Insomnia + Parenting Videos

I got a new full-body tattoo yesterday.

No, I didn’t. But the line I first typed was so boring and something I type at least once a week that I deleted it and decided to try to write something a little more interesting.

But y’all? I’m super tired. I’ve not been sleeping well. Part of this relates to practical causes like Wesley’s Middle Of The Night Growing Pains and Barking Dog Who Can’t Deal With The Animals In The Woods Behind Our House. But mostly? I just can not turn my brain off. I’m exhausted but I got up at 3am and started working my way through some bookmarked videos and articles that I’ve seen shared out or recommended and haven’t had time to watch/read.

So! I wanted to share something with you.

This is a speech recommended by my therapist (Drink!) as it relates to parenting.

Some of this video validates my apathy – especially as it relates to school. I learned early on with E that I’m a TERRIBLE Mom Of A Student. And it’s because my Dad was a TERRIBLE Dad of a Student. He didn’t understand academic struggles and therefore insisted on Straight As and there was a lot of yelling and anger surrounding school work. I caught a few tinges of that coming out in me with E and decided to just LET GO. I kept up with stuff but I didn’t set aside homework time every night, I didn’t even make sure he did his homework. I really tried to stay as “out of it” as possible because I was unable to find a middle ground between APATHY and INSISTING ON PERFECTION and I decided in the long run (because I’m scarred from the “INSISTING ON PERFECTION” experiences as a child) it was better to err on the side of APATHY.

I don’t get involved in PTA, I don’t email teachers when grades are bad to ask how we can do better, I don’t change class schedules, my kids do ALL of that because I’m unable to just get a “little bit” involved. I have to be “not at all” involved. And I’ve seen it have great results with E. He wrangled all of the schedule changes in high school and even opted into AP classes I didn’t insist upon. The only thing we did was put him in a ACT tutoring class as he inherited my test anxiety, but other than that? Academics was not something we worried about.

(He’s about to graduate from college, by the way. So, so far so good.)

Nikki is an easy student. She is set up to thrive in today’s academic environment without even a care from me so I’m not worried about her in the slightest. I can not bother and she’ll thrive indefinitely. As a matter of fact, she really wants to get into this special magnet school and I kinda have to care a little because I have to make sure we do the application process right and it’s weird because I didn’t even know her Principal’s name NOR her guidance counselor’s name.

So – that video made me feel better about all of that.

And better about not fretting about Wesley’s reading log. I fret a little because his teacher is unhappy when it’s blank, but I’m not fretting too much because – again – I don’t do well with the middle ground. I either have to NOT CARE AT ALL, or I end up being the crazy Mom insisting on him reading War & Peace before bed on Tuesdays.

And now this video validates all of my approaches to academics. I can say it was a DELIBERATE choice to make BETTER ADULTS and not just me trying not to be a crappy Mom. It also makes me feel better about doing so much OUTSIDE of being a Mother. It makes me feel better about random days of outside play when the reading log is waiting.

BUT! BUT! BUT!

On the other side of this video is me doing all of the things she tells me not to do.

I take it personally.
I try to help them avoid stress.
I don’t give them chores.
I put on their shoes for them.
I nag them.
I stifle play.
I try to fix things that are not broken.

It was a good video but it was also a little painful. Sometimes it takes other people pointing out our faults for us to see them, but then we have to deal with the shame of those faults and that’s the part that I struggle with. I struggle with the self-hatred when my faults are spotlighted. And sometimes this is hard because I get defensive and want to justify why I’m still putting my kid’s shoes on for him when he’s smart enough to program my cell phone.

But she also brought up the 12-step idea of HALT, when you get upset about something first ask yourself…

Are you:
Hungry
Angry
Lonely
Tired

And yes. Always. All of them.

So I’m exhausted and watching parenting videos that actually give me permission to let go and remind me the importance of self-care. I’m a terrible parent when I’m exhausted. But also? It’s okay to be not be a perfect parent. Sometimes the things we think are terrible “perfect” are actually damaging so maybe care a little less about the reading long and worry more about taking care of ourselves so our kids see that some days it’s not about them.

The problem lies in FORCING yourself to get sleep when your mind won’t shut off. I guess I make an appointment with my GP to get a prescription maybe to help me sleep? But I’m already 14 years behind on all of my other medical appointments so I need to probably make those first.

I’m falling asleep fine (although later and later every night, I’m enjoying hanging out with Donnie at night now after the kids go to bed) it’s just the STAYING asleep I’m struggling with. I went to bed at 10pm last night and woke up to look at the clock 5 times and finally gave up and got out of bed a little after 3am.

Of course we’ve had no rain here in years and the dryness has made everything dusty and I’ve also been having trouble with my eyes and my throat and my chest which also disrupts my sleep so it’s not just “KIM AND HER CRAZY BRAIN” it’s also “I MOVED TO THE MOJAVE DESSERT AND DIDN’T NOTICE” which is just a great thing to help with sleep.

Holy crap. This entry has been all over the place. Anyway. Watch the video. Send me sedatives. And rain.

ADDITION: I was going to tell you about TWO things and forgot and hit publish but here is the other thing I was going to share with you – and article about Anxiety & Aggression in kids and it’s great and timely since Wes’s pediatrician suggestion anxiety could be at the root of his aggression which BLEW MY DAMN MIND. I know how to spot anxiety when it manifests MY way, it never occurred to me that Wesley’s could be manifesting in an entirely different way but since I’ve shifted my approach a bit with him and considered the things around his aggression making him anxious? It’s been a lot easier to address the cause of some of his anger. It’s kinda mind-blowing.

5 Comments

  • Megan

    Totally relate to so much in this post, especially the apathetic parenting. When my oldest was in elementary and the littles were really little, I would make myself CRAZY about her schoolwork. I finally read a book by John Rosmund called “ending the homework hassle” or something like that. Anywho, the crux of the book was to not be a helicopter parent and let them be responsible with consequences attached. Since being a homeschool and public school parent, I’ve relaxed even further because so much of this is just busy work, IMO. And PTA…don’t even join anymore. ? Last note, the part about W’s aggression being anxiety based totally makes sense. That’s how anxiety manifested in my family of origin – it is harder to understand in a way, because it comes off as anger, but when you know that is what is is, it can be diffused. Btw, you are a great mom!! The level of care and love that you show your kids is amazing. In a world of helicopter parents, it’s hard to be the hands off parent, but ?? to you!

  • Lucy McConville

    Great post! Thank you! I am the same way about school support…all or nothing. I am struggling hard right now to find a middle ground…find a way to support him, but not demand perfection/helicopter. (He’s in 8th grade…a tough “transition” year in so many ways.)

    I would love to watch the video you talk about here…but I don’t see the link…? Am I just missing it (only half a cup of coffee so far…) or did you forget to include it in the post?

    Thanks!

    Oh, PS: Taking two 500mg melatonin at bedtime has really helped me as far as getting to sleep and staying asleep.

  • Lucy McConville

    Haha! Never mind! I see the link now. I read the post in my email and for some reason the link wasn’t in the email. I won’t do it that way anymore.

    I just love you! I’m so glad I found you. Thanks for talking to us so often!

  • yasmara

    I only realized relatively recently that my 11yo processes anxiety & stress as anger. It shouldn’t be that surprising, since I have that tendency too.

  • Kelli Oliver George

    I am also fairly not involved in my kids’ homework. Sometimes, I will ask if they have anything due, but I do that to help THEM remember so we can talk about their schedules (basically, I’m trying to teach them about planning, if that makes sense). I also don’t call teachers about bad grades. I am really involved in PTA because I like supporting our teachers and school, so I choose to do things that directly help with that (I’m the Hospitality chair, for example, because I LOVE putting together the meals for the teachers.

    I loved the lecture. Sometimes, I feel like such a slacker parent, but then I see some parents wringing their hands over every little thing and I just don’t want to live like that!