I didn’t sleep well, I tossed and turned and kept replaying an altercation I had yesterday over and over in my mind. Does anyone else do that?
I won’t name names, but my eldest was being a huge pain yesterday morning. He actually cried over having to finish the second helping he begged for at breakfast (I knew he wouldn’t eat it). I sent him to his room for 9 minutes (his age- learned that important parenting tip while scrolling on Pinterest ignoring my kids one day), then I doubled his time for the crying (wailing). Then the crying became a complete breakdown, “Eight-sob-teen-sob-minutes-sob-is a looooong-sob-time” Then I sat here at my kitchen table, and the thing happened, the mom guilt. I started thinking about how tired he must be, which makes everyone (ahem) more emotional and reactive. I began feeling guilty over letting him stay up late the night before. They were being good and I wasn’t feeling up to the bedtime hustle.
Seriously. That’s mom guilt. The kid needed a timeout, and he’d get over it. Why do we question every move we make? Where is our confidence. I don’t know if it’s anxiety or normal mom stuff, but I don’t have that. It’s the constant, “Am I doing enough? Are they happy enough? Do they get too much screen time? Are they too sheltered? Are they assholes? Does anyone know where we keep the laundry soap if something happens to me?”
Anyway, back to the kitchen table, I let him wail like that for maybe two minutes. I went into his room and sat on his bed for another minute or so until he calmed down enough to listen. I told him there were kids in his class who wouldn’t have breakfast today, who look forward to going back to school Monday to get a good meal. I told him that is a really good reason to cry. I told him some kids don’t have their own mom and dad around to scream at, and that is worth crying about. I told him about the little boy in Lebo who just died of cancer and won’t see Halloween or Christmas, and his parents will have to endure those holidays without him, and that is totally worth a complete breakdown. I told him this world can be a scary, sad, unfair place and we have as many reasons to cry as he could imagine, but too much bacon isn’t one of them.
He calmed down and got quiet. I walked out of his room feeling like maybe I got through to him. Then the thing happened. The guilt thing. Oh no, I shouldn’t have said all that. I shouldn’t get him upset and worried about that stuff. I should let him stay in his own little world, where second helpings are upsetting, and life is mostly effin amazing.
This was the cause of my insomnia. This is the reason for writing a complete freakin book on Facebook about a ten minute parenting encounter that I may have rocked or completely failed, depending on which moment you ask me. I’ve started feeling like I need to let go of some of the guilt, or I’m never going to sleep again! So here’s to Monday, a new day, full of so many more opportunities to shape the littles into people I may or may not like in 20 years. I suppose by then I can stay up worrying about whether they’re getting enough sleep or worrying too much!