Mom guilt takes over

Mom guilt takes over

Tonight ended in tears. EJ’s and mine. After I rushed out of his room in a huff when hubs came to relieve me from another bedtime struggle and the first night of trying the “camping out” method.

Tonight I sat in his rocking chair, while he incessantly screamed, “Mama bed now, mama bed now,” referring to the cot set up beside his crib. The cot is mainly used by me when he wakes in the night and I just can’t do the up and down anymore. Those nights when you’re bone-tired and you’llĀ  do anything for sleep. All it takes is me being there or touching his hand through the crib for a good night’s sleep.

But it’s gone on too long. I’m sick (quite literally with a cold) and run down and really, truly missing my evenings me time.

Work blends into motherhood which blends into work. Despite having just returned from a week off.

I have only been to Crossfit twice in the past six weeks, because I can’t guarantee either of us will sleep, making it hard to go to the morning class. And since I’m not home until 6:30 and he’s not falling asleep until 8, 9, or 10, I am just too beat to make it to a 7:00 p.m. class. I know, excuses, excuses, but I’m in the trenches here (parenting line, stolen from my coworker). I can’t seem to find five minutes to text my friends, let alone call them, or see them, and other than finishing up dishes and breakfast, lunch and daycare prep once he’s asleep, I barely have time to brush my teeth before I pass out.

And I feel awful about all of it. I feel guilty for rocking him instead of working with him as soon as the sleep regression started, for not spending more time with him to curb the separation anxiety. I feel guilty for having to work and ship him off to grandparents and daycare, I feel guilty for needing Crossfit or a manicure or dinner with friends once in a while to get a break. I feel guilty for venting.

So, I cried as soon as hubs came out (after only five minutes). He let me sob into his shoulder and tell him I can’t do it and that I feel lost and broken. With a tight squeeze, he told me we would get through it. And he’s right, we will.

And, then I felt guilt for letting the mom guilt weigh me down, because I’m lucky. I am so effing lucky. I have a job (and bosses who allow me to have a flexible schedule), a home, and a loving, healthy family.

I know so many moms who can relate to this roller coaster. And I know that this story is nothing compared to what some moms or parents are going through and yet, we all have our own journey and we’re all doing our damnedest to do right by these little people that are the centre of our worlds.

So whether you’re doing it solo, with a strong supportive partner, or with family holding you up, keep going mama.

Don’t forget, you’re superwoman.



The velcro baby’s sleep struggles continue

bedtime-aint-nobody-got-time-for-thatIt’s been a month since I first shared the post about EJ’s sleep regression. Life’s been busy – it’s summer, we’re jamming our weekends and vacation days full of fun. I wish I could say sleeping in has been part of that, but alas, our sleep struggles continue. Along with that, it seems the “terrible twos” have come out in full force.

EJ continues to fight sleep at bedtime, despite following the usual routine. With multiple nighttime wakings every other day, hubby or I have taken to sleeping on a cot in his room just so we can quickly calm him back into repose and get some shuteye ourselves.

At bedtime last night, similar to a few weeks ago, A carted our screaming, tantrum-throwing boy to his room so I could escape to the gym. EJ wailed “Mama eer (here)” for a few minutes before hubby started to counter his wails with, “Dada here!” in funny voices. Soon enough, EJ was saying, “Dada eer” and calmed down enough to lay in his bed and go to sleep on his own. He slept from 8:15 to 6:15 last night and didn’t wake once.

I feel like a new woman today. One night, though, does not mean we’re in the clear.

Tomorrow night, EJ, my mom and I are hopping on a red-eye out to New Brunswick and then heading to Prince Edward Island for the week. So, yet again, I’m going to throw his whole schedule off and he’s going to get used to being with me 24/7. We’ll see how he sleeps while we’re away, but returning to reality after this vacation isn’t going to help his separation anxiety at all.

Hopefully we’ll get through the airports and flights with a limited number of tantrums. Anyone have advice for holding onto (or wrestling) a 30-pound toddler on your lap while in flight?

Sleep or no sleep, tantrums or not, I’m looking forward to adventuring and a little time away with my boy.






The velcro baby’s sleep regression

Emerson napping
EJ napping last weekend, after I stood by his crib to help him fall asleep.

For the past two weeks, EJ’s schedule has been a little off. It’s summer, the days are longer, we’re all a little more relaxed and we want to be outside as much as possible. We were camping for four days, then we had friends over for a weekend, we’ve eaten out, and so on. Despite the slight timing shifts, his bedtime routine is consistent and we’re trying spend as much time with him as we can.

He recently started using “Daddy” and “Mommy,” and is using them interchangeably with “Mama” and “Dada.” And lately, there is a certain kind of whine attached to those words, so it sounds like, “Momm-eeee” or “Dadd-eeee.” He wants us, more than he wants anyone else, and the tears at daycare drop off have returned.

He’s always been a velcro baby. Now, as the toddler years creep in, it’s fascinating to see how his independence can flourish at times and how his velcro baby tendencies take over at key times during the day. The past month has been the start of a mommy/daddy phase. It was “Daddy” only for about a week, and for the past week or so, it’s been a true “Mommy” phase. True to the extent that he wants to be in my arms and interacting with me the minute I get home, in the shower with me in the mornings, he wants me to feed him, and at bedtime, he wants to be in bed or in the rocking chair, with me. All of which I am soaking up, and is met with only the tiniest bit of exasperation.

No criticism here please, we all need some “me time” and I’m getting very little of it this week. Mainly because, for a few nights this week, he absolutely refused to sleep! Bedtime started at 7:30 on each of those nights, but he didn’t fall asleep until between 9:30 and 10:30, wailing “Momm-eeee” the minute I tried to leave him in his bed, without letting up.

He tried to climb out of his crib several times, and would be dead asleep in my arms, or A’s arms, and then would wake as soon as we were out of his room. Then, in the middle of the night, it would start again, “Momm-eeee! Momm-eeee! Momm-eee…” For hours. We went through this cycle of wake, cry, rock to calm/sleep, bed, wake… We’re all exhausted.

However, victory followed last night when A (quite literally) tore a wailing EJ away from me after his bedtime story, to take him to bed. He rocked him for a few minutes to calm him, then put EJ in bed and said the usual, “Night night, love you.” EJ screamed, “Momm-eeee” for about five minutes, before pulling the tail of his musical monkey and laying down to sleep. He slept 10.5 hours and just like that, we are almost back to normal!

So, what the hell was that!? He’s 21 months next week and there are an abundance of things it could be. Maybe it’s the toddler sleep regression. It could be that his molars are coming in. It also sounds like separation anxiety.

I’m out of the house for an average of 10 hours Monday to Friday. I often get to see EJ for 30 minutes to an hour in the morning, as we rush out the door, or for one to two hours in the evening, before bedtime. Usually, I’m stressed or tired both times, from the long drive, the rush to be on time, or from my day. Cue the tiny violin. I feel ultra guilty as a working mom.

I am doing my best to ease EJ’s feelings of anxiety, by;

  • Being consistent with a quick daycare drop off
  • Being consistent with bedtime routines
  • Staying responsive, affectionate and calm
  • Giving him my full attention and explaining his feelings of frustration, sadness or fear

Whatever this phase is, I’m sure this isn’t the end of it, but AlphaMom says, remember that, “This nonsense too shall pass!”

If you have any advice – I’d love to hear it!