Just when I think I have it all figured out, reality hits and I am slapped with the truth that I may never, truly, have this parenting thing figured out.
Sometimes it happens once a month. Sometimes once a week. And some days are one big lesson after another.
Last night I was resolved to get my overly tired children to bed. They needed a solid nights sleep. I am still fighting to get them back on schedule since 2 1/2 weeks at their dads returned them so exhausted they could not even begin to be the sweet ladies that they naturally are.
Despite the fact that I never sleep – or at least it feels that way – I am a huge advocate for sleep for children. I can tell when my kids are tired, as most of us can, because they get surly, uncooperative, the fights escalate and they are more difficult to handle.
And when my oldest is tired, she is the most difficult to get to sleep. Even as a baby, my nanny used to call and tell me she had not napped at all. At 6 weeks old! When she gets tired, she stays up… crying, throwing tantrums and is totally inconsolable.
Night before last, she was overly tired. We had spent the day driving to and from my parents house two hours away and playing with old friends so all of the kids were exhausted. Upon returning home, she slept. But then woke a few hours later and screamed and cried until 1am. And then she and her sisters were up at 6:30am.
So that led to a day of bad attitudes, sassy behavior and more. Add to that two other sisters that were tired and at 6pm, I was resolved to get them to bed.
Two hours early. Daylight still shining outside.
So I did it. I put them to bed. Read them books, rubbed their backs and by 6:45pm, they were all out. I was so proud that I arrogantly posted on my Facebook page that “Tonight I proudly wear my supermom cape!!! #AllInBedEarly“.
Readers were impressed. I was impressed.
And then, a few hours later, as my first of three started to wake and need me, I saw the error in my decision. Their clocks were off, unused to the early bedtime, and I paid dearly for the decision.
My overly tired 6 year old woke 4- 5 times wanting hugs and kisses and to sleep with me. She cried and screamed and woke her sisters. And then my little one wet the bed. So I put her in my bed, which she promptly wet despite having been taken to the bathroom.
And then my 5 year old wet the bed. And by the time I had changed her sheets, took her potty and loved her back to sleep, my 6 year old was up again.
I think I got about 4 hours of interrupted sleep and a valuable life lesson.
I have set these kids clocks and despite that they are unset when they go to their dads, their little selves are thrown for a loop when I put them to bed two hours early.
Or at least that is my explanation. It’s probably wrong.
Because these parenting fails teach me that I don’t have a right to a cape. Because just when I think I have done something good, my kids show me otherwise. So cockines in my parenting ability fails often, thus teaching me the humbling lesson that I don’t – and probably won’t ever – know everything.
Oh well… maybe tonight, when I put them to bed on time – I will be blessed with a rare night of uninterrupted sleep!
I’ll use the cape as my blanket.
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