You don't know pain as a mother until you listen to your 4 year old…
My children never fail to find the most appropriate times to drive home life lessons, and last night was no different. My 20 month old daughter finally started sleeping through the night about 2 months ago, but has been regressing as of late. She’s not screaming or crying or wanting to play at 2am, but she often wakes up several times a night, having lost her covers and soother, and once resettled, wants me to hold her hand. Not sing a song or rock her or rub her back for hours like her sister, just hold her hand. Not an overly demanding request, but one that has been wearing me down none the less.
HOW DO YOU SAY NO TO THAT FACE?!
Last night she had been up several times, and I while I was sitting, freezing, holding her hand, I was having an internal dialogue thinking about how the conversation would go when I talked to our sleep consultant about how to get over this little set back. The mommy guilt is rearing up about my being away and working and being tired so not as present as I should be all as reasons why I am continuing to get up in the night and hold her hand. The ‘sleep-consultant-in-my-head’ asked “What does she do when you say no?”. It stopped me in my tracks. I had never said no. Didn’t even try. I had accepted this hand holding as a kind of working mom penance, and hadn’t thought beyond that. Why?
So the next time she woke up, I went in, tucked her in, gave her her soother, and when inevitable question came, i replied “No hold hands, time for night night”, and walked out of the room. And all hell did NOT break loose. In fact it was kind of anticlimactic , this big build up to nothing. She went right back to sleep, and I did not freeze my butt off in her room for an hour. Win-Win. Of course I did not go right back to sleep, instead I pondered this lesson my sweet little pea had taught me. How many times have I been to scared to say no? Not wanting to disappoint someone, or feeling some strange sense to duty to say yes, when in reality, those emotions are probably all in my head. Or at the very least, not my concern. If I said no, the world would not stop turning, life would continue on, people would still be my friends.
So watch out world. I have found my ‘no’ and I’m sticking to it!