The struggles of sleep deprivation are temporary, but the joy of parenting is forever.

The following are a series of articles writte by http://www.engagedmarriage.com. The use of such info is for my own benefit.

However, the birth of a new child offers a unique challenge to parents. Newborn babies rarely sleep through the night for several weeks, and there’s really nothing that you can do to avoid waking up to feed the little angels every few hours…without exception.

1. God feels the same about us as we feel about our children.

2. God is crazy about us and wants the best for us, even when it is not obvious.

If you have children, then you have surely experienced life in the frazzled, drowsy, confusing state of sleep deprivation. You know what it’s like to live as a zombie parent!

3. God wants us to share and be kind to those we encounter.

4. God gives us free will & allows us to fail, but He hopes we learn our own way.

5. God’s love never ceases.

6. God is forgiving beyond our understanding.

7. God strives to give us the best possible direction, but we must choose to follow it.

5 Tips for Dealing With a Lack of Sleep

As you may know, we welcomed our third child (Avery) into our family less than two weeks ago, so I’m right in the middle of life with little sleep. However, as my experience living as a undead new parent has grown, I’ve found some great ways to cope with a lack of sleep.

Next time you’re faced with sleepless nights, try these tips to keep your head in the game.

1. Team Up

If you want to maintain your sanity and avoid total burn-out, it’s really important that you share the demands of parenting a new baby (and any other children you already have). This is a time when you can serve your spouse by stepping up and being fully involved in the child-rearing duties, especially those that happen under the cover of night.

In our house, that means that I do all of the overnight diaper-changing and then hand off to my wife to feed our newborn. This split in responsibilities helps my wife get a little more sleep but, more importantly, it demonstrates that I’m willing to do what I can to help care for our baby and “be there” as a husband and father…even at night.

By the way, single parents simply amaze me, and these experiences make me more aware than ever that Moms in general are incredible. There’s no way I could handle the demands of parenting a new baby on my own, and I applaud anyone who has been through it.

2. Back Off

If you’re like most of us, you lead a very busy life that keeps you hopping between responsibilities inside and outside of your home. During the most stressful first few weeks of your new baby’s life, you should step away from optional commitments as much as possible. Your church groups, civic organizations and your softball buddies will surely understand that this is a time to focus on your family and spend your time and energy at home.

For me, that’s meant a little less time writing here at Engaged Marriage, missing a meeting at the Knights of Columbus council where I am usually quite active, and taking a week off of work to be home and get to know our new daughter. It can be tough to unplug, but there is simply no way to get these special moments with your new baby back once they’ve passed.

3. Exercise Your Body & Your Brain

It may seem counter-intuitive to use up your precious energy by exercising. However, there is simply no better way to relieve stress and give your body a boost than by following a regular workout routine before and after the arrival of your new baby.

I know that very new moms are limited in their ability to exercise, but many can take an easy walk depending on their health status. If physical activity is out of the question, it can really be helpful to simply “exercise your mind” by taking a little time to read, solve puzzles and just stimulate your brain a bit.

This is been a real lifesaver for me over the past two weeks. It’s tough to find the time, but the regime I follow only takes 30 minutes to complete, it has a lot of variety to keep it interesting, and I can do it at home.

Most days, I’ll take our two older kids downstairs with me while my wife stays with Avery. The kids only need to stay clear of an about 6-foot by 6-foot area where I workout, and my son actually likes to join me for some of the moves!

4. Embrace Help

In most cases, new babies invite lots of interest and offers of help from friends and family. You should gratefully accept the assistance of your loved ones, and take advantage of their help, as it will keep your energy levels up.

Plus, it will make your family and friends feel like part of your newborn’s life, which they’ll love!

Bethany and I have been blessed to have several friends bring over delicious meals for our family since we arrived home from the hospital. Not only does this save us the time, energy and money of buying groceries and preparing meals for ourselves, but we really enjoy the short visits that come along with the food drop-offs.

5. Smile

Above all else, always keep in mind the reason behind your fatigue and lack of sleep. Remember that all of this sacrifice is needed to care for a precious gift from God.

The struggles of sleep deprivation are temporary, but the joy of parenting is forever.

Sure, Avery is costing us some sleep and probably adding a few gray hairs in the process, but there is simply no better way to spend our time and energy than caring for such a beautiful child.

We are blessed to be parents, three times over, even if we do sometimes feel like zombies in the process.

It Gets Easier. Right?

Life as a young, busy family can be downright tough sometimes.

Here’s a scenario that any couple with small children can probably relate to…and I know we can because it’s a true (and completely typical) story for us from just last weekend.

One Hour, Two Thirty-Somethings, Three Small Children

Bethany and I are standing at the start of Mass at our church, confident that the kids are finally under control.

It’s been a long Sunday filled with lots of playing, cooking, feeding, driving, disciplining, doctoring, explaining, reading, loving, yelling, celebrating, stressing, enjoying and being…together as a family. We’re certainly ready for some spiritual renewal.

The first five minutes have been a welcome respite, as the kids were distracted by the church musicians’ practice and were (kinda) quiet.

Then, just as Mass gets underway, comes the shrill, whiney “BRADENNNNN” from the mouth of our 4-year-old daughter Kendall to pierce the relative silence.

Braden has decided at this point in his life that he MUST have a green crayon. No, unlike his little sister, he is not coloring. But that green crayon is his or at least he NEEDS it right now. Right now.

This isn’t our first rodeo, so Braden and Kendall are quickly separated to stand on either side of us.

Kendall gets her crayon back, Braden makes a (loud) appeal for keeping it, while our priest prays and appears to do a good job of ignoring that rude family in the third pew. Braden relinquishes and is convinced through stern, not-so-quiet whispers from Mommy that this would be an excellent time to be quiet, turn around and respect God by paying attention.

For at least 5 seconds, calm ensued as if by Divine Intervention. It was heavenly.

Then it was 11-month-old Avery’s turn. She’s got an ear infection, so she rightfully requires some extra love and attention.

And she’s had plenty of it since I’ve been holding her the entire time with one arm, while policing the previous fight with the other.

Well, apparently being held, pulling my hair, periodically screeching like a rabid monkey, slobbering on me, arching her back away from me so as to maximize stress on my lower back, and kicking me in such a way as to discourage any future siblings isn’t enough.

It’s time to cry!

This is one of those resonating, inconsolable cries that everyone notices. It even earns a look from our priest, and he’s pretty numb to such interruptions.

It’s at this time that the beads of sweat start to form on my forehead and my ears feel like they’re on fire as I’m sure the 300 people behind me are all staring at me wondering why I’m such a lousy father.

This is also the time that Braden decides it would be a swell idea to crawl under the pew, kicking the back of my knees in the process and nearly causing me to tumble.

As she sees my temper flaring, Bethany motions for the hand-off.

I give her screaming Avery so she can bail to the church foyer and end that madness. Meanwhile, I wipe my forehead and look down…to see Braden waving a green crayon in Kendall’s face. Her breath is held tight, mouth turned down and I can practically see the steam coming from her ears.

She’s gonna blow!

And so it goes for the next 50 minutes, off and on, between moments of true joy like genuine hugs and kisses between all of our family members during the Sign of Peace to many more moments of stress, frustration and a bit of physical pain.

It’s just another Sunday afternoon for the Riechmann family.

It Gets Easier

After Mass is over and we’re gathering up our things, a sweet older lady makes the point of walking up to Bethany and telling her how cute our kids are.

Naturally, it’s hard to accept such kind words at a time when you’re not sure if your children are possessed by demons, but a polite smile and a “thank you” was reciprocated.

But this lady had a bit of wisdom to share. She smiled very knowingly and said, “Don’t worry, honey. It’s tough with small children. But it gets easier.”

One comment

  1. Pingback: La Sagrada Familia | Mkt Student

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