I am finding, as of late, that being a mother is one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life (It also happens to be one of the most rewarding but this blog happens to be about the challenges.). It took the birth and subsequent new job of raising my daughter to show me just how selfish of a person I am. Marriage was the first step in this journey of self awareness, but I could still basically do what I wanted when I wanted to; I just had to ask for another's input before gallivanting off to my next adventure. Motherhood is a completely different story. I am now in charge of this adorable yet helpless little person, who is relying completely on me for everything. No more are the days when I could take a nap when I wanted to take a nap, or sit down to read a book and get lost in the pages for hours on end. Instead I take naps when she takes naps and they never seem to be long enough as I seem to be perpetually in a state of what I will term "motherhood insomnia;" and reading, ha, maybe I can get a few chapters in before I hear her little cries, maybe. And housework... oh man is it a job keeping up on things and she isn't even moving on her own yet. But the most challenging thing of all has been the nights. I am one who greatly values my sleep. My first college roommate could get by on a few hours of sleep at night and seem to be just fine (I am still jealous of this Sarah). I, on the other hand, couldn't function unless I got at least eight hours of sleep but was at my best with nine to ten hours a night. Little Grace has thrown those ideals out the window. Instead I find myself longing for six straight hours. Oh please God, let her sleep until four in the morning. Wouldn't that be glorious? And one of the hardest parts about this lack of sleep, is that I have really no control over it. Sure I can do my best to keep Grace on a schedule and feed her every three hours, follow strategies to a T and when that doesn't work try yet another approach, but somehow she still wakes me up at one in the morning one day and the next I find myself up every hour beginning at two. I have pleaded with God time and again to let her sleep, no make her sleep longer. I have to admit that last night was better than it has been in a long time. I only got up twice and had to feed her only once. (I really hope this trend continues.) I must be going crazy to think waking up at four am is a blessing. But through it all, God gives me just enough strength to make it through each day (that and a very patient, supportive husband). And every once and awhile I get encouragement from someone or something that comes at just the right moment - a gift from God I am sure. This past weekend it was a song. Saturday night was brutal. I got up every hour starting at 1:22 and ending at 8:00 when I finally resigned to start the day. But amazingly enough a song by country singer Darius Rucker popped into my head making it possible to get up time and again. It's called It Won't Be Like This For Long - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53Rm-Vgf7h8 .
Even after all that, one smile from that little girl makes it all somehow worth it. Let's hope she doesn't discover her great powers too soon :).
Thank you Lord for the strength to make it through the day, for the smiles and coos of my little girl, and for mercies new every morning.