the sisters smell when they snuggle against my chest. Instead of begging them to sleep through the night, I welcome the dark hours as a chance to cover their heads with kisses and whisper prayers over them. Instead of obsessing over their slow weight gain, I laugh at how easy they are to carry around and how their clothes fit longer.
I’ve learned that aside from a few exceptions, babies sleep through the night when they’re ready. They sit and crawl and walk when they’re ready. They eat and talk when they’re ready. No matter how hard we push and intervene, they dance to the beat of their own drums. It’s frustratingly beautiful.

The sisters are starting to sleep better now, but what if they continued to wake once or twice a night for months to come? Some mornings, I wake in a fog so thick I have to physically shake myself from it. Some mornings, my head pounds so loudly I swear Chris can hear it. And since the girls don’t sit well, I’m not comfortable feeding them solids regularly just yet… which means I’ve got to keep an eye on my milk supply. But even a few years of this seems like such a small price to pay, compared to the decades I get to spend growing old with my kids.

Child-rearing is both a magnificent honor and an epic responsibility. I must remind myself daily to choose patience. To choose joy. It’s an ongoing process, but I’m learning to consider it a blessing to battle the night with my babies.

I’m keeping tabs on a few development issues with the sisters right now. I will follow up if and when the need arises. I don’t want to sound naive or careless in any way. 
I just want to protect the sacred.
And motherhood is just that. Sacred. Fierce. Powerful. Intelligent.
I am determined not to let it be tainted by should.

10 thoughts on “own the night”

  1. Yes! I am slowly but surely to compromise what I think should be done for what my daughter wants/needs. I don’t want to wish away this time and her sweet steps into kiddom.

  2. I think I meant to write on your previous entry re the sweetest girls.

    But I love this post, what a relief to hear another mama say these things, that we shouldn’t focus on the should, but hold tight onto being a mama and keeping our babies close, so we can enjoy what little time we have with them being small before they grow up. Makes me want to go and wake up my sweet Judah right now so I can smell his hair and feel his chubby little arms wrap around my neck.


  3. racheal, i find your posts to be such an inspiration.
    i don’t have any babes, but i think when i do, i’d like to think i’d raise them on your model of thinking. let them grow up when they will and savour the heck out of every moment.

    hope you have a wonderful christmas time lovely lady.

  4. Yes to all this! Very beautifully written. I need to have my husband read this… you said one thing that I’ve repeated to him on the thought of having another child, even when this first has been more challenging than we ever imagined she’d be: “even a few years of this seems like such a small price to pay, compared to the decades I get to spend growing old with my kids.” EXACTLY.

  5. i couldn’t agree more. it seems like so many parents are in a rush for their kids to get to the next stage, and in a rush for their kids to be “early” in the development game. i just want it to slow down. things change so quickly that sometimes it’s hard to enjoy each and every thing. i love your take on it and in no way do i think you’re being naive or careless. good for you. soak it all in. enjoy it all. much love to you and your sweet family.

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