Tuesday, January 7, 2014


There have been times over the past year where I have felt like I’m vanishing. Disappearing into thin air, and no one around me seemed to notice. 

I was still there, physically. But mentally, emotionally, and spiritually? Less. 

This obviously had a lot to do with the crazy sleep deprivation that I experienced for most of 2013. Staying up from midnight to three or four AM was no biggie in college, but I could also nap whenever I wanted, and heck even skip a class or two . It wasn’t even that big of an issue when I worked full-time before Lizzy, because I had paid time off and sick days and vacation time, and heck, even a 30 minute lunch break where I could go lay in the car and nap.  But when you’re a mom, there are no sick days.  And so I trudged on, sleep deprived, feeling like a zombie, and looking like one too, I’m sure. 

I thought it would get better after the newborn phase, but it didn’t . Becca didn’t sleep. Like, ever. I think I heard about and tried, every single form of sleep training known to man. It didn’t work. She didn’t sleep, no matter what. And so I spent countless nights from midnight to 3 or 4am pacing, rocking, nursing, singing, shushing, and hiding under the covers while trying to let her cry (nope, never ended up working for her).

And that was really when everything else started to take a back seat.

Blogging? Forget it. I’d rather be sleeping. 

Reading? Nope. Rarely.

Socializing? Too tired.

Working out? Are you kidding? When? At 3am? Nope.

It felt like things kept fading away until only the things needed to survive were left, which basically meant MOM.

Mom, mom, mom, 24/7, literally. Justin worked, Justin led service at church, Justin went to school, Justin played baseball, and it was no more and no different than he’d done in past years, but somehow it felt like 100 times more to me, and I resented it, sometimes. But, I was also so exhausted that I didn’t even know how to form a coherent sentence to explain that I needed something to change. So, I mommed (and occasionally seethed). Mom, mom, mom, mom. Mooooooommmmmm.

One day, I finally broke down in tears after a date night, because I literally had nothing to talk about besides our kids or parenting. I didn’t even have house cleaning to talk about because that didn’t happen 95% of the time. And I don’t know about you, but I’d read 100 different articles that talked about the importance of cultivating your marriage around things besides your kids, and OH GOD, that was another thing I was failing at too. 

Justin would ask me to wake him up to let him help with Becca at night, but then I'd spend 40 minutes trying to wake him up, and by then Becca was so ticked that she'd wake up Lizzy, and by then, what was the point? Justin would tell me that I should take time to myself, but what in the world was I going to do? I was too tired to do anything. So, I’d sleep. And then wake up feeling guilty and cry because I felt like I’d wasted another opportunity to create an identity besides my kids. And that was the problem, wasn’t it? That I wasn't creating an identity outside of being a mom?

{Spoiler alert: It wasn’t the problem— I was just really, really, really, REALLY tired.}

Meanwhile, Becca required (requires!) the most hyper-vigilant sleep schedule in the world. Miss naptime by 3 minutes? It wasn’t happening. And bedtime probably wasn’t either. I remember those moms with Lizzy, and thinking ‘That’s no way to live! There has to be a happy medium!’


That was all well and good and true with Lizzy, but let me tell you….with Becca, it wasn’t about living, it was about surviving. And that meant that no one was going to do anything to eff with her sleep. She napped late? The world stopped. Plans were cancelled. If Becca was sleeping? SHE WOULD NOT BE AWAKENED (or I would pay for it all night). Some kids are like that. Some kids aren’t. Some can be trained, some can’t. You do what works for them, whatever it takes. And seriously, if a former version of myself ever told you anything to the contrary, I’m so sorry.
Sleep deprivation? It is no joke, man. 

Don’t get me wrong—2013 was a year filled with amazing moments. Lots of belly laughs. Smiles. Memories that I’ll treasure forever. I look through that Flipagram video that we all made and smile so big, because we are truly so blessed, and so lucky. But let’s be real—sometimes, when you’re feeling really weary…when you feel like you’re dissolving into a fine mist…sometimes then, the knowing that you’re blessed but not feeling like it at the time… just makes it even harder. Another thing I’m doing wrong

Now, Becca is sleeping a little better. She’s not a great sleeper, and probably never will be, but there’s a morning, here or there, when I wake up and check my clock for the first time since I went to sleep and see 5AM, or 6AM, or sometimes even 7AM…which is a whole heck of a lot better than seeing 12AM, 1AM, 2AM, 3AM, 4AM, 5AM, and 6AM. Truly, it is amazing what a good night’s sleep will do. 

I’m reading again, a lot. 

I’m spending time in the Word, and just talking with God. 

I’m writing a little bit, here and there. Half-finished children’s books and blog posts and short stories, a curious number of which feature a character named Annabelle. 

I’m talking more with Justin about how we’re going to make it work together, and when we just need to say no more anything, no matter how worthy a cause it seems. 

I’m working out at naptime, even if it means the laundry doesn’t get done like I’d like or that the bathroom hasn’t been cleaned in a month. 

I’m feeling parts and pieces of myself beginning to fall back into focus. Become less fuzzy. Those parts were there all along, they’d just sort of dissipated and floated just past where I could see them.

It feels so much better. 

So, with all that said, if you’re there, in the thick of sleep deprivation right now, whether you have one kid or five? I get it. I understand. Forget the people who tell you that if you should be able to do x,y,and z because they did. Forget it. Do what you need to do to survive and cling to as much of your sanity as you can. No more, no less. Take a nap, any chance you get, and don't feel the slightest bit guilty about it :)

It’ll get better. Maybe not right away, and it may not ever feel like it, but it will, and you’ll be YOU again, I promise.


  1. I want to give you a great big hug and kidnap Becca so you can have lots of time to yourself after reading all of this. Gabe still doesn't sleep all the way through the night, but he's only 9 months old, and I'm hoping and praying and counting on him doing so within the next few months. But even so, in the past 9, I've read so many articles, talked to so many friends who said to try this or that, that THIS will work, but that thing I tried? No. Doesn't work. I threw reading to the wind. I stopped reading articles and talking to friends because I didn't care what anyone else said. I accepted as "it is what it is" and here we are...great nights and lousy nights the same, it's just the way it is. I know it isn't as bad as what you're describing, but sleep is just one of those things you NEED to function when you're at home with babies and toddlers, and it's HARD some mornings to pull yourself out of bed, whether you had a half-hour of sleep all night, or you had 8 with one wake-up. One sounds better, but it stinks not remembering the last time I had an uninterrupted night of sleep, and I dream of that night I get to do it again!

    I'm glad you're starting to do things YOU enjoy again. Have you read Desperate by Sarah Mae? SUCH a great book, and I really think you would love it if you've never read it. I finished it last month, and man, I was nodding my head the whole way through.

    Anyway, sorry for the book. I miss reading your posts, and I felt like an itty bitty part of me could relate to what you're saying, but it makes me happy you're finding "you" again, even if it's slowly. :) *hugs*

  2. I am so glad to hear you are getting back to doing things for yourself that energize and make you happy! Boy do I understand the sleep deprivation. When my husband deployed my son just did.not.sleep. Went to bed fine but up for the day between 3 and 4 a.m. for 7 months. Yeah, the foggy haze of sleep deprivation can really wear you down. For what it's worth, I love coming hear to read your posts! Glad you are getting a little more sleep, too :)

  3. Oh my goodness! Theo and Becca must be from the same batch. He was 14 months old before he slept more than 4 hours in a row! We have been celebrating this week because he has slept until 6. I wish I could have read this or emailed you back in the thick of it... but I bet we would be to tired. Glad you are getting your light at the end of this tunnel.

  4. Giiiiiirrrl. I feel ya. Luke was like that...it took that kid 18 months to sleep through the night for the first time...and it still isn't even consistent. I FEEL YA. It sucks - and I went through a LOT of the same things you are talking about. Particularly resenting my husbands "freedom". It was like dude you get to leave the house for work, you go out for lunch, you get to go play for worship team, you get to go play in a band and then hang at a bar...but when he would offer to give those things up, that wasn't what I wanted either, you know? I WANT all those things for Matt, I was just SO FRICKIN' TIRED. There is just no way to explain it. It's the pits.

    I'm glad these hooligans are getting sleep figured out! Someday we will be normal again Meredith! SOMEDAY! :)

  5. Meredith, I sure miss you here. I look here every day to see if you have posted something. I just "knew" what you were dealing with when I started seeing postings get fewer and fewer. I dealt with the sleep deprivation too and I agree: IT IS NO JOKE!. After my daughter was born I said to others "if you want to torture someone just sleep deprive them, they will give you anything you want". I was fuzzy just like you and that is a MAJOR component for me being scared to have baby # 2. Probably the most critical factor for me. Yep, as I type this I am sure. :)

    I love your heart. I love that you love God and your family so deeply. I love that you talk about always improving yourself for those you love...and yourself. I resonate on so many things you say that I cannot narrow it down. I lurk here everyday and sure enjoy reading about your adventures. I hope you continue to find yourself again as the haze lifts.

  6. Oh sigh. Much of the first year with Lucy was no sleep, too. She sucked SO BAD it killed me. But she wasn't as bad as Becca. She'd at least sleep/lay/suckmyboob for the whole night in bed with me. Somehow, miraculously, she started sleeping at night. Now napping? nope. She sucks. Not long at all. BUT. I keep telling myself nighttime is what matters. I am happy for you that you're finally getting time to yourself. Breathe in, breathe out. ;)

  7. I will not pretend to understand extended sleep exhaustion. I remember the tough times when mine was a newborn but I was very fortunate they didn't last. Makes me scared to have #2!
    I'm so glad that you are slowly coming back. I have missed your blog posts even though I follow on IG. Keep hanging in there.

  8. I will not pretend to understand extended sleep exhaustion. I remember the tough times when mine was a newborn but I was very fortunate they didn't last. Makes me scared to have #2!
    I'm so glad that you are slowly coming back. I have missed your blog posts even though I follow on IG. Keep hanging in there.

  9. Oh I so feel you! C was an awesome sleeper until 7 or 8 months old, when he started waking up and screaming in the middle of the night for hours until we got him up. And then he would only nap for 45 min to boot (He finally stopped, after HOURS of CIO around 19 months old). It was so, so hard and affected every area of my life. I didn't want to do anything when he was asleep because I was TERRIFIED any little noise would wake him. My husband and I were always mad at each other because we were so tired. Our lovely pastor's wife made a nice, innocent suggestion about helping him sleep and I was overcome with the desire to punch her in the face because I had tried everything and nothing worked.

    Its so very hard to understand unless you've been there, and it can be hard to remember what that's truly like when you're months out from an experience like that. I've told people in that situation, "it sucks, and you feel terrible, but you won't die." Not totally encouraging, but true. I'm glad sleep is on the upswing for you!


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