My two-year-old, Tenley, recently went through a spell where, for two weeks, she decided she didn’t want to take an afternoon nap anymore.
Since Tenely has always been a great napper this behavior was very unusual. I wondered if she was giving up naps for good. I wondered if I should let her. I wondered if I should try something new or stick with our routine and hope she’d eventually come around.
In search of advice I posted a status comment on Facebook eliciting help from my online community of skilled and beautiful mamas:
At what age did your child stop taking an afternoon nap?
The response I got blew me away. Dozens of moms, both family and friends, responded with all kinds of advice, wisdom, and encouragement.
I was surprised to find that moms of all ages weighed in. Somehow, I guess I expected to hear mostly from mothers of young children like me. Mamas who are currently in the thick of the nap time battle just like I am. But this wasn’t the case.
Most of the comments I received came from moms of grown children. Despite the fact that it’s been years, perhaps even decades, since their daily schedule fluctuated around their little one’s nap time, they still remember their child’s habits, behaviors and sleep patterns in perfect detail.
While the comments I received were helpful in answering my question about Tenley, they also served as a reminder of four important things:
1) Fellow moms both old and young are a tremendous source of advice and encouragement.
2) It’s okay to ask for help.
3) In the awesome, and often overwhelming, task of mothering I am never alone.
4) A mama never forgets.
On this Mother’s Day, I think these four things are important reminders for all of us, no matter what stage of life or parenting we’re in.
The church my family goes to has a small room next to the sanctuary set aside for nursing moms or moms with small, wiggly and/or fussy children. I fall into category number two.
Whenever Tenley gets too noisy or wiggly to stay in the sanctuary for church service, I take her to the Cry Room. Week after I week I sit there, listen to the sermon and watch the moms around me. Sometimes it makes me sad to see other moms come in and out of the room looking weary, frazzled and drained.
I know the feeling. Motherhood is a round the clock job. There are times when our infant’s or young child’s needs require constant care and attention. (For the record, I hear teenagers can be the same way!) Sometimes the only break, the only place of solace, the only peace and quiet we get are a few minutes alone in the shower or bathroom…and let’s face it mamas, there are times when even this oasis falls under siege.
I know that sometimes in the midst of the love and care we constantly dish out to our children and our families it’s easy to feel alone. It’s easy to feel like no one else sees, appreciates or remembers our hearts, our needs.
But who can understand a mother’s heart, a mother’s needs better than a fellow mom?
And who can see, who remembers us better than God?
In the midst of motherhood we are never alone. In the ups and downs. In the love. In the efforts that no one sees, in the endless hours of endless care we are seen, we are cared for, we are loved.
As mothers we are wholly invested, fully and completely bonded to our children. Of course there are times when it doesn’t feel this way. There are times when this doesn’t come easy, but none of that changes a mother’s love.
It is this love and bond that makes it possible for a sixty-year-old mother to remember exactly what time of day her son took a nap.
It is this love and bond that makes a mom willing to give up sleep, privacy, and church service to meet the needs of her infant or toddler.
It is this love and bond that reflects Christ and His love for us.
So mamas, let’s look for ways to encourage one another. (You are awesome by the way.)
Let’s remember it’s okay to ask for help. (Anyone know how to get your five-year-old daughter to stop watching Frozen?)
Let’s take comfort in the fact that we are never alone. (I, for one, am here for you.)
Because a mama never forgets. (And neither does our God.)