Sunday, June 8, 2014

Why I Can't Be Angry About Six Hours of Sleep

Last night was rough.

This whole week George has done great, slept great, woken up maybe once each night, it's been amazing.  Last night was not amazing.  The longest increment of time he slept was about four hours.  He didn't "go to bed" until 11:30 PM and was up by 1:00 AM (which just after I finally fell asleep--I'm terrible at getting myself to sleep, I have a busy head).  I got him sort of back to sleep, but pretty much not because he was up again at 2:00 AM.  And this time, screaming.  I soothed him multiple times but every time I got him to sleep and went to lay him back down he was right back screaming.  All this time I'm noticing that George is warm, but I just assumed that he was overheated because that kid loves his blankets.

Brad woke up the third time I had done the sooth-lay-him-down-screaming-again thing, and I was sort of on my last bit of energy.  We joke that George knows whenever we make plans and, if he doesn't approve, he'll not sleep like normal.  I had a baby shower for my sister-in-law the next morning and all I was thinking that it was absolutely true and that I was never going to be able to make plans ever again and basically it just got really dramatic from there (remember, I was running on basically an hour of sleep at that point).  After almost a year of a great baby who loved people and who slept surprisingly well for the most part and that rocked Disneyland at five months old and was a trooper for everything--especially large groups of people--suddenly couldn't make it to 10:30 AM play dates and 11:30 AM baby showers and cried at the sight of a room full of women.  Why?  Why?

Last night, prior to all of this, I went to a friend's viewing.  This friend was only 22-years old when she passed this week due to brain cancer.  I went to the viewing with another friend and it was quite the beautiful and surprisingly personal experience.  The Spirit was just there.  It was wonderful, comforting, and just so eye-opening.  I cried as I hugged her mom.  I cried as a stood over the casket.  I didn't think that I'd cry, I don't know why I didn't but I really didn't.  But I cried pretty hard.

When I got home, George was still up.  It was 9:30 PM by then; this was the beginning of what was to be a very long night.  But as I was loading him up in his stroller for a late night walk I realized that any frustrations I could potentially have with this situation were selfish.  I realized that a lot of things that we hold on to and freak out about and are stubborn about are actually pretty selfish in nature.  Because, how was George not sleeping very well affecting me very negatively?  Losing sleep, is that really that awful?  Being tired?  Is going late to a baby shower or even not being able to attend actually something that terrible?  No.  No, it wasn't.  Can it be difficult?  Totally.  And it is.  But is it actually something that I need to be angry over?  No.  Not at all.  And I realized that.  I realized that as I felt that wonderful spirit while at my friend's viewing.  I realized that most often the things that we think are so important actually don't having any sort of actual, real meaning beyond some sort of Me Monster that we're feeding.

It's funny because my mom and sister actually joke that they're super surprised that I'm a pretty calm mother.  This is due to the fact that really, I don't have much patience with other people's children (I've been working on that, trust me).  But for me, life's fairly logical, pretty straightforward.  And that's sort of how motherhood fell into place for me.  If I logically lay out the circumstances that I'm ready to meltdown over, I realize that most often it's a pile of poop I'm trying to defend to myself.  It's nothing.  They're so small and they're so definitely not worth making a fuss over.

Because seriously, is staying up caring for a sad baby with teeth tearing through his gums a waste of my time?  Absolutely not.  And as I was hitting my last ounce of energy around seven o'clock this morning I realized that I was totally going to be okay.  That every time I've ever been up late and thought, "I can't do this another night, Heavenly Father," I'm totally proven wrong because it does happen again and I do it and I'm okay.

I've noticed that, in motherhood especially, the only things I can ever really get upset over, I'm upset over for selfish reasons.  Don't get me wrong, it's perfectly okay to need a moment to yourself.  We all need a very long nap from time to time (luckily George and I both got a four hour nap today, SCORE!).  We all need to drink an entire two-liter of Diet Coke because, you know what?  A giant, cold Coke totally does make everything better.  The commercials do not lie.  And every now and then, we need a break.  We need to be alone.  And we definitely need to take care of ourselves.  But we don't need to get angry.  We don't need to let everything that the world tells us we're missing out on (also known as a good night's sleep) make us mad.  Especially not at our kids.

So, last night was super rough.

But today was great.  My son may have sobbed uncontrollably at the sight of a large group of women, but that's okay.  Because, I realized that I feel that way a lot of the time too.  Walking into a room full of strangers, sometimes I want to cry.  The only reason I don't is because I'm old enough to say what I'm feeling.  George?  He only knows how to tell me he's uncomfortable through tears.

So who am I to feel embarrassed or tell George that he can't be scared?  Because, dude, he totally can.  That's his right as a person.  He doesn't have to like anything he doesn't want to.  He has every right to choose.  And just because he can't talk to me about it yet doesn't mean I need to be mad.  Again, because what is there to be mad about?  Mommy can't socialize?  That's stupid.  That's selfish.  And I know that.

So I won't be mad.  And I'm not!

People have been concerned that I'm frustrated or don't enjoy my time with others as George has started feeling like this, but I'm really proud to say that it totally doesn't do anything like that.  If anything, I mostly feel bad that I've put George in a situation that makes him feel weird again, haha.  We're working through it.  One day we'll talk through it.

But if anything, I remember very clearly a little girl who bawled at the thought of any school program that ever existed until like age six, and I remember even more clearly a father and mother who never made me do anything that I didn't want to do.  I know that I'm the confident and individual woman that I am today because of that.  My parents never let me be afraid of not wanting to do something, of saying no.  My parents always showed me the consequences of choosing to participate or choosing not to participate--whatever it may have been--and then they let me choose.  And I'm absolutely giving George that same courtesy.  Because what he feels does matter.  What he wants with his life absolutely matters.  His opinion matters, and he absolutely deserves a say in what he does and does not want to do.

And so yeah, we're working on learning the consequences of no sleep.  But trust me, that four hour nap shows that he's learning.  Nothing I do or say or force on him is going to make him understand the power of no sleep except not sleeping, right?  He'll learn in his own way and time.  And I'm cool with that because I'm not going anywhere.

I choose to not be angry that he can make his own choices.  And seriously, why would I be?