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What do you do when you've done the unthinkable?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Bedtimes have been difficult for us lately.  My 27 month old does not want to be away from my side most of the time.  We are early risers and I need to go to bed early.  She can not fall asleep as early as I do.  So we have been struggling for 1 to 2 hours most nights.  Last night, going on the second hour, I was so tired and I am sick, I told her she would have to sleep in the little bed if she could not be still (we have a toddler mattress in our room).  She seemed to think that was a fun idea because she got down and started playing on that bed.  

I was laying there, sad, thinking we might have to stop cosleeping (and hating that idea) when she started playing with the humidifier.  Turning it on and off.  I asked her to stop.  Then I told her to stop.  She kept playing with it.  I saw my hand dart out and hit her arm away from the knob.  She turned and looked at me with such shock in her eyes, and as she started to cry said "You hit me".  

I have never done anything I am so sorry for and ashamed of in my life.  I hit my sweet child.  I immediately hugged her and apologized, but oh my god, how do I move past that.  How do I know I won't do it again?  I remember my dad's anger as I was growing up and I NEVER want my girl to be scared of me like that.  

We are going to try something new tonight.  We'll all go up when I am ready to go to bed, read books, nurse, and then she'll get up with Papa and play for a while more.  I hope this works.  I am going to try to keep my head straight when I am so tired and get up and walk away if I need to.  But how do I come t terms with last night.  This is not who I am or who I want to be.

post #2 of 10
You are taking steps to correct the situation. That, I suspect, is very different than what you were raised with. Get sleep and take care of yourself. That's the best thing you can do, at this point. If you lose sleep because of your guilt, you're more likely to repeat the incident. When you start thinking about it, imagine what you will do next time, instead.
post #3 of 10
Big hugs mama! Unfortunately many (most?) parents at one point or another get beyond their patience and make a mistake they regret. Yes you lashed out but you did apologize and reconnect and explained what happened. There's no magic cure to get past it, only time. The best avenue is self care so you have your needs met and can stay patient and loving when you're near the end of your rope. Since being tired makes you vulnerable, try to get as much rest as you can and when you feel close to the edge, walk away for a minute to collect yourself. I hope you find some peace about this incident hug.gif
post #4 of 10

I have done this twice to my 2.5 yo and each time his shock and anger shame me so much. I apologize, we hug, and I explain how sorry I am and that I am not feeling well/at the end of my rope though that is no excuse. Long afternoons with a new baby and spirited toddler who doesn't nap anymore try my patience many days.


On one the other hand, I'm so proud that my kid is outraged when I hit him. So glad he knows it's NOT allowed and that no one can treat him that way. And that he sees his mama making mistakes when overwhelmed with life. It gives me the opportunity to grow as a mother and show him I fail and need to make amends. And as DH said, my toddler hits us on a daily basis while having tantrums (as I said, he's VERY spirited :) ) and I've only hit him twice. This may seem like an awful thing to say but it made us laugh when I'm tearily going over my day with DH when the kids finally fall asleep. 


What I'm trying to say is: you apologized, you are changing the situation, and your child is recovering happily. Forgive yourself and move on. Do the best you can next time. I'm sure you are a wonderful mother 99% of your child's life, remember that. No one is perfect and your child NEEDS to see that. Better to see it without hitting, but ah, oh well. redface.gif Hugs to you mama!!

post #5 of 10
(I also come from a dark past and know how it is to look back, grind your soles into the dirt and say, "I won't do that" and I also have made this mistake.)

Things to keep forefront in your mind now and in the back of your mind later.

Part of knowing where the boundary is...is to cross it. This does not excuse your behavior but should put in perspective. This is as important for you as your child. You should learn to become vocal about your emotion state (but never make it her responsibility..." I'm getting frustrated" vs "you are making me so mad")
Learn consistent terms to describe where you are. I say: I'm getting nervous, then i am nervous then I'm getting frustrated then I'm frustrated then I'm getting angry the I'm angry, then I'm losing control (well, that I usually yell). This helps both my kids know where I am, what happens now and next and it helps me know that I'm getting to the breaking point so I can try to pull back or remove myself from their presence.

We all get angry. We all lose our temper.
You will be pushed to the edge again. You may not see it coming. You may or may not react more, less, or equally so.
And with all that its okay.
You are not your father.
You are stronger.

You must forgive yourself or the pain and guilt will be equally damaging.

If it happens again...
It is okay to cry
Apologize as much as necessary
Please explain this behavior is not ok and you should not have reacted like that. (This helps her understand not only the behavior but also the importance of apologizing after lashing out in an inappropriate manner.)
But also take the time to pull everything back and slow it all down so you can be you again.

Like when she is naughty, when its over and in the past, there it stays. It is not necessary to talk about it two weeks later but if questions come up answer them.

If this doesn't help do something together like read a book. I have played iPad games and it helps us wind down.

Lastly, I have found the special part of raising a girl (I suspect the same may be true for dads and sons) is this a chance to love and parent the way you should have been loved and parented and in so doing when you heal her wounds, you can heal your own.

Hope you feel better...and this upfront honesty of putting it on this sight will help keep you in check.

Hope this helps...
Love peace and understanding
post #6 of 10

I wanna say thank you for being honest about your actions. So many times, this kind of "losing it" happens to most of us at one point or another and we are too shamed to speak about it. Your courage and bravery say a lot. 


I too have had shameful moments in my parenting. Repair is 98% of parenting. Be compassionate with yourself and continue to find the support you need to take care of yourself. and sleep --- it's a precious precious thing. My heart goes out to you. 



post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thank you everyone for your support and suggestions.  It seems that I shocked myself (and her) so much that I believe I really won't do it again, but our sleep issues only seem to be getting worse.  And when I don't get enough sleep, I am super-emotional.  So now, instead of yelling, I break down crying, and I am not sure that is any better.  She won't go with papa so I can fall asleep when she is not ready, she only wants to be with me.  But I am breaking down and feel myself distancing from her and I hate it.  I can't stop crying.  How do you be the mother you want to be and the one your child deserves when you feel empty?  I honestly feel like my husband can not help, he hates being on the receiving end of her crying.  I don't blame him, but I feel exhausted like a single parent and don't know what to do.  Where can you find the emotional reserves to ride out times like this?  I know it's not permanent, but I feel like I can not be the mother she needs because I just want her to sleep so I can sleep.

post #8 of 10

Hugs to you.  Is is possible to make the room so child-proofed that you can lay down and sleep with her in the room doing her own thing and not worry about her turning the humidifier off/on or whatever else she can do to keep you awake?  The fact that she is even willing to be in the toddler bed would be encouraging to me.  Does she respond to music?  Could you put a CD player up high and play a CD that would calm her and allow her to relax towards sleep while you sleep?  I also sympathize with you feeling like you're a single parent.  Our mama challenges feel twice as hard when it seems like no one is willing to inconvenience themselves to help us the way we are inconvenienced to help others.  Does that make sense?  I think that it might be time for your DH to step up to the plate and really co-parent which means being a parent even when our children are not at their best.  He needs the chance to create his own rhythms with your daughter and it might take a week or more of dealing with her crying but I would think that with some perseverence, the two of them can come to an understanding about what nighttime looks like after you've gone to bed.  Really, it seems like the choice for your daughter is stay in the room with you while you sleep and safely entertain herself until she falls asleep or say goodnight to Mama and have fun with Papa until its her bedtime.  If this choice is offered calmly and consistently night after night, which is very hard, I know, I think that you will see some changes. 


Some more hugs to you.  Sleep deprivation is the hardest thing in the world.    

post #9 of 10

Oh chrisnjeri-- I can so relate! We seem to be past our sleep issues now (knock on wood!) but DS was a terrible sleeper up until 27 months or so. I can so clearly recall that feeling of absolutely losing it-- reaching the end of my rope and either exploding (I grabbed DS's arm way too hard once-- and have never admitted that to anyone until now...) or just crumbling into hysterical sobs. I resonate with what you said about distancing yourself from your DD-- I remember feeling like I had nothing left to give and feeling resentful that DS kept asking and needing and not being satisfied (even though I knew logically that he was incapable of doing anything else at that stage.) Sleep is really really precious and really important to well being. It's taken me almost 6 months to really recover from 2.5 years of sleep deprivation.


I second what AndtheStars suggested about asking DH for more help. Maybe if he and DD could do something special (yet still relaxing and calming) she would be more open to being with him at night? Maybe even a "good night" show? (I know that's not a very kosher idea, but I believe that desperate times call for desperate measures...) Or if TV is completely out of the question, maybe DH could walk DD around the block in a stroller or a pack until she's drowsy? Just throwing ideas out there...



post #10 of 10
Originally Posted by AndtheStars View Post

Hugs to you.  Is is possible to make the room so child-proofed that you can lay down and sleep with her in the room doing her own thing and not worry about her 


This is what I suggest, and what I did when my daughter got in the habit of being awake for 1-3 hours in the middle of the night, for a few months at a time,  in 2 different stages between about 15-18 months, and again shortly after she turned 2.  She always started out the night in her own bed and I laid to sleep with her,  then I'd go do my thing, then go back to her room whenever she woke up.  Her room was totally locked down - all furniture bolted to the wall, roller shades on the windows (no mini blinds/cords), only her safe toys, no lamps, no other electronics. Baby gate on the door.  So I'd doze off, and she'd do whatever until she was ready to climb back in bed with me (at this point DH and DS were cosleeping in our bed).  That safe room was useful in so many ways, so many times.  Assuming/hoping you do have a room that eventually will be hers, I'd get a twin mattress in there STAT and just plan on falling asleep in there, which may mean sleeping away from the husband for a while - but it's such a short timespan in the grand scheme. 


Our kids coslept part time with us until they were at least 5, each.....having their own room/own bed does not mean the end of cosleeping!

Edited by The4OfUs - 4/10/13 at 9:35pm
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