The sisterhood of motherhood – I love that new phrase coined by the new Similac commercial (have you seen it?). Motherhood can be lonely and isolating if women are not careful. I have seen how important it is to build a community for myself to know that anything I face, I am not alone.

I am in several mothers’ groups, keep in contact with friends through various stages of my life that now have children, and am involved with my niece and nephews. There are so many parenting philosophies and ideas that it makes my head spin. However, there is one thing that every single parent of young children has in common. I have seen it far and wide. It crosses borders and causes solidarity to those who are facing it. Every mother of young children is EXHAUSTED.

I thought I was tired in college. I would stay up watching movies with my roommate or hurriedly write a paper that was due in the morning. The next day I would nap, by myself, for however long I wanted. Oh, the envy I feel for college me! Then, I became a teacher and my days were filled with lesson planning, grading, working with students, handling parents, running clubs, AND trying to keep a social life. I thought I was tired then. I would go to bed at 8:30 and think, “poor me.” What a delight it would be now to go to bed at 8:30 and wake up at 6:00!

I remember telling my husband shortly after my daughter was born how amazing I thought it was that I could still fully (okay, maybe partially) function on such little sleep. I naively thought that would only last for the infant days. However, my daughter was two and a half before she finally slept through the night consistently – then I had a new infant. I have not had a full night’s sleep in four years.

What is it about toddlers that they think they will miss something if they sleep? I feel for the babies that are going through teething and growth spurts and all the craziness of the new world they entered, but the toddlers should grasp the idea that sleep is awesome. Yet, they fight it.

No matter how frustrated I get with my children fighting glorious sleep, the moment they are asleep melts my heart. It doesn’t matter how many times I have seen them sleep, it is a brand new experience every time. The flutter of the eyelids, the deep breathing, their total oblivion of the world around them, and if I am lucky, the sweet sleep laughter – it all combines into one lovely, beautiful snapshot in time.

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Yes, dear sisters, some day we will sleep again. Maybe never as well as we used to pre-kids but it will come. Until then, let’s embrace the sleeping victories and remember we are in this together. No woman is on an island alone (though, wow, that sounds fantastic right now).

Much love,