The Life I’ve Created
In the middle of the night, when two of my three children cry for me and cling to me, full of need and unable to sleep, I sometimes say, “Shut up!” I have yelled at them to go to sleep. I have left them crying so I can go to another room and kick things and scream in frustration and exhaustion. I am just so tired.
I have to wonder if I did something to them to create these sleep issues. Do I feed them well? Do they get enough play time and attention during the day? Are there needs I don’t understand that they can’t vocalize? Sometimes I think maybe my milk supply is gone, that the baby is hungry, so I panic and feed him snacks at two a.m. The four year old wakes at least once to go to the bathroom no matter how vigilant I am about limiting water near bedtime. I’m sure other people have the same problems. Do they realize the havoc that sleep deprivation can cause?
The guilt from my outbursts follows me and causes me shame and grief. And I don’t have answers. I commented once on another blog that, “My feeling is it is almost always best to err on the side of mercy and love. There are many parenting ‘mistakes’ that can be ameliorated by lots and lots of love, and the feelings of security it can bring.”
I do believe that. I also believe that I sometimes need some mercy and love myself.