What are You Willing to Sacrifice for Tomorrow?

What are You Willing to Sacrifice for Tomorrow?

As a mother of six, reflecting on my 22 years of motherhood, I’ve had many successes and struggles. In most areas, I have no regrets because there were lessons learned through the rough times, too. Over the last 22 years, I’ve worked full-time and part-time, been an at-home mom, a homeschooling mom, a serial entrepreneur, author, speaker, and an avid volunteer – lots of room for accomplishments and failures, ultimately leading to where I am today. However, there is one thing I would change. If I had a magic wand and could start over again, I would prioritize my sleep. Despite hearing the advice to “sleep when the baby sleeps,” I often neglected my rest, not realizing its profound impact on every aspect of my life. 

It started innocently enough. I was awake pumping, and the house quietly serenaded me like a siren. Maybe I’d put on a TV show while I folded clothes and end up staying up an extra hour. Then I would look forward to it, and I couldn’t wait for the house to quiet down again so I could enjoy the silence. One thing the movie promo has right is “Silence is golden.” However, I was oblivious to the side effects of the lack of sleep. For me, lack of sleep led to unhealthy eating habits, which led to weight gain, decreased productivity, and impatience. Sometimes, I struggled to keep up with daily tasks and felt worn out and unfulfilled, which led to more satiating through food.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my life, my husband, my children, my community, my business, and I wouldn’t change any of that. There are numerous great days and memories during my motherhood journey and much frustration. Both can coincide. Over the course of my self-care journey, I started listening to audiobooks on various topics and listened to several that offered great insights into the importance of sleep. Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker and The Sleep Solution by Dr. Christopher Winter were life-changing. I learned by whom and when melatonin should be used and practical suggestions to improve sleep hygiene, making this seemingly impossible task of getting enough sleep manageable. 

I get it; believe me, I get the allure of a silent house and how impossible it seems to shift bedtimes. Eventually, I decided to prioritize sleep, and life started to change. I discovered a quiet house at the beginning of my day when I am alert and refreshed, which is even better!  I was more productive and emotionally balanced. People noticed and complimented me on my poise and patience. I found it easier to stick with my goals and was happier. 

Now, I aim to be upstairs by 10 pm, giving myself ample time to wind down after a long day and be in bed by 11 pm. Waking up around 7 AM allows me to start my day by engaging in activities that nourish my mind, body, and soul. Because I’m striving for progress, not perfection, my goal is an early (for me) bedtime five nights a week. I limit my late nights to two a week because while I want to connect with my teens or have other obligations, I understand the importance of setting boundaries and prioritizing self-care. 

The kicker is that most of us understand the importance of sleep for our baby’s developing brain. Some of us will do calisthenics or reject appealing offers to ensure optimal nap and bedtimes. Yet, we erroneously believe we are somehow immune to the dangers of a lack of sleep.

By sharing my experience, I hope to empower other moms to prioritize their sleep and avoid the mistakes I made from a lack of knowledge. Sleep isn’t just crucial for our current well-being but for long-term health, too. There are studies linking a lack of sleep to dementia. According to the National Institute of Health, “Studies have suggested that sleep patterns earlier in life may contribute to later dementia risk. Both insufficient sleep and sleeping longer than average have been linked to a greater likelihood of developing dementia.”

I look forward to seeing as many future grandchildren as possible and want to remember myself and them when that time comes. Ensuring I get enough sleep today is a small sacrifice for a brighter, healthier future—for ourselves and our loved ones. Good night, and here’s to many more restful nights ahead.


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