I write here (and do most of my work for running my business) in the mornings and the evenings, apart from the time I spend actively parenting my kids. I get up early, and I work after their bedtime. Last night was my turn to "give bed" and Pete was at a class.
For many days transitioning the kids toward sleep has taken longer and longer. The sun is shining later, the neighborhood is alive with sounds, and spring fever is upon them. They giggle and fidget and argue and complain and talk and pop out of bed until an hour or more after bedtime.
Last night was no different.
And my work was waiting. And the Peaceful Parenting series was waiting (you didn't get a new post this week, and Friday was coming fast). And my one brief break from parenting for the day was waiting. (And if I could get my work done fast enough my kitting would be waiting too.)
I found myself getting frustrated. Irritated. Short with my kids. Wanting to scream, "Hurry up and go to sleep FOR GOODNESS SAKE so that I can go and write about being a better mom. DO IT NOW!"
(No, I didn't say it.) I was, however, terse with them for a minute, walked out of the bedroom, and sat down in the dark living room to collect myself. I took a few deep breaths and everything came into focus. Was I really being impatient with them so I could help you become more patient with yours?
I went back to their room. I apologized. I asked them what they needed. We looked for a solution. I told them what I needed. (Some time for myself. Some time for my work. Their help in smoothing out the bumps in the road to bedtime. More quiet-laying-in-bed time after we said goodnight.) I assured them that sleep would indeed come if they stopped coming out to tell me that they were still awake. We hugged and kissed and cuddled once more and said our "I love you"s once more too.
They went to sleep.
It was an hour later than usual (which meant that I didn't have time to write) but they went to sleep just the same. They always fall asleep. But sometimes I stop being graceful along the way.
And so this week there will be no NVC parenting post. Because making the conscious choice to be a more peaceful mother seemed like better parenting than writing that post could have ever been.
I chose to be patient and present with my kids, to connect, to apologize, to choose a more nurturing path than punishment or reward could ever provide, to look for the feeling behind the behavior, and to validate. I chose to stop, re-boot, and remember what kind of mom I want to be.
And then I drank my tea and went to bed. No writing, no knitting, just tea. And I fell asleep knowing that last night being a better parent was far more important than writing about it parenting could ever be.