As we begin this journey together, sweet sisters, please know that this is a bench for you to sit upon. My hope is that you find Mommy on Fire to be a soft-place-to-land, where you won’t be judged and where you can shoot straight and be real.
That being said, I want you to know there is NO condemnation in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) and there is NO condemnation here, either. I’m not writing about Stinkin’ Thinkin’ because I have it all figured out or to be preachy. I’m writing about the very thing that I struggle with the most so please know that I have dealt with pretty much every joy-stealer I’ll write about in this series.
I’m not sure if you’re a mama or not but please don’t let the name “Mommy on Fire” scare you away if you aren’t. What we’re talking about here is applicable to all of us as women and even men (for you four male readers out there.)
Unfortunately, I’m a night-owl. I’m exhausted while putting my children to bed; so much so that I can’t get them settled fast enough so I can go take a bath and settle for the night and be asleep by 10 p.m.
It never happens. 11:30 or 12 midnight is when I usually drift-off.
But then I must be up no later than 6:30 a.m. during the school year. And it really should be 5:30 a.m. but I’m too tired to do that because I just fell asleep five and a half hours ago at that point. As if.
So, I’m tired, sisters. Like you, I juggle a lot. Sure, we might all juggle different balls but at the end of the day, we’re very likely tired.
Or if you’re like me, you’re tired at the beginning of the day, too.
And here’s the very annoying truth: It’s my own dang fault.
According to Harvard Medical School, sleeping less than six hours a night can lead to irritability, impatience, the inability to concentrate, and moodiness.
When my children are over-extended and tired, all they can do is cry and throw a hootie over the smallest of issues. Samuel won’t give Spencer his Magna-Tile set? This seemingly small issue can be catastrophic right before bedtime.
In addition, my threshold to deal with the everyday norms of being a mom, a wife, a writer, a fill-in-the-blank is greatly diminished when I’m tired.
I’ve also noticed that if I’m tired, I can have, what I like to call “Situational Tourette’s Syndrome.” Death-giving words spew from my mouth and even while I’m speaking them, I know I shouldn’t be but I can’t stop myself.
Out of the heart, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). Ouch.
So my stinkin’ thinkin’ from exhaustion manifests itself into words and too many of these words will eventually become my character.
All because I’m tired and need to listen to my body when it says “GO. TO. SLEEP.”
If you’re like me, you sacrifice your own needs for your family. We’ve read about why we shouldn’t and we realize it’s true but the thing is, that’s for other people isn’t it? We’re just fine and to others, we seem to have it all together.
But if you’re also like me, you’re thankful they don’t reside in the closet of your mind, eh?
I am blessed to be an Accountability Captain of Hello Mornings, a wonderful group of women who encourage one another to be in the word, plan our days, and exercise. As sisters, we need each other to stay-in-check because we all know too well how easy it is to slide away and forget to take care of ourselves.
It’s a very gradual program – for example, the first week we will simply focus on going to sleep fifteen minutes earlier and getting up at least five minutes before our children.
Should you feel led, a few spots have opened up in my formerly full group (we are allowing more than the suggested 15 – but not too many more!). Please let me know in the comment section if you are interested.
Sleep well, sisters. Our thoughts depend on it.
And, therefore, our words do as well.
What time do you go to sleep? What keeps you from going to sleep earlier? Any bedtime wisdom you can share?
This is something I’ve been struggling with lately. For a couple of years, I was so disciplined about going to bed and getting up early . . . but I’ve fallen off the wagon this summer. Our kids are getting a wee bit older, and we’ve enjoyed a looser summer schedule. Lately, I’ve been staying up to watch the Olympics – there is always an excuse. It is going to hurt when we’ve GOT to get up early in a couple of weeks so that my oldest can get to Kindergarten on time. Meanwhile, my morning quiet time has become hit or miss, and it certainly won’t be as long once we have to be out the door by 7:30 a.m. I’ve started enforcing an earlier bedtime for them in order to ease the transition. Now I need to enforce it for myself. To answer your question, though, I think that recognizing the problem (I need to go to bed earlier) is the first step, and then if you can get your spouse to help you do that, it helps a ton. When the Olympics are over (last excuse!) my husband and I will do a better job of getting each other to turn in “early.” I’m also doing some Bible reading at night, so that I don’t feel stressed about squeezing so much in during the early morning.
Yep, those Olympics are tripping many up these days. :) You know, I don’t think it matters WHEN you have time with Him – just that you do.
The school year will be GREAT for me to get myself out of bed, too! :)
Thanks for reading and commenting, Courtney! It’s always good to have your sweet spirit around these parts!
Good Morning Natalie!
I want you to know what an amazing blessing you have been to me…your words of which seem to come from my brain as well have lifted me up. I would love to join your EST Hello Mornings group…I just moved from Maryland to S. Florida.
I usually hit my pillow at around 10:30-11:00…and I’m out in 2.3 seconds…I must say I have the gift of sleep anywhere, anytime…it can drive my husband batty as it takes him sometimes hours to wind down…I am awake at 7:30…everyone still asleep, so this is my coffee/Mommy on Fire/prayer time…ahhhh!
I look forward to getting to know you better…thank you again for your words/inspiration…you are wonderful!
God bless your day!
Aww…shucks, Stacy. Thank you. :) But the glory goes to Him. Always.
I’ll get you some details later tonight, girl. AND – I so look forward to getting to know you as well!
Thanks for reading and commenting, Stacy!
Natalie, I adore your words and they so often hit quite close to home. I had pondered joining your morning group when you first mentioned it but decided against it. This morning, however, I feel that God is telling me this is something I can benefit and learn from…so I’m in, if you’ll have me! This summer’s sleep schedule is wreaking havoc with my mind and body. Normally, I hit the sack by 9:00pm and get up around 5:00am. This summer I have been going to bed just shy of midnight and up by 6:30…not enough sleep and I feel it in the words that I speak to my children and the way my body and mind feel. Anxious to get back into a routine here. I also must say that your “Situational Tourette’s Syndrome” is spot on!
Jen, so glad you felt that nudge and you followed through in obedience. I’ll get you some details later this evening – I look forward to getting to know you better!
Glad I’m not the only one to suffer from Situational Tourette’s Syndrome…:)
Thanks for reading and commenting, Jen!
I started reading Mommy on Fire mostly because of learning about my friend Natalies’ life. As a fellow Christian, I thought it was necessary to support, read and possibly comment to Mommy on Fire. I have learned many things about the duties, the emotions, the hardships, and, most of all, the strengths that “mommies” have in everyday life. I’ve even shared this with my two sisters, Wendy and Amy, who gave me a grand total of 2 nieces and 3 nephews. Like I said, I started reading Mommy on Fire to support my friend Natalie…I’ve sinced grown into Mommy on Fire and learned that, like her, Natalie isn’t the only one to support. Ha ha ha…sorry Nat but I’m sure you understand.
With that said, the mornings associated with less sleep. I can write for hours about this but I’m sure my “mommies” don’t have the time for that. It’s true..the less you sleep the more grouchy you are. And when I say “you” I mean everyone, not just ladies. Here’s something that might help…I said might so if it doesn’t, please don’t lynch one of the 4 men who read Mommy on Fire!
First..let’s say you have to get up at 5:30..which means you want to go to bed around 9:30-:10:30, but can’t fall asleep. My method is to curl up with a book…for some reading a book while laying down brings out the sleep factor. Also, turn off the TV! You don’t have to stay up late to watch your shows…think about the necessities in life! Your health, your attitude, and mostly, your children. Tivo or record your shows and watch them later.
Drink something warm…it relaxes the body…along the same lines, take a relaxing bath. How many times have you almost, or have, fell asleep in the tub?! The hot or warm water relaxes the muscles and takes your day away. These are just a couple of ideas to help get started to sleep earlier.
Oh yeah…in the mornings when the attitude level is high….WE have to relearn that words hurt people. Watch what WE say to others when we’re grumpy and irritable. I know it’s hard. I’m not a morning person either when I don’t have much sleep, that’s why I’m sharing this, but, when I do, I’m a ray of sunshine ready to tackle on the world!
God speed my “mommies” and my 3 “daddies?” who read Mommy on Fire. I hope some of this helps.
LOOOK!!!!!! A BOY!!! And He commented!!!!!!
I love my sweet friend from high school, Mark, and I think he speaketh much wisomdeth here.
Thanks, Mark, for reading. AND for commenting – I think you might be the first man on record to leave a comment…LOVE IT.
And this? “WE have to relearn that words hurt people. Watch what WE say to others when we’re grumpy and irritable”. SO TRUE.
Thank you for reading AND commenting, Mark!
Ugh, I am trying to wrestle this beast myself. I’m experimenting with getting up early to work online (as early as 4:30) which means that I have to go to sleep earlier, which I’m just not good at. Particularly because I would have to go to bed before my husband which I hate to do. I want to spend every second with him that I can. Sigh.
4:30?????? Oh, my. Wow.
Yep, going to sleep earlier? I’m very, very bad at this. Clearly, as it’s 10:40 p.m. as I write.
This won’t happen next week because, ahem, my new bedtime is IN bed at 9:30 and read until 10:30’s light’s out…
Bwaaa, haaa, haaa….We shall see….
Thanks for reading and commenting, Jessica!
I really don’t have any issues with sleep. It’s a consistent 8 hours a day deal in my life. Oh, wait a minute…that was just me dreaming…I must have drifted off to sleep…there’s a chance that 6 hours of sleep would be a good night for me. I would love to use the excuse that we’re in the middle of summer camp, and that things will certainly get better once school starts in one week, but alas, I would be lying. I know that the change in my sleep won’t come until I change my intentions…and my intentions won’t be played out until I attach some discipline to it. Yes, sleep. Please.
I am completely guilty of taking care of everything else before I go to bed. For instance, I just HAD to finish all of the dishes and clean up the kitchen after our 15 dinner guests left at midnight last night. What I need is a little bit of discipline transfer. Discipline is not something I lack…but perhaps direction for my discipline is where things go awry. I have heard so many people say “I’ll get sleep when I’m dead.” My response? If you don’t get sleep now, that sleep of death will come quicker than you’d like.
Well, I must get off to a restful day of driving four hours in the car round-trip to spend a few hours at the zoo, before I come home to another summer camp get-together. ;) Happy sleeping, dear friend!
Oh, friend. You SO don’t lack discipline but I love your point of direction WITH discipline. So true.
Missing you, girl. Let’s catch up soon!
I wish I had such sound advice YEARS ago!! Great words of wisdom here…
Ah! Sleep…one of my personal FAV things to do. Probably just second to staying up late. A night owl since birth—according to my mother anyway. At one time I had 4 kidlets 7 and under. THEY were from the dark side…the MORNING side, like their Dad. AND to top it off, all them were rather chipper in the AM. I clearly recall bargaining with God about getting up at 10AM…then 9…8…7…6..NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE do NOT make me get up at 5 0_o! He is so merciful so 6:30 it was for a LONG time. Like MANY have said here….we so often need to get a few “more” done….or read a magazine, catch the 11 PM news…but sleep is just SO key to HMS…”Happy Mom Syndrome!” Over the years my kids have turned into night people which make me happy on the one hand….and struggling on the other since the reality of life is most people generally need to get UP by 7AM the latest!
So, in the summer we go to bed late and sleep in until 9…GLORIOUS! In the fall everyone is IN bed no later than 10:30. Then we get up around 7. There are days I get up earlier, but not often. I am on the “other side” if you will with 2 older children out of the house at college and 2 teens that do school at home and can make their own breakfast if need be :0).
My menopausal hormones have kept me awake MANY nights. I have found taking a melatonin pill help me relax enough to sleep, it is all natural, there are NO side effects like grogginess the next day. Just a piece of FYI if there are some finding it hard to relax and let the mind stop going long enough to fall asleep!
Donna, I row this same boat in the mornings. My kids? Up and at ’em with excitement and smiles right away. I don’t understand where they come from.
Love the HMS – I strive for that each day!
Thanks for reading and commenting, Donna!
I can SO relate to donnao! During those (long ago) school years, had a husband and youngest son who LUVED morning! (Oldest son was wise beyond his years and liked to sleep in.)
Can still remember, after brushing my teeth and splashing cold water on face….scuffling into the living room to ask youngest what he wanted for breakfast.
Now, I’m old…so keep in mind this was BMD (before microwave days)…..and I’d offer Cheerios, Shredded Wheat, Frosted Flakes….EVEN……toast!! Cunningly, he’d pretend to think about the choices and then say, “Uhmmm….I want hot Coco Wheats.” Period. No bargaining could budge this little boy as he stared, unflinchingly, at the “The Bozo Show” on television. I had to drag out the little pot, boil water on the stove top, add the cereal, and cook and cook and stir and stir…JUST until the right consistency had been achieved. Then, let it cool…add some sugar, a tad bit of milk…and serve to “Precious.”
And while I’d give anything to have that little boy back again…I SO understand what our young moms are going through. And what a blessing to have such a support system! Don’t know what I’d have done without MINE!
What I’d like to share is that “insomnia” AND the lust for “private time” is so indicative of females in this age-range…..please DO take advantage of the simple measures which are available in this day and age. (Trust me…warm milk doesn’t work.) In my thirties, I checked with my doc and he suggested I take a Benadryl before bedtime, given that most people react with some “sleepiness.” As it turned out, I’m not “most people.” SO….after taking TWO of said pills, I decided EARLY the next morning that I’d forgo that idea and try taking one in the morning, instead!
Seriously, for some folks, this approach is doable, but as donnao has suggested, Melatonin can be a gentle source of…hrmmm….quieting the brain and offering relaxation. However, according to a professional consultant, it is wise to purchase the Melatonin as a spray, rather than a pill. Follow the directions, and it should help to relax the body and slow down the rapid brain activity. And what young momma doesn’t have THAT?! Always wondering how they’re going to get everything accomplished, what’s on tap for tomorrow, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc. Well….you get the drift.
Even though some of us (cough) are beyond the child-producing/child-rearing years….once a momma…ALWAYS a momma!
God’s blessings to y’all….!!!
I love your words here, Aunt Patty. Brought a bit of a tear to my eye…I think you might have made hot Coco Wheats for me at least once, too.
Might need to check out some of that magic spray…Good to know!!!
Love you, Aunt Patty!
Oooops! Forgot to add the commercial that turned children against their parents! ;)
I can relate with you, I am a night owl and when it comes to getting up in the morning I have a hard time! I had started going for an early morning run, but since the Olympics started I have really slacked off! (Due to the lack of sleep!) I would love to be apart of your Hello Mornings group, if you still have room!? I live in northwestern Indiana.
Hello, Neighbor! I’m in West Lafayette. I’m about to email you directions!
Thank you for reading and commenting!!!!
Such true words. I have been struggling with this and so convicted on it but yet I can’t seem to do it! My friend told be about your blog and this group. I have loved reading all of your stinkin’ thinkin’ posts and am always nodding my head as I’m reading them:) If a spot becomes available I would love to join. I think the accountability would help me a ton. Thank you so much for all you encouragement!