Tuesday, 19 February 2013
Mama, Are You Still at Work?
A couple of weeks ago I had a major project at work. It took me out of commission for a couple
of days. My husband did everything, three nights in a row. I didn’t see J-man at all. In the middle
of the night, 5 a.m. on the second night, he woke and asked me if I was home. I told him I was,
pulled him from his crib, and told him since I hadn’t seen him all day he could come snuggle
with me in my bed. My husband had fallen asleep on the couch and would never know I was
breaking the rules. What I didn’t tell either of them was that I was just too tired to sit with J-man
until he fell asleep.
This week I had a repeat of the same work issue. I did manage to get home each night, after 9
p.m. but just in time to do the bedtime routine. On the first night he said to me, “Mama, I haven’t
seen you all day, so I can snuggle with you in your bed?” Where did he come up with that? I
had to laugh: my words turned against me. Have I created a monster who is going to argue
technicalities with me? When did the exception turn into the rule?
So I did what every good mom does: I lied. I told him to have his bubba in his bed so I could
eat my dinner (it was after 10 p.m.), and that when I came up for bedtime he could snuggle with
me in my bed. He was asleep in 10 minutes and long before I hit the sheets. Maybe he’ll need
therapy for this when he’s in his twenties.
The second night, he said the same thing. So I told him the same thing. After all, it had worked
the night before. Except this time, when I came up at 10:45, he was still awake. “I’m ready,”
he said. So I pulled him into bed with me. At 11:15 I banished him to his crib for failing to go to
sleep. I was too exhausted to cope. He had another bubba and fell asleep.
On the third night we had a repeat of night number two. “I promise I will sleep,” he told me.
Yeah, right, I thought. “No way, J-man. You sleep in your bed and Mama will sleep in hers.” At
2:30 when he woke, Consistent Mom bent the rules again. This time, however, J-man snuggled
for 15 minutes and said, “Mom, I’m ready for my crib now.”
So, what did I learn from this experience? Not much, really. Consistency is over-rated,
especially when you are tired. And kids are flexible. Maybe there will be some tears, but it’s
okay to say yes sometimes and no others. They figure it out and so do you. And if they need
therapy — by that time, hopefully you can afford to pay.
Goodnight, my love, sweet dreams. Mama works hard AND she loves you.
[image: by Julia Kisselmann]