I am a one and done kind of gal … sort of.
When it comes to parenting, I want to be right the first time and be done with it. I want the first time I start a bedtime routine to be THE routine, and for both my boys to respond with enthusiasm and obedience.
I get how comical that thinking is, but come on, isn’t there a joke about moms getting all the groceries out of the car in one trip? I’m THAT mom. I want to finish a task and move on. I also want to be really good at that task the first time.
Yet parenting is the exact opposite.
It’s a lifelong commitment to seek the best for each child during each season. Motherhood is my dream job, and it’s a mirror to my struggles. For example, on the flip side of being “one and done,” I’m also inconsistent in my routines. My boys (and I) need routine.
With much discomfort, I am embracing trial and error. Right now, my biggest focus is nap and bedtime routines. I tried being a strict nap mom, which included using the “dad” voice, and escalating to yelling and discipline. That was a huge error, and instead of continuing this pattern, I allowed them to watch 1.5 hours of TV while I rested. No one was yelled at, and I got to rest before afternoon meltdowns.
While it curbed the fighting, it didn’t benefit my toddlers who need to rest without TV.
Now we’re trying a “New Nap Routine.” Around 1 pm, everyday, I read them two books, tuck them in bed, and say “I’ll see you after nap time.” When Daddy’s home, they usually fall asleep quickly, even though he’s not the one tucking them into bed. When it’s just me, I usually have to place them back in their beds every 5-10 minutes and repeat “I’ll see you after nap.”
The hope is that in a few weeks, they’ll be used to the new routine with me, and actually settle down and sleep. I promised them I would not yell at them, and I haven’t so far. Sometimes I’m so worn out by their nap routine that I take a 15 minute nap when they get up, but the no yelling thing is still a huge win! I’m putting in the extra effort now, for what I hope will be a good routine for all of us (until they outgrow naps).
I don’t want to be a mom that is so stuck in her ways simply because it was the first thing I tried.
I want to put in the hard work for my boys’ sake. Hopefully I will be a good model of what healthy trial and error can be, so that when they face difficult tasks they won’t give up, and will instead strive to find the best (and healthiest) course of action.