Rhythms of Sleep & Growth in Motherhood


The rhythms of sleep guide us through.


Fall welcomes crisp mornings, refreshing temperatures, and progressively earlier sunsets. As that familiar navy starlit blanket sweeps across the setting sun, I find myself tracing the rhythms of night that have shaped my motherhood so profoundly. 


At first, there were nights of …

… broken sleep, late feedings, and pure exhaustion.  Mamas, you know that next-level type of tired I’m referencing- the one that resides deep within your bones and gives you a new meaning to the word AND. You are so in love with your baby, AND you might snap if you hear the phrase, “Enjoy every moment because they grow so fast!” one more time. You know this time is so precious, AND you wish you could fast forward through the parts that truly stretch your soul. You deeply miss the “you” of before AND feel your heart bursting open as you stare at their perfect profiles and memorize the contours of their nose, patterns of breath, and the weight of their body snuggled next to yours. In the quiet hours of the night, you desperately wish that your love could transform into bubble wrap, perfectly protecting them against future struggles.   



Then, as you both grew …

… that feeling of being perpetually drained persists with a slight twist. This physical fatigue is now stacked with an ever-increasing mental load.  You can see the battle lines drawn in the night shadows without even opening your eyes. Warrior cries of “I’m not tired!” and “I don’t want to!” echo through the quiet halls of your home and are usually followed by endless requests for more- another drink, one more story, a request to find a stuffed animal … you name it, and they want it. Sleep seems so far away as you contemplate your strategy in this most epic battle of wills and opinions. And then, when you are finally able to take that victory lap, a familiar melancholy slowly takes over. You find yourself tiptoeing back into their rooms to check on them one more time and scrolling back through photos of the day to savor their sweet smiles. Your scroll is interrupted constantly by familiar thought loops: did I do enough today? Why did I overreact? Oh, I wish I had handled that differently! Do they know how much they are loved? 



Now …

… you are still negotiating time with even higher stakes. Full school days give you a level of flexibility you couldn’t have even fathomed during the years when time often seemed to stand still. As you find more moments to catch your breath, you also feel a sense of new urgency to #doallthethings between the precious hours of 4 and 9 pm. Instead of being the “finish line” you couldn’t wait to cross at the end of the day, bedtime has now officially become a looming deadline. Has the homework been completed in the margins of work, games, practices, and appointments? These are the days of trying to pour your love into a few short hours of the day and feeling like you are falling miserably short. Right on cue, they are still asking for “more” before lights out. This time, however, you are more than happy to accommodate. In the glow of just a nightlight, they tell you about their recent friend drama. As their story drags on for another 15 minutes, you are vividly aware of your new role as a listener instead of a teller. These are also the days of managing growing pains, calming bad dreams, and finding unexpected company at 2 am because they couldn’t sleep. The night stretches on … and so do you, mama … 


These nights have stretched me in ways I didn’t know were possible. As my children have drifted to sleep over the years, I’ve awakened to a new version of myself that finds new reserves of patience and strength just when I think I can’t keep going. One that chooses to see how many of those motherhood insecurities, anxieties, and worries are simply formless shadows in the night that disappear with the light of love. Whatever stage you are currently in the middle of, I wish you endless amounts of grace and compassion for yourself navigating these messy, beautiful, chaotic, and ever-changing rhythms of night.



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Candice is a St. Louis native and loves exploring the amazing parks, museums, and restaurants that the city has to offer. She is married to her college sweetheart, and they have two children, Olivia and Ryan. Her passions include all things arts and crafts, planning special events, hiking trails sprinkled throughout the area, and documenting the beauty of everyday adventures with her family. In between shuffling her kids to school and various activities, you will likely find her drinking a cup of coffee, gathering ideas on Pinterest, researching destinations for their next family trip, listening to parenting podcasts, or dreaming up her next design project!