Let’s face it. We have very little control in life. Ugh.
There are, however, some experiences that really highlight this reality of life. And, my, parenting is one of those. Particularly the whole “sleeping” part of parenting. Whew.
Right now, we are daily (hourly) oscillating between, “Girl, I love you and you are the cutest thing in the world and so much fun and I can’t get enough of you!” and “Please, child, I will trade anything if you would just. fall. asleep!”
It is one thing to physically be out of control – there is physically nothing I can do to force my child to sleep. Trust me, we’ve tried.
It is another thing to feel so psychologically out of control. I wake up frustrated enough from the night before that I am 100% determined to let her cry it out today – no matter what! We get through the day however we need to – crying it out til she naps, or throwing in the towel and putting her in the stroller til she naps, or giving up on naps all together for the day. (Thankfully, she isn’t terribly cranky in her overtired state, so we can enjoy most of the day.) But then 7pm hits. She has been crying for a full hour, and my 100% determination is shrinking by the minute, until I resolutely decide that it is best to console her, which ends up being rocking her to sleep. Once she is asleep and I’m ready for bed myself, my resolution to let her cry creeps back up. Until 2am. Then I spend the wee hours of the night (when no one should be awake), being a good ol’ flip-flopper between crying it out, consoling, rocking, and wishing I had bought myself ear plugs.
And that doesn’t even cover the emotional roller coaster. Tears are shed by all in this house on a daily basis. And while I know we should all be working against “mom guilt,” it is so. dang. hard. And not because I care what others think. “What is best” looks different in every household, and that is great. My guilt creeps in because I can’t make up my freaking mind about how to handle all of this (see the mental whirlwind above). Because the special educator in me wants to treat this behaviorally – it is simply a behavior that needs a calculated response and it will eventually be “fixed” when you are clear and consistent. But then my mama heart breaks in desperation of listening to her cry – guilt. And then I hug and console and rock her, and while I love those moments (when they’re not at 2am), I feel like I have “caved” and she is never going to unlearn this learned behavior – guilt. And back and forth and back and forth.
So, let’s face it. We have very little control in life. And in the scheme of things, this is a minor hiccup. I know. But man, it is quite the harsh reminder of life’s reality.
And, to wrap it all up neatly, I do pray that, at the end of the day, may the God who is in control at all times use these early morning hours to condition my heart towards patience and gratitude. Because man, I do love this little gift He has given me. I mean, just look at her!