I salute you. I tip my hat to you. I raise you above my shoulders in celebration, because I have no idea how the hell you do it.
My husband has been away for a week, so it’s just been me and the kids. And it’s by the sheer grace of God that they live. There is no break. No one to vent to. No one to field the ever present tantrum to. No one else to do bedtime, breakfast, bathtime, playtime, you name it. Our bedtime events have been nothing short of catastrophic because by the end of the day, I’m a disastrous mound of stress.
In the morning, the hours spread out ahead of me like a looming guillotine. Hours that I have to fill, balance and moderate until the mental patients are asleep. And then we do it all over again the next day. I have a hard time managing even when I know this situation is only temporary. To do this permanently would send me to the same mental institution that my children escaped from.
It astounds me, you astound me, that you do this every single day with no respite. You simply are amazing.
My patience is not never-ending, and by the end of the day, I’m usually pretty frayed. Which is why I absolutely suck at the bedtime routine. The slightest, always probable obstacle to a smooth bedtime process puts me in the foulest of moods and I end the night being angry at my children. I don’t ever want to end a day like that, and too often on the days that I put them to bed (thankfully rare), that’s how it ends up.
Normally, the spirited one (5 years old) is bouncing off the bed or doing handstands against the wall. The youngest (3 years old) is exhausted and just wants to go to sleep, but the squealing upside down tornado prohibits this. As I soothe him with belly rubs, the hurricane is belting out Jingle Bells and it’s only when I get angry that she slows herself down a little. Only then will she try to whisper Jingle Bells. So that’s how it ends. Me angry. Feeling like a schmuck.
Inevitably, my guilt burns at me and I have to go check on them a while later, to kiss their little faces and tell them how much I love them. Best case scenario is they are both asleep. But tonight, the typhoon was still awake. Frankly, I’m not sure tranquilizer darts would work on her. So I snuggled her for half an hour, kissed her face over and over, told her how much I loved her. But I still wish it was different. No, I wish I was different.
I’m tired of punishments. I’m tired of taking away whatever the flavor of the day is in order to get the behavior I want. I’m tired of making threats and having to carry them through. I’ve gotten much better during the day but I’m still ragged by the end of the evening. I want an alternative to “do XYZ or else . . .” but I have no idea what that alternative is.