Weekly Parenting Ups & Downs

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“The days are long but the years are short.”

I am tired. I am very tired. This quote has been ringing in my ears a lot. I’ve also been wearing this sweatshirt a lot lately too because it makes me laugh at how true it is. It’s like a sad, sad joke. After a month of vacation and holiday travel we’ve spent the last few weeks trying to get in our groove at home. That especially means with sleep. We have been neck deep in sleep training with Rowan and well, it just is not going well. She got a little to use to sleeping all together (most nights in the same bed) and doesn’t want to stay in her room. We’ve made a few advances here and there but then something comes up… like more travel. Having 2 kids that are literally up every half hour all night long is wearing. Physically and emotionally. I swear if it’s not one, it’s the other. I can’t even imagine what a full night of sleep feels like. It’s been over a year that’s for sure. I am continually praying that I can find wisdom and have patience over it all. 3 year olds are smart little creatures. Much smarter than we give them credit for. Rowan knows exactly what to say in the middle of the night to get me into her room. I try to resist but then my mom guilt gets me. I start thinking “what if she really is thirsty? What if her poor little throat is dry and I am denying her a drink? I’m so terrible”. Ha! Oh man the inner struggle. I know she’s bested me when I bring her that drink and she throws it to the side without even taking a drink. Then says something like “but my back is so scratchy now”. Oh the excuses.

It’s true. Some days on this journey called parenthood are long. They can be very long. But you know what else is true? The years really are short. When I think back to Rowan being a baby, I really don’t remember the struggle all that much. I know it was there. But where there was once frustration and anxiety over being a first time mom, its now filled with lots of sweet memories that overpower any of the bad. So with that perspective in mind I am whispering to myself with each middle of the night wake up call… “This is just a stage, this is just a stage”. I know this too shall pass. Soon enough (and really it can’t come soon enough) they will both be back to a good sleeping schedule and we will all be sleeping through the night. Until then though, I will try to embrace the tired and keep wearing my sweatshirt as a warning to others.

NOTE: I am currently in a hotel room in Chicago all by myself. ALL.BY.MYSELF! After an extremely long day of a bunch of canceled flights, I am left all alone in a city I wasn’t supposed to be in. I WILL SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT TONIGHT! I am super pumped about it, even with a 6am wake up call. Get this though! It’s almost too quiet. When you are surrounded by chaos all day, everyday, when you get a chance to be alone it’s almost too quiet. Why is that? I am sure that thought will pass in about 2 seconds when my head hits the pillow and I get 6 glorious, uninterrupted hours of sleep.

I miss my babies though.

I digress. Anyway. Whatever your parenting struggle is right now. I hope you can find comfort in remembering it’s a short road on this long journey. It will pass. You will look back on the years and remember the great joys, the struggles will be but a distant memory.

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Finley’s scarf from Little Hip Squeaks
My sweatshirt from Hello Apparel
My glasses are from Bonlook

  1. We just transitioned my almost three year old to a twin bed. Two nights ago he pulled the ‘I’m hungry’ at two am and who am I to deny my son food? What if he was hungry?! So I toasted up a waffle, at two in the morning, and brought it to him. He looked at it and said No thank you. Yep. And then last night, what does he ask for? A waffle. The struggle is real! I am with you 100% though. This time is fleeting and one day. One day I will sleep again. Until then, coffe. Have a wonderful trip!

  2. That sweatshirt – I need it. You’re right, it’s like a sad sad joke. Thank you for writing this. It’s been well over a year for me, too, since I’ve had an uninterrupted night of sleep. It’s amazing how the lack of sleep drains me physically, mentally, and even spiritually. It can be all consuming. I just keep thinking that when our little munchkin is a teenager, we will be struggling to get him OUT of bed. Thank you for the encouragement. I hope your 6 hours of sleep is perfect!

  3. Your post immediately reminded me of something I wrote when my son was a baby, and I was just so tired of being tired. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/1bYLPjE

    Two years later, I’m still tired. I get out of bed at least once a night because my 2.5 yr old cries for me when he drops his pacifier out of his crib. I know we need to just end that habit, but I’m worried that he won’t be able to fall asleep without it — and then we’ll have to deal with sleep regression. Ugh. Parenting is exhausting!

  4. Lindsey Taber •

    I am in the same boat with my two girls. Stella (3) and Odessa (turned 1 on jan 10) are having the hardest time sleeping. Odessa is usually solid at night but she wakes up so incredibly early. My three year old on the other hand is up sometimes all night. With excuses like “pee on potty?” And then about half a drop comes out when I take her or the classic “mama I’m hungry” even though she refused to eat dinner. It’s always something. We are going on 5 months of this crazy making and the bags under my eyes are a dead giveaway for the continuous struggle. What sleep training are you using?

  5. Oh, I feel this. My son turns 5 tomorrow. He came to us through a foster placement at 9 months old so it’s been over 4 years since I’ve had a full night’s sleep. (Well, not literally – he does spend the night with grandparents occasionally but you know what I mean!)

    My favorite middle-of-the-night excuse from my son yet: “I hear a bear down in the basement.” His bank of excuses is endless!

    My husband and I look at each other and say, “Parenting is SO HARD” at least once a day. But, you’re right. I have some memory of the sleepless, teething nights of the past but the memories are vague and inconsequential at this point. Taking his first steps, his giggles, devouring any food I put in front of him, building block towers, riding a bike — those are the things I remember and cherish the most.

  6. I am totally repeating this in my head right now. I have a three year old who won’t eat until literally 10 seconds before bedtime and has randomly decided that naps are for chumps. I feel like I don’t have it in me to entertain a 3 year old ALL day with no break so I’m trying to find a good solution. But, you’re so right, it will pass and these “bad” things will just be funny tales we tell our grownup kids around the table at Thanksgiving. πŸ™‚

  7. that first phrase, so true! love it… I hope you enjoyed your uninterrupted hours of sleep πŸ˜‰

    your house is beautiful!

  8. MΓ³nica •

    Of course everything happens too soon and the worst we do not realize. But these things sometimes do not leave us to enjoy our maternity full capacity. The truth that I’ve been lucky to four months the two have stayed in her room with no problem. With Candela 15 days two years ago to remove the pacifier and oh God not remember what it was waking up again and again … was desperate now everything runs its course without more and pacifier was just a mirage …. Kisses and happy last Wednesday morning Friday. And much encouragement.

  9. Michelle •

    Everyone goes through the sleep battle I think, my kids wake up in the middle of the night. After I scurry them back to bed they’re good though and I’ve gotten so used to interrupted sleep, when it’s uninterrupted I can’t sleep haha go figure.

    My struggle is getting my kids to bed in the first place! They always need something before bed, I’m hungry, thirsty, the list goes on. After two hours of pure torture every night trying to get them to just go to sleep, I found a solution! I have a little talk with them after the second request.. I tell them, “Listen Mommy has done so much for you today, can you do me a favor and go to sleep so I can have my mommy time, If mommy doesn’t get mommy time I can get pretty grumpy, and no one wants to see mommy grumpy right?” Works like a charm! Switch it up a bit though, because they’ll catch on haha.. Make the same requests they do, like my legs hurt I need to lay down you’ll have to get your drink yourself, 9 out of 10 times they’ll just say aw forget it because they really didn’t want it in the first place.

  10. I hope your full night of sleep left you feeling rested and encouraged to go conquer it all over again! thank you for your honesty and transparency. It is encouraging. Love your blog!

    xo, Kelsey Young | Happie Reading Blog

  11. Oh how I needed to hear this! We are having the same issue with our 2 year old – why oh why will he just not sleep all night?! But as my mother in law says, you will always look back and remember those nights that the kids kept you up and how you were there for them- not the nights you actually got some rest.

  12. I hope your night of sleep went well and that the results last for awhile. Oh, I can feel your pain! My four-year-old snuck in to bed with us again last night. I love cuddling with him but it makes a good night sleep impossible. I need that sweatshirt too. Great attitude to have though, someday we will miss this!

  13. I just can’t even. That little one is just so scrumptious. Get lots of rest tonight and try to enjoy yourself!!!!

  14. Oh Jen..First of all, LOVE YOUR SHIRT. And your home! πŸ˜‰
    And everything you shared—oh so good and normal, and I relate a million times over.
    In fact, I am preparing my first video of a series on that exact topic because I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the young years and how *crazy* they can be but how good it is looking back.
    Glad you are safe in your travels…I’ve been praying for you! aloha friend!

  15. We are having the same problem right now. Our 3 year old got really used to sleeping in our bed. So now we are trying to get him to sleep in his own bed since he understands things more now that he is 3. things were pretty great last week, i was so optimistic. and then this weekend he got a cold. and now we are back to square one. it’s so frustrating and i am so very tired. i can’t imagine having another child doing the same thing right now. i totally feel for you. and i think i uttered this last night too “What if her poor little throat is dry and I am denying her a drink?”

  16. We are expecting our second this summer and sleep is truly the only thing I’m worried about!! I think I might need that sweatshirt…

  17. Oh man I can’t even imagine the level of tired you must be experiencing. Although… I’ll probably learn really quick when baby #2 comes (which is SOON). Good for you though for trying to remember what’s important and remembering that it’s all just a stage. They won’t be 10 years old and not sleeping through the night right?

    Also, I LOVE that shirt from Hello Apparel. I’ve been wanting one because I too feel like it fits πŸ˜‰

  18. Oh sweet Jen…. How I wish we were closer….I don’t know why, but mine never sleep good until at least a year, then when they get older the excuses start coming. One night last week, Caden had the stomach flu. He was throwing up every hour and when he wasn’t throwing up I was getting up with Cassidy. Some days I just sit and stare out the window. I’m so tired, I can’t even focus on what I need to do. I will give one suggestion, not sure if you spank, but we have had to threaten spanking with Cody, yes, the 8 year old, that would come out 10 times a night if we let him. He is allowed to read and have water in his room, but when the door closes, we don’t see him until morning. Caleb wakes in the middle of the night, I just pray with him and leave. If it were up to me, I would probably let all of them sleep me with every night, Toby really helps me remember they can get what they need during the day and I’m not a terrible mom for not cuddling them all night. I will pray for rest for you, every time I am up at night I will send a little prayer your way. Love ya!

  19. Care Sullivan •

    As I nurse my littlest to sleep, my back aching, praying that my two-year old twins are still sleeping soundly, longing for sleep as you, I read this and I want to envelope you in a wonderful bear hug! I love the scripture where we are encouraged to laugh with those who laugh, and to weep with those who mourn…we aren’t instructed to fix, judge or advise, just to BE THERE. That alone lifts the spirit mightily!
    A quote by Elisabth Eliot was read to me this morning, and it truly does make me happier to think about it! I’d like to share it with you! “This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not some other, God looks for faithfulness.”

  20. Oh the excuses! It’s unreal. We have a 3 year old and I have to give her points for creativity most of the time. I cave every time she asks for food or water. How do they know that is such a weak point?

  21. Princess Buttercup •

    I have similar thoughts as I serve my three year old son a cup of cheerios, a banana and a glass of milk in bed every night because he did not eat the dinner I prepared and he is too “starving” to sleep. I have read all the child rearing books, listened to the advice of my parents and other parents, accepted the importance of routine and done my best to implement all this information into a nice, neat, organized daily structure that should create a successful, not-exhausted, happy and functioning household and yet… chaos reigns. And I know the day he grows out of it my almost two year old daughter will take his place. At least he says please and thank you. Small victories!

  22. My little girls are 27 and 29. It seems like yesterday, they were my babies, in the grocery cart seat, carseat, or running in and out of the house; their art was on the fridge, and I laughed at every new antic. I’m here to say, it goes by in a flash..I miss those days, but I love the women they have become. We are the best of friends..To all young Moms. These are precious days, even the hard days are beautiful; without the struggle, we can never feel deep joy. It’s all good.

  23. oh and ps. My daughter Allie went through, I don’t want to sleep in my room phase. We made a little bed for her on the floor with pillows. She loved it as it felt like camping. I could not sleep with her in our bed, as she was a kicker lol. Allie tells me she loved her little camping bed on our floor, and thanked me, for letting her, as she was so scared in her room alone. She grew up normal, got good grades and is a Social Worker..I believe she had a sensitive soul always, and needed extra protection and family close by at night..Every child is different. Lauren, my baby, slept like a top from the minute she was born..

  24. I’ve had two nights of uninterrupted sleep in the last 20 months. I feel your pain.

  25. Our current struggle with our 3-year old is hitting. Constant hitting. He hits us and he hits his 10-month old sister. It’s so very trying. Ask him if he had a good night sleep, get screamed at and kicked in the legs. Ask him nicely to lay down for a change, get punched in the face. Tell him what his snack options are, get a toy thrown at us. And he doesn’t save this behavior for us. He will take out his anger on his sister. Which is so sad. As a parent, you just want to see your kids love each other (and our daughter is SMITTEN with him). But all of his interaction with her is negative and a lot of it is negative with us, too. I try to keep my calm and think that this is just a stage. It is, right? Right…?

  26. Lauren T •

    Oh Jen I’m sorry you’re not getting sleep and I hope it fixes itself soon! Does she still nap during the day? It might be signs to cut the nap and go to “quiet time” so she goes to sleep earlier and quicker. I also keep a cup of wAter at my 3 yr olds bedside, that way if he insists on a drink, well no need to call mommy, it’s right there.

  27. I definitely needed to read this post. I have been feeling exhausted (LOVE/need your sweater) with our 7-mo-old, and I have a hard time thinking ahead to the future and believing she will ever sleep through the night. This was very sweet, though. Great reminders!!

  28. I am right there with you on this. I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old and we are currently going through a pretty sleepless stage in our house right now. It has been going on for several weeks now. I try to remind myself that in a few short years they will be teenagers and I will be longing for those middle of the night cuddles again.

  29. This is why love your blog so much! I can totally relate to this post. I also have an almost 3-year-old and almost 1-year-old between the two of them sleep is just a memory. It’s very hard because with our three-year-old she was such a great sleeper and now going to bed is a huge struggle. I can relate to the mom guilt when she’s crying and screaming my name, I just want to go in there even though I know she’s also being a tad bit manipulative. The cry it out is very hard for me for both the three-year-old and for our baby. You’re right it is a phase and it will pass, but when you’re in the thick of it it’s really hard to remember that! Hang in there Jen lots of us are with you we completely understand where you are coming from. And if you do find something that works please let us know!! Enjoy a few great nights of uninterrupted sleep! can’t wait to hear all about your alt summit trip!

  30. I just made it through two years without a full night’s sleep and what a glorious feeling it is to get 8, 9, even 10 hours (a miracle last week). Our little was a terrible sleeper but she has turned the corner and I am just about getting used to the quiet and not jumping out of bed to listen by her door. So true how quickly it goes by and how little we remember the exhaustion!

  31. Oww sweet sleep, I will never again take you for granted anymore after having a baby :D!

  32. thanks for reminding me of the years being short, days long. we have a 3.5 week old baby girl and a 3.5 year old little gal who are both sleeping like crazy! the baby makes sense, but our oldest is having a really hard time getting through the new transition. plus, i am still recovering from the birth and trying to “take it easy” – ha. we will get through it; it just seems a bit impossible now.

  33. No advice, only solace! Juuuust looking up that Hello sweater right now.
    *yawn*
    Hope you’re having a great time at Alt! x

  34. I had to laugh a little when I saw this post since I was wearing the same sweatshirt (love hello apparel!) and also because I have a newborn and a two year old. Fortunately, the toe year old is a good sleeper, but I know that could change any second. Ah motherhood! It’s posts like these that let me know we’re all in this together and go through the same craziness. I hope you were able to get some rest, and yes, it really is just a phase.

  35. This article made me think of you
    http://www.today.com/moms/mom-captures-sweet-moments-drawing-daughter-dreams-2D11972908
    (hopefully she doesn’t ask for paint or glitter glue πŸ˜‰ )

  36. This is way too true. I only have one but I’m thinking it’s gonna be a long road. When my mother in law comes over to visit she always raves what a good baby my son is…it makes me laugh when I think of the trauma the night before. Happy sleeping!

  37. Oh my dear friend – i hear you, and i really wish i could give you a big hug. I know it’s frustrating when you’re not getting enough sleep, you don’t feel like a fully functional person, or the best version of yourself.
    I know you’re probably getting tonnes and tonnes of advice on getting kids to sleep – but if you ever just want a little email-chat about it, i’m always here even if we’re far apart πŸ™‚ But i promise, you can do this! You can teach them to be good sleepers, think about how much you’ve already achieved raising those little honeys! Will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers!!
    Big hugs sweetheart!! meg xoxo

  38. I had to laugh at your comment “What if she really is thirsty and I am denying her” I am right there with you only mine are 2 1/2 and 10mo. I can’t for the life of me keep the house clean! Between playing blocks, feeding, naps, more playing, cooking where does the day go? Thank you for bringing a smile to my face today! Praying for you – mom’s have to hang together!

  39. You canΒ΄t really imagine how inspiring your post was for me. IΒ΄m leaving on Sunday for two months because of my work. And IΒ΄ll be seeing my husband and one year old daughter through Skype. There is no other chance around here. Your last paragraph will be my mantra during this two month period. Thank you!!!

  40. It is always so good to hear that I am not alone out here. I so need this shirt and it is going on my wish list.
    Enjoy your sleep!

  41. I love your little family! Your blog is so wonderful because it makes the reader feel connected to you and your story! I need to take good notes for my blog. I just started out and I want it to have the same warm feeling that yours does. Thanks for the inspiration!

  42. This. This is my life and I feel so much better knowing I am not alone. The struggle is real!

  43. Just found your blog via a Lovely Lark’s link to yours, so glad I did. Looking forward to reading more. You had me at your sweatshirt, then the photos of adorable kids I can’t resist. I have an almost 5 year old and it feels like a constant struggle. I try to pick my battles so as not to be a constant nag and yelling all the time. I am tired too. I have not slept in for the last 5 years. Just when I feel like I am failing miserably my daughter says “Mommy I love you”.

  44. I agree! This is true. It’s sometimes frustrating but when we see our kids and hear their sweet voice, what a lovely feeling. Anyway, your kids are so adorable!

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Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!

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