Monday, January 31, 2011

What My Selfishness Did Last Night

I'm actually writing this right after this happened but I am holding it for posting until tomorrow.  I need to talk about it but I feel it is to important for me to hide it tonight.  I was selfish tonight and it hurt my relationship with Little Man.  I grew impatient and put my needs before my child's and in turn lost something tonight that I treasured.  I am most certainly not looking to be forgiven either for what I did.  This post is for me so that I will not forget what I did tonight and the immediate consequences of my actions.
For two months we have been partially bed-sharing.  I nurse down and Little Man goes to bed in his crib in his room.  When he wakes at 1am, he comes into bed with me to nurse and fall asleep until my hubby comes to bed and takes Little Man back to his crib.  Most nights there is a second waking around 4ish and Little Man will stay with me until 5 when I wake for work.  That had been our routine.
With all the vacation and snow days our routine altered that Little Man was spending more time in our bed then not.  This past week he had begun refusing to nurse down at all and running around until 11pm and then coming straight into bed with me.  if hubby tried to take him to his crib at night he would refuse and fuss to stay in bed with me.  Most of me did not mind this but I could see that my hubby was not happy with his new arrangement since he mostly ends up on the couch.
Tonight my hubby started the bedtime routine without me - I was writing about my laundry footprint and came to join the routine when it was time to nurse.  I put on my lavender lotion and settled in the rocker my mother used to nurse me and my brother - the one I use every night with Little Man.  He nursed for 5 minutes and then scooted off and out the door.  He was down the hall back to play in the family room.  Long story short - he had an accident - I got upset and decided he needed to go to bed.  
Instead of trying to nurse him down or lay down with him in our bed, I put him in his crib.  I left the light on and began emptying trash cans while my son screamed, cried and pleaded with me to take him out.  
I can empathize with Arwyn when she wrote a few days ago about a really bad day she had.  In the post which I hope you will read she spoke of how we can hurt our children, "...but I have hurt him, caused him physical pain through deliberate action as surely as though I had raised my hand to him."  I caused Little Man pain because I could pretend to ignore his cries until I felt he was ready for me to pick him up.
I was immediately punished for this careless way of treating my child.  He refused to nurse.  He instead cried and sucked his fingers on my shoulder until he fell asleep without nursing.  
When I realized he was not going to nurse I knew immediately that what I had done was unforgivable.  My own son - the reason I am - refused the one thing only I can offer him.  My heart goes out to Lauren again in a different light now in her post Breastfeeding through pregnancy: My second-trimester experience.  When I first read that I felt awful for Lauren that she was in such a position that her milk had dried up and that her son was missing that part of their relationship and his bedtime routine and acting out because of it.  Now I find myself reacting poorly because I am missing out on my nightly adult time but for selfish reasons and not because nature has taken anything from me.  I can now feel ashamed with her for not understanding what our children needed from us at these moments in our parenting lows.
As the one year mark slowly approaches I am finding myself falling short in my expectations of myself as a parent.  I am hoping that in 26 days when he turns one that I can say we have moved past this and he has forgiven me.  I am hoping that I have found better ways to cope and that I am responding with love and not being selfish in the face of his needs.  Balance is what I hope to bring back to our family.


  1. Hugs mama, those moments are SO hard. I've been ashamed of my own behavior before, and it's so humbling to reconnect with your little one afterward and ask forgiveness.
    For example, a couple of days ago, we opened up a new game and played it as a family. Tom and I were so intent on "winning" (it's a cooperative game, so no one was "beating" anyone else) that we upset Kieran by not allowing him to play and figure out the game himself - it was "no, move it HERE! No, THIS is the best move." Come on guys - it's a game, he's 3, and we're busy taking every ounce of joy out of it!
    Tonight we played it again and Kieran had a little cry in the middle of it - still getting over his hurt from the other day :(

  2. That is so sad that Kieran was so upset he had another cry. I've gotten caught up in those moments when I taught preschool and with my younger cousins. It can be so hard sometimes to let them work it out. You get so caught up in the moment and fun you want it to continue.
    We've been working since I got home to settle down while nursing. He wants it but he is so mad he has to let me know first that he could 'take it or leave it' I think it is just part of the beginnings of his independence starting to show. I knew this part of breastfeeding was important to me but I did not realize how important it was. I have no idea what is going to happen when he really weans.

  3. Those are such tough mommy moments, when we react without thinking, because we are so worried about what were involved in or we just simply lose patience. I have been there several times with my daughter and I have say that it doesn't get easier as they get older, because now at 4 she can verbalize what she is feeling. I find that trying to not be too hard on myself and apologizing is the best thing to do. There are no books on how to parent and we all make mistakes from time to time.
    It will be fine and just remember you are still always going to be "Mommy" no matter what.


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