Friday, January 28, 2011

Night Time Parenting


Night time parenting is one of those hard things to embrace.  It brings about images of crying babies, sick children, and heartache. 

When our babies are born, we work so hard to get them to sleep through the night.  Even friends and family who greet the baby from time to time ask us, “How is she sleeping?”  The pressure comes… especially upon those of us who do not have sleep-through-the-night babies.  You start to feel like a failure.  You wonder what you are doing wrong.  Is there something wrong with my child?  Then the question is asked, “Do you have her on a schedule?”  Yep, she’s on a schedule.  You start to evaluate all of your tactics.  Where is the loophole?

My daughter started sleeping through the night around two months.  It felt so good.  I felt so good.  Life seemed to feel good.  About a month later, things went awry.  She got a cold… She started rolling over continually…  She was sleeping in the same room with us… Various factors were encouraging this girl to wake up multiple times in the night, and it wasn’t easy.  I didn’t feel like such a great parent any more.  I started to wonder why I couldn’t get my act together after four babies!  Even now, with my daughter at seven months old, we are still trying to help her sleep better at night.  She is still waking up  multiple times.  It is terribly exhausting, to be honest. 

In the mean time, I have thought about the subject and realize that night time parenting is definitely part of parenting.  Baby sleep aside, we are called to be parents 24/7.  When our kids need us, we are there – or at least we should be there.  When our infants grow up, they still need us at night.  They wet their beds.  They have nightmares.  They get sick with fevers and vomiting.  They wake up, just missing us.

Then our children grow up and want to stay up later.  They want to talk.  They want to be alone, with us, without other children around.  A friend of mine told me about the value of the night hours with her teens – how that was the time when her kids would open up and be vulnerable.  She would lose sleep, but gain her children’s hearts – time to have valuable discussion and connect.

As parents we need grace and endurance to run the race that is set before us – even at night.  Yes, your children will grow up… but even when they are adults, they may still call you – at night – for some counsel or a shoulder to cry on.

Night time parenting… it’s part of life!


  1. This is so true! I was never good when my babies woke in the night, once I fall asleep, i fell hard! But you are right, night time is still parenting time..we still have to be our best for them. Its also true about even as adults. I remember I needed my mom at about 4am. My oldest had been sick for a long time and it was just him and I. I didnt sleep and I had an awful headache and I just called her. I was afraid to wake her but she was so good to me, supportive with loving words at 4am! Encouraging!

    Great post!

  2. I needed to read this! Ours are 3&4 and we still are woken up on a fairly regular basis from an accident in bed or a nightmare, and it's easy for me to get frusterated when I'm so tired. I need to remember of course I'm still a parent even at 3 am, and I need to use God's grace to handle these times. Thanks for this!