When You’re Stuck in a Season
Everyone always tells you about the different “season of life” you’re in, especially when you’re a mom. “Oh, this season? Just wait…it’ll pass before you know it.” But when you’re stuck in one of those seasons for more than a year, it’s very easy to start losing your ever-loving mind.
I was stuck in the I’m-never-going-to-sleep-through-the-night-again season for a year and a half. (It was honestly longer than that, but I’m not counting all the middle-of-the-night pee breaks when I was pregnant. For 18 months, my child would not sleep through the night. Worse than that, she would scream bloody murder if I didn’t go in there. I’m not kidding—her scream, even as a newborn, rattled nurses and doctors, because it had that blood-curdling ring to it.
Before I put all the blame on my toddler, I know I was to blame, too. I know that I kept giving into her and going in there instead of waiting 10 or 15 minutes for her to sooth herself. I know that, but when it happens multiple times in the middle of the night, you can’t think straight. My maternal instinct told me to get my sleepy tired butt up, get in there, and sooth her.
I wasn’t necessarily like that with my firstborn. Nope. We did a sleep training method with her (which was hard, and there were many tears from both of us), but it totally worked. (*My husband remembers it differently, and that I was the one with more tears, but we really did get back on track pretty quickly.) Our stubborn second child, on the other hand, didn’t want to have any of it. She wanted the attention and loving, and I gave into her every single time.
Until I got pregnant again, and decided that enough was enough; the no-sleep season was officially over. One night after a particular exhausting week, I closed the door to her room, walked the five feet to our room, and closed our door. Then I did something I’ve never done before in my three years of parenting: I turned off the monitor, and put on some white noise for myself. Low and behold, I slept that night. It turns out that she did, too. It took a few days, but her screaming—and I do mean I’m-going-to-die wailing—dwindled a little bit each night.
And the most beautiful thing about it is that we both actually started sleeping at night. (Granted, I was in my first trimester, so I still got up a couple of times at night, but I’ll take a pee season over a hysterically crying baby season any night.)
I can write about this now, because we’re out of the thick of it, and have been for about six months. That season—as long and as tiring as it was—passed. It took some tough love from my husband, and family, but now that it’s over and I’m sleeping again, I can see clearly now.
If you’re in the middle of a hard season, I hope it’ll pass quickly for you. And if it lingers around for longer than you’d like (and if it’s treatable and won’t harm you or your child, of course), maybe find some people around you to confide in and who will give you some of that tough love. Just remember: this too, shall pass.
This is the hardest thing to hear when you’re in the middle of the season. My daughter screamed the same way you’re describing up until about 1 year. It was SO hard. I wanted to cry (and did) most nights. It was so hard to hear people say that it would pass because they couldn’t tell me when. Some would say, “Oh, by 6 months she”ll be able to put herself to sleep.” And then others would say, “I had to rock mine to sleep until she was 2!” And then there were those who would say, “Every baby is different. Just enjoy your baby.” But the thing is that it’s hard to enjoy them when she’s screaming all night and much of the day. It’s hard to hear when you don’t know what’s wrong with your child or you. But now that we’re out of the woods, I can look back and realize that it didn’t last that long even though it felt like eternity. I think support is what is most helpful to moms. Just knowing that they have someone there who will help when they need it. And I’m speaking from experience because I moved away from all my family and friends when my daughter was 3 months old (USAF spouse too!) Those moments when we did have our family with us to help I felt so much better. It was a hard year, but my husband and I are much better people because of it.
I love that you said you can write about it now- now that the season has passed. I’m the same way. I can hardly ever write about the season I’m in when I’m in the midst. But after, I’ve gained the wisdom from it and can them bless others. From a fellow mama (of six!), I thank you!
What a great message at the end of this post. I was expecting this post to relate to just parents (I am not one yet), but you’re so right; this can apply to any “season” that one might be going through. This too shall pass, indeed.
I am in a no-sleep season right now and this was such a great reminder that while it’s hard right now it won’t last forever! Thank you for this!!
You are so right and thank you for sharing this. I always try to remember things are only for a season and cling to that fact as I truck along.
Not sleeping has such an impact on our lives. It is so hard to take care of ourselves, let alone others, when we are running on very little sleep.
I love your observation that sometimes when we’re in a season we’re not happy with, there IS something we can do about it. I feel like so many people just brush it off as a season of life that will evaporate on it’s own eventually without stopping to think what THEY could do differently. Certainly some seasons really are there for awhile and there’s nothing we can do to get rid of them, but I firmly believe there is ALWAYS something we can do to make our situation better
We’re in the “our toddler never sleeps the full night in his crib and moves to our bed” season. It’s our fault, we know but Lance’s schedule was crazy and then I got pregnant and sleep won over everything else but now with baby coming weMre kind of regretting giving into it all year ?