Something I’ve been really working on this week is being there. It sound so obvious, so fundamental to the job of being a mom, but it can be so HARD.
I have been reading about alternatives to “time out” as I’m not really a fan of the concept. One alternative, “time in,” seemed too touchy-feely for me at first, but at the same time I get it: children act out to get our attention and are seeking our guidance in dealing with an emotion; instead of shoving them in a corner, we should take the time to sit and discuss this feeling with them. So, I’ve been giving time in a shot. Tonight, S was extremely over-tired and melting down. Her father was at his wits’ end with bedtime which is usually his domain. I stepped in and held her, and told her I loved her, and had her look me in the eye and tell me what she needed. Yes, there were moments when I wanted to scream and cry myself, and even more where it would have been easy to just say “I’m done” and walk away, but I didn’t. I sat there on the floor of the bathroom and of S’s room and I quelled my urge to give up, and it paid off. Bedtime still took longer than it should have, but I know it look less time than if I’d succumbed to time out or my own urge to simply throw S in the crib and get back to what I was doing.
Bottom line, she never should have been put in the position to get that tired. Hubby should not have let her drag out teeth brushing for as long as he did, and I shouldn’t have called them over to watch an (*amazing*) video of a dog playing the piano. But he did, and I did, and life happened. So, I breathed deep and was there, really there, for 15-20 minutes. And I got her to stop sobbing, and take off her rain boots, and get in bed. It will never cease to amaze me how a few things that should be so simple can become the hardest part of your day. My toddler melted down, and for the first time in a while I didn’t let myself raise my voice or give up. And it worked.