Raising children · Stay-at-homing

The emotional balance between winning and losing

Today has been a good learning day for me.  Usually, after a disaster day, God can help me look back at the mess and see something I can learn from it.  Today was one of those days.  Here’s an overly detailed picture of my today:

For starters, I got about 4 hours of sleep, getting to bed about 4:30 a.m., when I finally got both girls to sleep at the same time.  Thea and Rose both have been getting rotten sleep, so I saw today as a day that we’d make sure to get them (and myself) caught up, so I didn’t have cranky-baby-ness all day long.

Waking up at 8:30, my first goal was to get Rose on track with an Eat/Wake/Sleep routine that would make all of our lives easier.  As usual, once I got her to sleep and laid her down, it was only a matter of minutes before she woke back up.  But Thea and I needed to eat, so her sleep was just going to have to wait.

Yesterday, Thea refused to eat anything, so I hoped, prayed, crossed my fingers, and my toes, that she would eat the first thing I gave her instead of throwing away 3 different attempts at meals.  She ate.  Praise to the heavens.  Then back to Rose to get her to sleep, which, once again, she woke up after laying her down, this time to poop.

At this point, the next goal was to get both babies bathed and us all dressed for the day.  This took place flawlessly.

Then it was back to Rosy baby to get her on track with her Eat/Wake/Sleep routine, which at this point, was going to be Wake/Eat/Sleep.  And really, when Rosy is tired, it is easy to get her to sleep while she eats.  As you’ve read already, the trick is keeping her asleep.  Laying her down, swaddling her up, I hoped, prayed, crossed my finger, toes, legs, and arms that she would stay asleep.

Now, for the biggest goal of the day, which at this point it was noon, was to get Thea Sue down for a much, much, much needed nap.  I figured with her night last night of frequently waking up (no thanks to her blasted molar pain and endless mucus coughs) she would be oh so willing to sleep.  Her poor little eyes were pink with exhaustion.  Then, I was going to go pass out too.  (And I really think this is where I always go wrong: I thought I would nap.  The universe always hears that and devises a way to blow my plans to smithereens).

Oh no, Thea’s body might have been tired, but her mind sure wasn’t.  So far, I’d had her watch a movie while I tried to really hone in on Rose that morning to get her routine going and I’d had her eat and take a bath.  In other words, there really hadn’t been any chance for her to burn any of her 18-month old energy off.  So not only am I set up for an uphill battle, but the second Thea and I get settled in to finish the final steps of her pre-nap routine, Rosy starts to scream.  I put Thea in her crib, hoping, praying, crossing all the limbs and phalanges and every organ, that she would be ready to fall asleep on her own as we had been working on for several days now.  Rose and I sit in the rocking chair while Thea Sid the Sloths around in her crib for an hour, making absolutely no progress toward sleeping.

In the end, it was 1:30, and either I had to decide on a different way to force that baby to sleep or she needed lunch.  I had the idea to take her outside to play in the snow for a while and see if that would tucker her out.  I knew she was tired.  And by golly, she needed to sleep!  Bundled all up, we went outside.  We took two steps and Thea turned to me, wanting me to pick her up.  I was wearing Rose under my puffy coat AKA there was no way I could carry the whole crew.  I tried to get Thea to just hold my hand.  Nope, just tears.  I tried picking her by her arm out into the road so she could see the slosh to play in.  Nope, just tears.  On the verge of losing my mind, I hauled us all back inside.  I had been avoiding going on a car ride to put the babes to sleep (it was guaranteed to work) because A: they don’t get solid sleep in the car.  They get iffy sleep in the car. B: I WANTED TO SLEEP TOO.  C: If they fell asleep in the car, I’d be stuck in the car for a couple hours because in the cold weather, Thea just wakes up when I take her out.

Sigh.  But there was no alternative.  If I didn’t get Thea to sleep soon, there was going to be no point in her even taking a nap as it would be too close to bed time.  And for the life of me, if she didn’t go to sleep at a decent hour that night, I think I would boil my own hair off.

So we do, after some lunch, we go for a ride, and they sleep, and I get to go to a roommate reunion, which actually turned out to be the best thing for us all.  Both girls are worn out now and sleeping good for the first time in weeks.  Hence I get to actually blog for a minute.

Motherhood is awesome, I promise.  It’s just ugly sometimes.  Ugly awesome.

On our way home, we stopped to see Andrew at work.  And he said something that summed up a perspective I need to keep in mind: you won’t always win.

I’m a goal setter and a teacher.  And I easily get so wrapped up in what I am trying to teach my girls that when things go wrong or don’t work like I hoped they would, I get stressed, impatient, and extremely frustrated, and then I get more frustrated that I’m stressed, impatient, and frustrated.  But I’m so caught up in everything and so focused on just making it work out somehow, that by the end of the day, I’m exhausted and disheartened from no progress being made.  But I won’t always win.  Sometimes, you just don’t make progress.  My attempts to get Rosy on a schedule today failed.  Today I lost.  But tomorrow might be different.  My attempts to get Thea to take a long, much needed nap were losers, but tonight’s battle is already different.  My attempts to feed Thea yesterday were such a loss, but today was a win.

What I’m trying to say is that I learned that if I lose today, I can take hope in tomorrow.  When I am losing and starting to feel those ugly emotions, I need to remember that those moments aren’t forever.  If Thea has to have a car ride to sleep today, it doesn’t mean that as of tomorrow, she is only going to take a nap if we drive.  She might still refuse a nap tomorrow, but that will be a battle for tomorrow.  I don’t have to win today in order for tomorrow to also be a win.  Tomorrow doesn’t automatically become a disaster just because today was one.  Sure, there might be some carnage to clean up from yesterday’s loss, but tomorrow still holds the hope of being a win.

In other words, to expect to win everyday is most likely unrealistic.  I’m going to have losses.  But if I can find a balance between being ok to lose and yet expecting to win, I think this motherhood thing might just go a little smoother, at least emotionally.

And now, I bid you goodnight.  Now that is big big win for this mama.  Peace out.


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