Dealing with Great Expectations (of a Full Night’s Sleep)

Expectations surround us. We expect things of others, of nature, of ourselves. Other expect things of us. Many times expectations are reasonable. Most of the time they are met.

The sun rises. The chair holds our weight. Husband comes home from work. The internet stays connected. Baby falls asleep.

Expectations are a necessary part of life. Imagine what life would be like if we paused each time before sitting down to fully test the chair’s ability to hold our weight. Or constantly tested the ceiling strength to make sure it didn’t cave in on us. Or tried to will our heart to pump blood. We become conditioned to the way the world works, and expect it to continue working the same way.

photo by Gareth Weeks

However, expectations aren’t always met. Sometimes I find myself unconsciously expecting motherhood to be easy. It’s not. I think “homemaker” is the best career ever, but it’s not easy. Babies aren’t born mindful of their mothers’ sleep needs. Toddlers don’t come preprogrammed to share, ask nicely or go potty in the potty chair. Nobody said motherhood was supposed to be easy. Choosing to bring a life into the world means choosing sacrifice. Choosing to sacrifice time, money, personal time and, in a very real sense, our bodies as we raise up our children.

What’s wrong with expecting at least six hours of uninterrupted sleep? Nothing. If you don’t have an infant, sick children or an odd work schedule.

Have you ever noticed how much expectations affect attitudes?

Daisy is an angel baby and sleeps well at night, most of the time. Then there are those nights. If I crawl into bed at 10:00 expecting to roll out of bed in the morning rested and ready to start the day and baby gets up three times and the toddler wakes up an hour early, it’s easy to get upset. To think that somehow I was robbed of sleep I should have had.

If, on the other hand, I go to bed embracing my calling as mother to small children, knowing that this stage of life often calls for a sacrifice of sleep, then getting up with them is much easier. I still might be groggy, but I didn’t expect six solid hours of sleep. Choosing instead to trust in God’s plan for my night.

Life is full of trials, petty and big. Instead of expecting the road to be always easy, expect God to give the grace to handle the road He’s picked.

Linked up at Proverbs 31 Thursday

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Comments

    • anna says

      Thanks my friend, but you should see us trying to get out the door for library time! The *one* time recently I did think things were going perfectly smoothly, Rose called me over to the dryer to inform me that my huge batch of whites were all spotted blue (thanks for the crayon Will!) 🙂

  1. says

    I recall nannieing for S’s a couple years ago. Since we were taking care of the baby, we never got to sleep straight through the night. I certainly learned that it has to be His strength that gets you through the next day taking care of six other children and the baby. And now I can fully sympathize with all you mommies in your lack of sleep. 🙂
    I completely agree that expectations can be a big problem when we let them dictate to us. :} Not just in sleep either. 🙂

    Perhaps Will had heard of the famous “blueing” from long ago and thought a blue crayon would do instead. 😀

  2. Nina says

    Thanks so much for this post – on a morning where I am very groggy from getting to bed a touch too late, and then my 2 year old waking at 4am as she was hungry, and my other 2 waking just after 5am, I really very needed this. So often my expectations let me down and them I am disappointed, whereas if I just lower my expectations and trust the Lord for everything, I would not be so cranky! Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

    • anna says

      Oh Nina- I feel your pain (or should I say grogginess!) I’m so sorry. My aunt said something recently that really encourage me, “God doesn’t give us what we can handle, He gives us trials that His grace can sustain us through.”

      Hoping you get a much better night tonight!

  3. Kasey says

    You nailed it! Our greatest disappointments often come when our best laid plains get turned upside down. I’m a girl that needs my sleep. So God gave me 7 children that I might realize I’m really just a mother that needs my Lord!

    • anna says

      “Just a mother that needs my Lord!” Amen to that Kasey. So often when I go to bed thinking, “I really need sleep tonight,” it will be a night full of interruptions and the next day I have to constantly pray for grace—even though I still fail and get grouchy.

  4. Lyndsay says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post!!! I know that it is an older post but I am so glad that God led me to it. I have three small children. My baby is 8 mths old but does not sleep through the night and she still nurses almost as much as she did when she was first born. It’s so tiring and trying but I really do enjoy it! It is amazing how God gives me energy throughout my day to accomplish all that is set before me. But this last week has been tough and I was getting very discouraged that I was not getting much sleep at night. I needed to be encouraged and well kicked in the rear a little 🙂

    • anna says

      Oh Lyndsay! I’m so sorry and can so relate. There have been times when I’ve wondered if I’ll *ever* be rested again. But, as you said, God is good and will always give us His grace! Praying that as you rest in Him, He’ll give you more sleep.

  5. says

    And then if you do get the sleep, you feel amazing! I just had my first night of continuous sleep since our baby was born, and having the expectation of getting up and not having to was wonderful! Thank you for this reminder, though, it’s SO very true 🙂

  6. says

    “Choosing instead to trust in God’s plan for my night.” This is so true. Thank you for this post, it comes at the right time as I readjust my expectations of motherhood after struggling with lots of unrealistic ones. Thank you!

    • anna says

      “Readjusting expectations” and putting them in Christ where they belong—it seems like so much of life involves that!

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