To this day I don't know just how it happened.
She was the most adorable baby girl you've ever seen and I was beside myself with gratefulness for her.
First there was her big brother who was very busy and all of 18 months old. Then there was this tiny pink thing. My very own sweetheart.
She was beautiful alright, but not the greatest sleeper. She wanted to nurse all night long and it took some of the fun out of it, if you know what I mean?
So I'd been doing this all-night party thing for several weeks when I started getting delirious. A little loco. One night I found myself walking with her in circles until 2 am when finally....at last...got the baby darling to sleep. I gently tucked her in bed and quietly crawled in next to my sound-out husband.
And collapsed into a deep sleep.
For about 12 whole minutes.
That's when I heard her soft cries starting up again. I roused myself and leaned over the white, lacey crib and I....well, I screamed. Something like this: Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!
My poor husband bolted upright in bed, immediately on high-alert. "What is going on here?!"
I stared at him wide-eyed---nearly as shocked as he was. Disbelief at what I'd done. Ashamed and embarrassed.
"I dunno, Honey. I guess I kinda...snapped."
And so her daddy tenderly picked up our baby-doll and took over where I left off. But as he left the room, he gently admonished,
"Hey, don't let yourself get in that place again, okay?"
Ah yes, That Place.
I can assure you that I never intended to "get there".
Since then - four boys and four girls later - I've been learning how to avoid getting to That Place.
Here are a few tips on how to restore your soul when you feel like you're losing your mind.
A mix of spiritual, physical, and just plain practical ways to keep from yelling into the baby's crib and other crazy-mama moments:
1) Get the rest you require. Make it a high priority because it can make all the difference. Sleep deprivation is a terrible thing. Go to bed early or take a nap. Ask friends or family to take over and curl up in a quiet place. Get serious about getting some sleep.
2) Do this in Christ's strength. Not your own. Don't convince yourself that "I" can do this, but minister in His power rather than your own. Place Bible verses around the house, sing praises, and pray as you go throughout your day. Motherhood is a spiritual endeavor.
3) Don't neglect your own needs. Sometimes a mom gets so busy she forgets to eat right, to shower, and even go to the bathroom. She forgets to love with her husband or talk to a good friend. My dear, how can you fill up your child's heart if yours is on empty?
4) Be willing to ask for help. At first it felt rather stupid and weak, but I figured it was better than a break down. So one older lady folded clothes for me. Another teen girl came over to play with the children. We even sacrificed for a season and had a cleaning lady come in.
It's been 18 years since I yelled into the crib. That baby girl is now a lovely young lady and I asked if she remembered me losing it with her. She put her arms around me and said she only remembers snuggling together, reading stories aloud, and splashing in mud puddles.
And I'm beside myself with gratefulness. My very own sweetheart.
How about you? What kinds of things do you do to restore your soul? I hope you'll share with us!
For more encouragement, check out From Grouchy to Great: Finding Joy in the Journey of Motherhood. It's a daily devotional with discussion questions to encourage you as a mom. Grab a journal and study through it by yourself, or gather some girlfriends and study together!
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