Some nights I look in the mirror and wonder just who I am. Tonight is one of them.
For the last week or so, we’ve had issues again getting J to go to sleep at night. Nap times generally aren’t as much of a struggle. But the past few nights, after our routine of tooth-brushing, diaper-changing, book-reading, and kisses and hugs, J loses her mind. I’m not talking the kind of crying that tapers off when mom leaves the room and then she settles down. I’m talking about the kind of crying she did in January when we were transitioning her back to her crib. The kind that lets me know each minute I let her cry will only make it worse.
The other night it was both of them, but what I did that night worked. Rocking, back-patting, more rocking. Eventually she fell asleep and I laid her in her crib and with very little fanfare, left the room.
Tonight, she’d fall asleep on my shoulder, and just as I’d go to lay her down, she’d wake up. I tried shushing her and patting her belly, only to be met with her standing straight up in her crib in total meltdown. So I took her to my room, laid down with her. She settled. We went back to her room. When she saw her crib she whimpered and squeezed me. She fell asleep as I rocked her (standing) and I tried to lay her down. Meltdown.
Now, normally I can handle a bit of CIO (cry it out). Not much, mind you, but usually with my two it’s a minute or two of protesting and then zonked. And while my frustration fuse is generally a bit shorter than I’d like (I’m working on it), the past few days have been really difficult for me.
I feel like my frustration level is really high. I feel like I’m this person I don’t even like. I feel like if I don’t like how I am, how could anyone else? I have two beautiful children who love me. Half the time, my daughter wants nobody but me. I have a wonderful wife who loves me beyond words. I found a good job where the people are nice and the work is not too stressful.
And I snap at the stupidest things. I speak in harsh tones to my wife. I get frustrated with my children for being toddlers. And I feel like the mother I never wanted to be. The kind who yells and argues and gets frustrated when all her daughter wants is to be held instead of fall asleep alone in her crib. The kind who gets pissed because nobody helps me try and get the children to sleep when it’s clear whatever I’m doing isn’t working.
And the kind who holds her children while they fall asleep and feels guilty for being such an asshole to everyone around her.
I love my family more than anything in the world. And my children are a part of who I am in ways I can never ever comprehend or explain. I love them beyond words.
It’s me I don’t like.