I’m a big advocate of conscious, respectful and mindful parenting, these are not things that I naturally am on default. It is a constant and hard job overriding my impulsiveness. I feel a bit out of control this week. A combination of unmindfulness and hormones have contributed to this feeling. Normally I would put this on my journal where it’s private and safe from judgment. But we all struggle, we all fall short and to pretend otherwise is to deny our humanity and claim perfection.
Poor sleep hygiene
Most parents know the circus that is the morning routine. Getting everyone ready, out of the house and where they need to be punctually is a conundrum. On a good day, it goes by happily and swiftly and the whole fam has a good start but this has been a rare phenomenon lately.
I feel that I am trying to sabotage my own life, to what end, I have no idea. How I unwind before bed has proved to be a common denominator of how the next morning will go. On a night where I choose to read I tend to turn in earlier which is perfect for the next day. On the nights where I Netflix the next mornings are mostly chaos. I’m hopeless when I start watching a show, it’s impossible to stop at 1 episode. I indulge, say to myself “just one more episode” next thing I know it’s 1 frigging am. Sometimes I accidentally fall asleep While I bring Shay to bed, this is not a good thing! Despite my body needing the rest, I have other plans that don’t include sleeping. I mostly loose in this battle between staying in bed so I can actually get enough sleep or getting up to do things that I hardly ever remember.
As soon as my head hits the pillow, my alarm goes off! I have my alarm set at 3 different times with 30 min intervals. The first one goes off at 6.30 am, if I need to have a cup of tea and maybe read a page, now would be the time. Second one goes off at 7 am, if I want to be the first one to shower and avoid the morning rush this would be the time. The last one goes off at 7.30 am shouting “get up the chaos are about to begin”. Then I have to pay for my poor choices.
When I chose to wake up at 7.30 am, I’m aware that I’m choosing chaos. Betting on Shays best behaviour and on her understanding that we don’t want to be late. The irony in this is not lost on me. She has no sense of time, the fact that we are gonna be late does not make sense or matter to her.
Most toddlers don’t like the process of getting dressed. They want to be chased around and think everything is a game. On a good day, I indulge her and meet her in this playful world, where our clothes sing and our shoes talk.
With my recent choices, I lack the brain capacity to meet her there. I get snappy, my parent voice takes control, unlike the mommy voice this one is unpleasant. It’s when you are not shouting but you are not calm either. It’s a voice laced with a lot of impatience. On the sideline I see myself losing contol, try to talk myself into breathing but everything is just so rushed, I can’t catch my breath, and the worst part is we still end up late!
When she takes the lead
Our daughter is an old soul. At times she shows more maturity than I do. She has a way of pulling me out of chaos and reminds me of important values. It breaks my heart when she calls me out on my bullshit because she should not have to experience it, to begin with.
Take this morning, I jumped out of bed at 7.30 am, the circus began. She wanted a morning shower with her daddy, I knew we did not have enough time, but we could not talk her out of it. Between the shower, getting dressed and having breakfast my parenting voice took over and the familiar impatience kicked in. This little girl looked me straight in the eye and said “mommy beruhig dich” mommy calm down. I felt my heart shutter a little as I calmed the F down. I cannot help feeling sad when she takes control of a situation, it is not her place.
Sometime this week something similar happened. She told me “mommy breath, Daddy loves you, I love you even when you are cross and proceeded to give me a cuddle and kisses. There went my heartbreaking as I resumed my mommy voice because again it is not her job to calm me down it is my job to stay calm.
This little girl is constantly teaching me. Where does she get such calm and emotional maturity for a person so little, for a person whos pre frontal cortex is still developing? She observes me a lot and comments on my mood. “mommy you are happy, Mommy are you cross or do you feel moody, are you scared? Don’t worry, I will keep you safe.” Then sits on my lap, caresses my cheek as she says “Alles wird gut” everything is gonna be alright. SHE MIRRORS EVERYTHING I DO! Watching her is so funny and absurd as if I’m looking at our reflection and suddenly she is the mom and I am the child!
A reminder to be mindful
I can and have lost control in ugly ways. Thankfully my child has never seen or been at the receiving end of this storm at it’s highest degree or intensity. My parenting voice is an irritated, impatient and mild angered one, to a child this is a lot for they depend on us to feel safe. I know firsthand how unsafe and unloved a child can feel when a parents anger is directed at them in its full-blown ugliness.
I am not ashamed to say that mindfulness does not come naturally. It is something I have to constantly work on. Especially when I am struggling and failing like this week. The struggle is a reminder to keep doing the work. Strong bonds, connections and healthy relationships don’t just fall on the lap, they need constant care, repairs, learning and unlearning.
Conscious parenting does not mean that I will always get it right. It means that I will be open to accepting and apologizing for my mistakes. I will take responsibility for them even when I have to explain myself a few 100 times for Shay to understand where I am coming from. Most of all it means that I have to take better care and make healthier choices for myself.
Thank you for stopping by dear reader. 12.01.20