Four months before its October 2011 publication date, Adam Mansbach's for-adults-only picture book, Go the [Expletive] to Sleep, is already a bestseller and viral hit on Amazon. Looking through the preview pages online, I immediately understood the book's appeal. With soothing rhymes and colorful illustrations at odds with its explicit language, the book captures the short-tempered weariness of parents desperate for their little ones to depart for dreamland, but thwarted by night-magnified fears and repeated requests for water, hugs, or a favorite toy.

I have friends who cherish bedtime as a chance to reconnect with their kids over a good book. Me? I just want to get it over with. I'm tired. I'm cranky. I want to climb into my own bed with my own good book. As Adam S. McHugh explored on his Introverted Church blog last week, the constant interaction of parenting can be particularly exhausting for introverts like me. God, in his infinite humor, blessed me with three extroverted children who process everything through talk (and talk and talk and talk, often while draping their bodies all over mine). By bedtime, I crave space and quiet as fiercely as a thirsty person craves water.

To state the obvious, being a parent is both a great gift and really, really hard. The sacrifices of parenthood take a measurable toll on parents' happiness and health. A study in the journal Pediatrics found that young mothers, so focused on their children's incessant needs, get less exercise, eat less-healthy diets, and have higher body mass indexes than childless peers. And last year a popular New York magazine article summarized research revealing that parents tend to be less happy than adults without children.

We worship a God who sacrificed himself ...

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