I originally wrote this post on Halloween 2016. It’s a struggle many mothers go through. I want to repost this to give others comfort during this trying stage. I am here to assure you that it does change for the better. Keep at it, be consistent and honor your own feelings and needs.
Love, Mrs. Mother Dirt
It’s Sunday evening. Our pajamas are on and the warm glow of the evening lights relax us as we enjoy a snack before books and bedtime. My daughter usually chooses yogurt, a banana, or some crackers for her snack. It’s been a few hours since dinner and my milk supply is near nill so a night-time snack has become part of our bedtime routine. Once we are done with snack, I take her upstairs to brush her teeth and use the potty one last time.
Our general routine begins around 7:30 pm and goes something like this: bath, jammies, snack, brush teeth, use the potty, climb into bed, read 4-5 books, lights out, nursing and snuggles. As you can tell by the amount of tasks we need to accomplish and the fact my daughter is not quite 2 and half years old, this can be a very long, time-consuming event. EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.
Getting her into bed is fine actually. We read and giggle and say I love over and over again. Once the light is out, the real work begins. My daughter still wants to nurse and well, I don’t. Nursing has stopped being a “feel good” part of being a mom. Some nights are easy because my daughter has skipped a nap and is all tuckered out. And other nights, I basically have to lull myself into a sort of meditation to get through it or I just simply fall asleep as I wait for her to fall asleep.
The nights that are easy, she actually falls asleep while nursing. I am talking maybe 10 minutes tops! These are the evenings I triumphantly walk downstairs feeling like a champion and get to have some chill out time with my husband. Maybe even watch some TV together or eat a cookie without having to hide in the kitchen or share half of it. And then there are the majority of evenings….
Most of the time I fall asleep with my daughter (yes, it might only be 8:30pm) because I am just plain exhausted. But those 10-15% of evenings when all I want to do is carve out a little bit of time for myself (maybe to read some blogs or write a post, or even read a book – GASP!), it’s enough to drive me mad. The suckling and tossing and turning. My poor little bubs. I just want her to stop touching me and GO. TO. SLEEP.
How can I love her to pieces and want to be away from her at the SAME time?
It’s maddening. Eight pm turns into eight-thirty and then eight – fifty and she is asking for another snack, or to read more books, or to watch Thomas and Friends. And this is my breaking point. I have been at the entire bedtime routine, starting with bath time, for nearly 2 full hours.
On these particular evenings, I have to have my husband step in. I leave the bed, tell my sweet daughter that it’s bedtime and mommy is done laying with her. I let her cry for a few minutes before I head back upstairs to kiss and soothe her, but now it’s daddy’s turn to lay with her and get her to fall asleep.
Once I finally have “alone” time, I have to deal with my anger, guilt, and agitation from the past 2 hours. I feel like my evening is being hijacked by my toddler and it’s like a cruel itch that I am unable to scratch. I am not sure if this is developmentally ‘normal’ or something I am personally doing wrong with the way I have established our routine. I know friends who have done the cry-it-out (CIO) method and their child is asleep by 7 o’clock EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. Say what???!
How do I get some much-needed me time built back into my routine?