I glanced at the clock. Crap! Only 1 hour until the season 5 premiere of Mad Men. Still so much to do! Like clean up all these damn Legos scattered around, get the kiddo in the tub (and wash him, including his hair & teeth), and–the hardest and longest part–get him to sleep.
I thought, “I’ll never make it. No effing way.”
I zipped around the house, tossing toys into bins, shoving things into dresser drawers. Scooped up the kid and got him undressed and into the bath tub in a flash. There was none of the usual Twitter checking, status updating, magazine flipping during bath time. This one was all business.
At about 8:30, got Jax out of the tub, darted back to his bedroom, dressed him, tucked him in, and lay down beside him to help him fall asleep.
At 9, my husband texted me: “About to start. Good luck.”
That little “good luck” sent my blood pressure through the roof. In an instant, I was no longer snuggly mommy. I became angry mommy who wants her kid to go the eff to sleep so she can sip a glass of wine and hang on the couch for a few hours after a long day.
That’s something I very rarely–like, almost NEVER–get to do. Seriously.
I have a kid who sometimets really struggles with sleep. It takes up to an hour, maybe slightly longer, to get him to fall asleep on the bad nights. Many nights, he wanders out of his room awake only 15 minutes after I left him, thinking he was sound asleep. Those nights are frustrating for me because during those 15 minutes, I usually make myself comfortable with a tv show or a book or sometimes I even start to doze off myself and then WHAM–he’s awake and crying out for me. Or, better yet, stumbling into my bedroom looking for me.
So last night, when it seemed clear that I wouldn’t be joining most of the other moms I know, snuggled up on the couch watching the much-anticipated Mad Men premiere with their husbands or girlfriends or whomever, I got so angry and resentful.
I had to talk myself down. It took every ounce of strength this momma has to stay outwardly calm while the internal monologue shouted and screamed obscenities and “I never” and “it’s not fair” and “this always happens.” Jax tossed and turned and struggled to get comfortable next to me as I lay seething in the dark.
What eventually worked for me was empathy. I thought about what it must be like to be my son, trying to snuggle up with his momma. What a peaceful and beautiful way to drift off to sleep. And here I was, ruining it with my pleas for him to “just go to sleep! Now!”
I redirected my thoughts to his little button nose and his big blue eyes. I imagined him singing a song to me. I found myself smiling after a few minutes of this kind of thinking. I calmed down. I released my expectations, my desire to sit on the couch in front of the tv. Afterall, there would be plenty more tv shows, plenty of Mad Men episodes, even. I do have a DVR, and sure I guess I could avoid social media until I’ve caught up. I realized, “Ok, so what’s the big deal?” I understood that nights like this are limited. Jax won’t always want me to snuggle him to sleep.
Whaddya know, once I calmed down, so did he! Within 5 minutes, he was asleep and I made my escape. It was 9:37. My husband didn’t mind restarting Mad Men for me, and I stayed up much too late indulging in the premiere–which, by the way, I found funnier than any other Mad Men episode ever. I loved it, and my fondness for this show has been renewed after such a long hiatus and a lot of doubt they’d win me back.
And I learned an important lesson about redirecting my thoughts.
Did you watch the Mad Men season 5 premiere? What did you think (without spoiling it for those who weren’t as fortunate last night)?