Thursday, December 9, 2010

In All Things...

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances...I have learned the secret to being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength"
Philippians 4:11-13

Anyone else feeling overwhelmed these days?

Between attempting to meet the needs of my babies, my husband, our home, and myself, and getting ready for Christmas, I am feeling like I need a 36 hour day.

Last night I stayed up wayyyy too late working on a Christmas project, simply because it had to get done and I had found no other time to do it. It was a rather detailed project, and I try to avoid attempting those during the day while the kiddo's are awake in order to avoid frustration for all 3 of us. One thing I have learned this far into motherhood is that if I add too many involved things to my "to do" list for the day, I am setting us all up to fail. Things go much smoother and we are all happier if I leave myself readily available to change diapers at the drop of a hat, nurse when hungry or thirsty, pick up a babe and toss them in the air to induce giggles, or simply shake a rattle in front of them or race a car across the hardwoods when quick entertainment is needed.

But, the combination of being up late last night and the fact that I haven't gotten more than 3 hours of consecutive sleep in over 4 weeks, has left me utterly exhausted this morning.

We have been gently working with our little ones to sleep "better" at night, and while they are each making strides, it's just not coming together fast enough for me. They have been tag teaming us and trading off sleeping well at different stretches of the night. Abbey took the first "1/2" last night and slept soundly, while Luke was up 4 times between 7pm-12:30am. Then he slept soundly until just after 4am, while she was up from 3:00-4:00am. And then just for funsies we started our day at 5:30am.

I wish I could say I handled all this with grace, but that would be a big fat lie.

I just do not do well on so little sleep, and frankly, it's embarrassing to me that 8 1/2 months into this I can still just fall apart so easily from sleep deprivation.

But this morning I realize that my crumbling over how frustrated and exhausted I feel is for more than one reason - that one reason being sleep is truly vital to functioning during the day.

The other reason is Pride. I am humbled that I am not Super Mom.

Yup, 8 1/2 months later, and I still have not learned that I can not have such high expectations of myself or of my babies.

Will I ever learn? Lord I hope so.

It's been an issue with me from the moment the babies were born. I remember day 2 in the hospital when the rounding physician came to inspect my incision and asked if we had help when we got home. "Yes, for 2 weeks" I said. A concerned look came across his face, and he said "in my experience, families with newborn twins need about 4 to 6 weeks of good solid help, and with the delivery you just had, I would strongly recommend 8 weeks". I remember smiling rather smugly at him and saying "oh, we will be just fine, thank you though".

Oh, sweet little naive Kendra in your Oxycodone induced prideful you were! I truly believed in my heart that because I wanted these babies so bad and had waited so long for them, that those feelings would give me Supernatural abilities.

I was wrong.

So very wrong.

Anyhow, back to today.

As I sit here and ponder why it bothers me that I am such a mess in the morning after such a frustrating night, I realize -if I am honest- that a lot of the reason is because I thought I would do this better. I thought I would handle this part better. I thought I would pop out of bed with joy in my heart the minute my children cried out for me, no matter the time of night (or time they wanted to start their day) or how long it had been since I had last popped out of bed. But instead, each morning that starts too early after too little sleep, I feel frustrated, and I am snappy and short with my family. My husband on the other hand, seems to take all of this in stride, and it amazes me. He just powers through the morning -and the rest of the day- accepting with grace that such is life with infant twins. I am disappointed in myself that I can't seem to be more like that, both for him and for me.

The other morning I was extremely convicted while watching Joyce Meyers (who, incidentally, I am not big on. She's a little too brash for my tastes. But it was 5am and I was up with a baby who was wide awake and I was in desperate need of some Jesus, so I turned her show on). She was talking about a time early in her ministry where they were very short financially. She had been lamenting about how their savings account kept getting drained for one reason or another - new tires, fridge broke, etc- when her husband said to her "if you are waiting until we have 'enough' money to find contentment, the devil will make sure we never have it"

That pierced my soul like an arrow.

When my day starts off with too little sleep, I have already decided in my mind I am barely going to have enough energy to survive it.

That may seem like nothing to you, or even rational, but to me it was poignant. Do I really believe the Bible? Do I really believe that the Lord can be my strength? Do I really look to Him to be my portion?
(Psalm 118:14, Isaiah 40:31, Psalm 46:1, 1 Corinthians 1:25)

How am I going to work towards this goal? Towards this calling? Well it's 2-fold.

First, tonight we begin a little more "sleep training". I confirmed with the lactation consultant yesterday that the babies are getting nursed enough times during the day that they should absolutely be able to get only one feeding at night (our babies have never slept all the way through the night, and we are not expecting them to now either) and that because we went weeks -before we all got ill- where Abbey was going until at least 1:30am without waking, and Lucas until almost 4am, that they are "ready and able" to do that again. We just need to help them get there. For the longest time I have been telling myself to be more patient and tolerant because they are teething, or going through a new developmental stage, or something...but the bottom line is they are going to be teething and going through new developmental stages for the next year. And I simply can't keep going like this. Also, I am reminding myself that my babies need a sane Momma more than they need constant comfort during the night, and I am on the verge of loosing it I tell you.

(All that being said, if you have something nasty to say about CIO, please, please, PUH-LEASE keep it to yourself...I have a hard enough time listening to them cry, and it has taken me forever to come to this stance on it.)

But even if our attempts are fruitless, God calls me to find contentment in any and all circumstances, and I hate that lack of sleep and feeling busy can so easily disrupt my contentment. I mean, Paul wrote that while he was in prison.

I want to be better about looking to the Lord for my strength to get through the day. I want to be better about spending time with Him, and letting His word renew me and give me strength and energy.

After all, even though it makes for a busy month, I so LOVE this time of year.

And even though they have been keeping me up most the night, I am crazy in love with my babies.


Guy and Julie said...

I have so much admiration for you! You are a great mom! I seriously don't know how you do it. And I know y'all can do it on the sleep training. You're right--it's so hard to do it, but the pros far outweigh the cons (a sane momma!!!!) Will be praying it goes quickly and you all get back to a more normal schedule asap.

Lauren said...

Such a honest post! Good for you.

And GOOD FOR YOU for getting serious about sleep training. It is no good for you to be up so often. You have TWO babies tag teaming you, for goodness sakes. And you know they know how to sleep, so they're just being stubborn. I convinced myself of the teething, developmental milestones, separation anxiety, whatever, whatever, for a long time and then got to the breaking point and used CIO. Turned out it was NONE of those things (it almost never is), it was just Noah being darn stubborn, thinking everytime he woke up he needed Mama to rock or nurse him back to sleep. As you know, he learned FAST, and your kids probably will too since they already have the falling-asleep-on-their-own skills. They'll learn they don't need Mom multiple times overnight. One nursing each night is enough at 8 months! (and I still nurse Noah once overnight, although I don't let him eat until after 4am because I know he can easily go that long, or longer, and the times I've let him nurse earlier have led to even EARLIER nursings in the following nights.

And honestly, it sounds terrible, but the crying does get easier. You know they're fine, you do feel bad, but it gets less torturous - partly because they just stop crying much. At the beginning it really is TORTUROUS though, so you have to stick to your guns. It's no good for those babies if you let them cry for 20 minutes and then rescue them. All it teaches them is that if they scream for a long time they'll get what they want. And it's not fair to make them cry for 20 minutes if they're not actually going to learn anything from it.

Good luck!

Julia said...

Praying for you as you train those babies to sleep better, sweet Kendra. I KNOW it is not easy to hear them cry. If there's anything specific I can pray about or help you with, just ask.

Ann said...

Hang in there - you are in my prayers...I know how stressed my sister (still today) is with her twins...although she handles it amazingly! Twins are challenging...twice the love, stress, hard work, and must have it in you though because God will not bring you to anything he cannot help you through!!

pamela said...

Hi Kendra,

Like you I tried not letting my children CIO for a while. But After 2 years of very little sleep I too decided enough was enough, but my stubborn nature did not let me. I clung on. Till one day when I hadn't slept for more than 2 hours a night for nearly 2 weeks.

It was midmorning and I had just gotten both kids down (not twins, just born close together) and one started fussing, waking the other.. In tears I just couldn't take it anymore. I went into their room, made sure they were not dirty or hungry and were safe. Walked out of their room, closed the door, walked out of the house, closed the door sat on the front steps in my PJ'S and bawled and prayed for rest. I don't know how long I cried for, I dont think it was that long, but God sure answered my prayers. Cause when I opened the front door again, ready to battle whatever may come, there was silence in the house. I went to the kids room and checked on them and they were both asleep.

I promptly jumped into bed myself and slept till I heard the first cry, a whole hour later. From then on, I would check them to see if they actually needed food or cleaning of a night time and if they didn't and weren't sick, they did not need me. Sometimes it worked and they wen't back to sleep on their own, sometimes I couldn't handle hearing them cry and would snuggle them to soothe them. They are now 5 and 4, and both sleep through, most of the time. Othertimes I wake up and find a warm little body snuggled in my bed with me, which I don't mind (they will stop doing that soon enough) God blesses me those mornings with sleepy cuddles and I love it.

I honestly don't think there is a one size fits all solution to child rearing. But a wise older lady once said to me that God gave me my children, not because I am a good person or awesome mother, but because I am the right person for them. God knew that these children need ME and he knows them better than I do. She told me that I don't need to be a super mum or measure myself to someone else's yard stick, I need to be me wrapped in prayer and that is the best present I can give my child and that is all that the Lord asks of us as mothers.

Plus, when the kids are older, they will not remember if the house was clean but they will remember if mum spent time with them or not.

Chin up :) wrap yourself and prayer, you are going to be alright and so will your babies,
Praying for you,

Lori said...

Kendra you are in my thoughts and prayers girl!! I see a great mom when I think of you, and I know that is true! :) I always admire you as to how you are raising twins and working, your such an inspiration!! You have had some difficult times in the last few weeks mostly beacuse of the sickness you all had. I am sure you are still trying to catch up on sleep from that! Hang in there friend!!

Kaycee said...

Absolutely nothing is easy until you are getting full nights of sleep again consistently (and then you can't figure out HOW you survived without a full nights sleep to begin with!). As for sleep training, you don't listen to anyone - you do what works for you and your family. What you are comfortable with is what is best for your kiddos. It is hard to listen to them cry but there are also so many advantages to teaching them to settle themselves. I used to look at a clock and set myself a time that I could go back into my daughter. Made it easier for me to listen to the crying when I knew I would go back in her room in "x" minutes. I was usually surprised that she would settle down before I reached the time! Or at least be a little more calm. I also was known to turn the monitor down a notch or two at night when she was a bit older. That way I slept through the little whines instead of waking up at everything but if she got really upset it would still wake me up. :) Had some guilt over that for a bit too, but a tired Mama? Not good for anyone. Babies need happy rested Mama's during the day! At least as often as possible.

Slightly off topic - Did you ever find them those PJs? I hope so! :)

Hope you get lots and lots of rest tonight!

Vanessa's Dad said...

Yay. You have learned the secret to happiness, and you can pass it on to Luke & Abbey, and they can pass it on to their kiddo's, and so on, and so on. Blessings instead of curses, passed on.

You ARE a Super Mom. Ya need to get a realistic picture of what that looks like, darlin'. And, it looks like a photo of YOU. And, same goes for David.

What you are is a sleep-deprived Super Mom? That won't last forever, and you are already getting better. Even on a bad night, it's one more night closer to when you'll sleep five hours a night on average. Won't that seem like heaven on earth.


Aunt Carol said...

I love what your dad said to you, Kendra, and what Pamela said. You and David are absolute the right parents for Luke and Abbey. Your instincts are leading you in the right direction at every turn.

Here's to more sleep in your future, one night at at time.

Love, Aunt Carol

Once Upon A Time said...

I wanted to say "Me too." I'm there too. We're finally not giving Sam his MOTN bottle, but he hasn't gotten the memo yet. :) The frequent night waking is nuts though with twins, isn't it?

There is a sleep regression at 8/9 months... so I'm hoping for both of us that once that passes, that will help, too.

Hang in there!

Once Upon A Time said...

I wanted to say "Me too." I'm there too. We're finally not giving Sam his MOTN bottle, but he hasn't gotten the memo yet. :) The frequent night waking is nuts though with twins, isn't it?

There is a sleep regression at 8/9 months... so I'm hoping for both of us that once that passes, that will help, too.

Hang in there!