“Raising a Spirited Child and Feeling Like a Bad Mother” was originally posted on May 24, 2010, on my previous blog when Caroline was three and a half. It was one of my most popular posts at that time and generated many comments as you will see below. I am making it a part of my 31 Days of Learning Differently series and will have the follow-up from 2012 tomorrow.
I was reading on a spirited child discussion board the other day about how many of these children wake up early no matter what time they go to bed. Caroline is this way. No matter what time she falls asleep, she is awake almost every morning between 6:00 and 6:30. Keeping her up later does not make a bit of difference. In fact, it makes it worse. Once in a great while she will sleep until 7:30 or even 8:00 and I seriously feel like I’ve had a vacation. (A few mothers also mentioned the not knowing if they are going to get Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde each morning. Um, yes, I get that too.)
Some moms were mentioning that they also experience the “might fall asleep in ten minutes, might be awake for two hours” problem that we also have. I cannot count on her to fall asleep within a particular amount of time no matter how tired or not tired she is. We’ve tried every trick in the book. It doesn’t matter. Right now she is so tired (probably overtired because it took her forever to fall asleep last night) and she’s still awake after being in bed an hour. And she isn’t just in there quiet. She’s talking to herself, her animals/dolls, and whatever she’s reading. Telling her to not talk doesn’t work because I honestly don’t even think she realizes she’s doing it 90% of the time.
By the end of the day, I just want her to go. to. sleep. My patience is at the end by the time we get her in bed. I’m tired of the constant chatter, I’m tired of being on, I usually still have work to do in the evening, and I just want some time to myself. I cannot begin to unwind and decompress until she is asleep. David is fortunate in that he can sit down and just start working as soon as she is in bed, even if she isn’t asleep. I cannot do it. So when she is awake until 9:00 or later, I stay up later because I need at least three hours in the evening to recover and unwind. So then I stay up too late which makes it impossible to get up before her because skipping sleep doesn’t work. So I don’t get enough sleep and then I have to get up when she wakes up and start all over again.
We’ve analyzed this every which way and the simple answer is: There is no solution. And it frustrates me to no end that we can’t find a way to make this work better. I’m frustrated and tired of it.
I suppose some people will think I’m just selfish. Being a mother means having children around. Duh. I know that. I’m just trying to figure out how my personality and her personality are both going to survive the next fourteen and a half years.
I don’t know what the answer is when it comes to raising a spirited child. I’m just venting this evening about something that’s been driving me nuts for a long time. I hate ending the evening on a negative note. I feel like a terrible mother when I’m short with her in the evening when it is time to go to bed or something happens to necessitate her getting out of bed. I know I need to keep praying that God will give me the ability to suffer long when the evenings drag on.
So what makes you feel like a bad mother?
If you came here via an online search, please note I have an entire page devoted to
Raising Highly-Sensitive and Spirited Children.
I also have a follow-up post to this one:
Getting Spirited Children to Sleep and Related Challenges.
This post is part of my 31 Days of Children Who Learn Differently series.