Have you ever had them? The physical ones, I mean. I don’t remember ever having them as a child.
My firstborn is very tall for her age, and when she hit her big growth spurt (4-7 years old) she sprouted up so fast that her muscles couldn’t keep up with her bones, so we spent many nights dealing with growing pains.
At first I thought she was just looking for an excuse to get out of bed. They only hit at night and I was a young and exhausted mama of two. My husband remembers having them when he was a child and helped me to see them for what they were.
I’m not one to give my kids Tylenol for every little thing. I figure if it’s not good for my liver, it can’t be good for theirs. So we just save it for emergencies. Those first nights of crying from the muscle pain definitely qualified as an emergency! Thankfully she moved past that stage, and now only has them every-once-in-a-while.
As I am writing this, it is almost 4 am. I’ve been up with my second-born for the past 3 hours. She is seven, and experiencing growing pains. I’ve come a long way from when I dealt with my first’s muscle pain. I’m no longer unnecessarily angry for being woken up. I’ve also learned more natural ways to deal with them.
First we spray on some magnesium oil. Then I do an essential oil/coconut oil blend that helps with pain and inflammation. I feed her a banana and some water. Then it’s into the tub with Epson salts and lavender. Back out of the tub and some calming chamomile tea to help her stay warm and relax. More magnesium oil and essential oils. Then back to bed with a heating pad under her bottom sheet to keep those muscles warm so they have a better chance to relax. All this is mixed in with some calming music, prayer, rubbing of the back, stroking of the hair, and lots of “I love you” and “I’m so sorry this is happening, but I know you will feel better soon”.
I feel guilty for the way I reacted to my first’s growing pains. I just didn’t know! I guess I needed to do some growing myself. I’m just thankful that she was too young to remember my first reactions. And that I learned more and got better methods in place for her and her siblings.
We as mothers are such an amazing source of comfort to our little ones, aren’t we? Just the other day my 3-year-old fell and bit his lip. Daddy was in the room, I was across the house, who do you think he wanted to go to? Yep, it was mama. Even though his daddy has the same amount of love for him and would do exactly the same thing to care for him (look at the lip, wipe the blood, get some ice, hug and hold until he felt better), he wanted mama.
In the Bible it talks about God wanting to comfort His children “as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings” (Matt 23:37). It seems that females really do have the superpower of comfort. We are such comfortable and nourishing creatures.
That doesn’t mean it’s easy, or even feels natural sometimes. Ok, it can not feel natural a lot of the time. Maybe sometimes you do it with clenched teeth, forcing yourself to put your child’s needs ahead of yours even though your needs are just as real and pressing as theirs. I think it takes going through some growing pains of your own before you feel like you are really doing it well. Maybe you will still clench your teeth through it, even after you are more “seasoned”. That’s ok. You are still doing it! It’s hard work.
I’m talking about those moments when you’re up in the middle of the night and your baby just wants to comfort nurse or be held close to you, even though he has been fed, burped, and changed and should be ready to go back to sleep. You are so tired. You need sleep! And yet you spend your time holding and patting and rocking so your baby will feel that closeness that he needs. You are amazing!
And what about when you are 8 months pregnant with one child and the older child has a bug and there is vomit all over the top bunk. You clean that child up (maybe you’re gagging the whole time, but you do it). You put the kid in a warm bath, give them a bowl, and tackle that nasty bed. All the time trying to work around your huge belly. You don’t know how you do it, but you do! You stay up with that child until the nausea has passed, get them warm jammies, and tuck them back into a fresh bed. You are so strong and so amazing!
Giving comfort really is a superpower! Your child will come to you for it long past these two examples that I have given you. When she is bullied by someone at school. When she has her first heartbreak. When she is a grown adult and has a miscarriage. You are the mama; you are amazing at helping wounds heal with just a kiss, a touch, a kind word.
I think we can all think back to a time when we received comfort and it was impactful. Or a time when we really needed it and didn’t get it. That was impactful, too.
I guess I just want to rejoice in you mamas and how amazing you are. I want you to see the power you have. And even though sometimes it is so hard to do, keep comforting those babies! It leaves a lasting impact on their lives.
P.S. I’m not saying that men aren’t good at providing comfort, so please don’t take this post that way! Since this blog is mostly directed towards mothers, I am focusing on the female side of it. Lord knows, I run to my hubby for comfort quite often. And so do my children! There is just something special about being “Mommy”. There are a lot of special things about it. ❤️
“ Give praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He is the Father who gives tender love. All comfort comes from him. He comforts us in all our troubles. Now we can comfort others when they are in trouble. We ourselves receive comfort from God. .” 2 Cor 1:3-4