07/17/2014 05:47 pm ET Updated Sep 16, 2014

Lessons Learned From an All-Nighter With My Kids

Leslie Blanche

I got NO sleep last night. Seriously -- no sleep. Both my kids were up and down all night long. At first I was pretty upset about the whole situation. I don't typically curse, but I let a few choice words slip while climbing out of bed for the third time.

After a while I gave up on the pipe-dream of sleep. I made a nest on the floor of my daughter's room and we cuddled there for a while. I rubbed her back, she had one hand on my cheek and put her face very close to mine. After a while she drifted off to sleep, murmuring something about no puppies in the hallway. Once she was out I was called to duty in the baby's room. I rocked him for a while, watching his sweet little face. His brow would furrow and then relax, his lips would move -- dreaming of milk, I'm sure.

Around 5:00 a.m. they were both sleeping peacefully, so I attempted to get a little shut eye. As I drifted off, I was thinking about how sweet and innocent my children are. I crashed with a smile on my face.

This afternoon, through my coffee-fueled energy, I recognize that the tough night taught me a few valuable lessons.

  1. Sometimes kids just want to be held close. There was nothing wrong with either child last night. No fevers, no ouchies, not even hunger pangs -- they just wanted me. The day will come when they don't want my hugs. Until then I'll take all the cuddles and kisses I can get, even at 2:00 a.m..
  2. It doesn't matter what happens in the night, by the time the sun is up everything is new again. Even after a rough night, both kids woke up smiling. They were so happy to see me that I almost forgot I was dead tired... almost. Their happiness is contagious, though, and I was smiling right along with them.
  3. I am very thankful for educational cartoons and DVRs. Super Why saved me this morning. I don't often resort to TV as a distraction, but this morning I really needed that extra half hour to really wake up. The three of us cuddled on the couch and played along as the Super Readers figured out why Wyatt's family was sneaking around the house.
  4. Watching my kids play is the best form of entertainment. The baby army crawled back and forth trying to get ahold of anything his big sister was playing with, smiling and giggling the whole time. She did her part by littering the floor with every toy in the room, all while wearing a tiara, butterfly wings and a tutu.
  5. I have tremendous respect for stay-at-home moms. I don't know how I would make it through a full day with my kids after a night like that. This morning I was glad to drop them at daycare and settle into my quiet office. Although I'm a little bummed because I now have a late afternoon consultation that will eat in to my family fun time.

When it's all said and done, I wouldn't want to do that every night. However, it went by fast and thinking of all the extra snuggles puts a smile on my face. Being a mom is pretty great -- even when it is really tough.