So many rules

I have about 100 rules. These rules vary from keeping myself on task, keeping the house organized and keeping the kids in line.

Today, as I sit awake at 1:30am, I realize most of these rules are arbitrary.

Tonight I’ve broken about 5 rules (give or take), and you know what, I don’t feel bad about my rebel ways.

First, I did not finish all of my charting from this past work-week before I went to bed. I had a goal, and often my goals become my rules.  I just couldn’t do it. I’m tired (I’ll explain why I’m still awake soon) and I have a headache.  So you know what, the charting has to wait.  Also, rule #2 broken, I don’t even have a plan as to when I will finish my work.  I just don’t care. It will get done.. Maybe next week, but it will happen.

Today S was being a bit of a pain. I love her, but it’s true. She earned so many “strikes” today that she lost her blue bunny, her monkey and her bed tent.  I was so “over” her behavior.  She was in time-out for about an hour, collectively, today.  I was so excited when she went to bed, because she and I both needed some time apart.

Around 12:30am, little Miss S woke up, came down to our room and said she had to poop. Well kid, you passed two bathrooms on the way, did you really need to wake me?

I believe the answer to that is, yes.  Despite my happiness that her poop strike is over (see blog post “poop”), I am tired and couldn’t care less if she had to poop. Nonetheless, I took her to the bathroom, she didn’t poop, and then she started whining and crying.

So, we have not used diapers for S in a few months, but honestly, who cares? I broke the rule.  I put a pull-up on her. And in the back of my mind I am thinking “I hope I didn’t just derail all of the potty training we’ve accomplished.”

Then, she told me she “had” to sleep in bed with me.

I don’t co-sleep. This is for the safety of my children. I am a deep sleeper and I thrash around. No one is safe near me (my husband barely sleeps, ever, so he’s learned to dodge my flailing limbs).

Well, despite my “no co-sleeping” rule, I let S in bed with me (my husband is out of town).  She clearly needs me. She has been “difficult” all day, is restless and tearful. This kid needed some snuggles.

I didn’t fall asleep, but instead I spent the last hour letting her rub my head (my kids love hair.. Story for a different day) and snuggle as close to me as she wanted. S eventually calmed down and fell asleep.

Knowing she’s not safe in bed with me, I decided to go on the couch..I didn’t get far before I got caught escaping. She woke up and said she wanted to go to bed. Perfect! On the way up, she asked for blue bunny and monkey.

Well, I broke another rule. I got them for her. I gave them to her and she was so relieved to have them back. She snuggled them and was ready to sleep in her own room. And in the back of my mind I am thinking “great, now my threats of taking these away will never work again.”

As I got her back in her room, she asked if she could sleep with the light on.  Well, kid, is 1:30am so I don’t care what you do.  Ok, I do care… And the answer is usually no.  But tonight, it is yes.  So now she’s in her room, with a diaper on, holding blue bunny and monkey, sleeping with her lights on… And you know what, I feel like a winner.  I don’t feel like I failed because I broke a rediculous amount of arbitrary rules.

S clearly needs something right now. I don’t know what it is, love? Attention? Cold medicine? Sleep? To poop? I have no clue, but if breaking some rules gives her emotional and physical comfort, it’s well worth it.

I have a hard time getting my head around the idea that not every day sets the tone for how life will be forever.  I am so strict about sticking to my rules because I feel like if I bend or break one, bad habits will form.

I think this is partially true. I think S and A have grown accustomed to certain regularities, and when I change things, they (especially S) notice.  This can lead to some manipulation.  S forgets nothing, so if I tell her “you can’t get out of your seat until you say ‘thank you for dinner'” she will remind me of the time that wasn’t true and she got up from dinner all “willy-nilly.” This type of behavior makes me tighten the reigns even more.

But as I reflect on it, I realize it’s a flaw in me.  I need to be a better parent and explain to my kids there are rules, and no one is perfect. Sometimes rules get broken but it isn’t an excuse to forget them. There are many situations that call for an adjustment of regular behavior, and the kids need to learn how to be flexible, but also continue to remember their baseline rules and values.  It’s up to me to remind them.

So, today I broke a ton of my rules, but in the end, I have a satisfied 3 year old who is now comfortably asleep.

I will try to not feel like a failure because tonight did not go as planned. Instead I will find peace in the fact that everyone is safe and happy.

Tomorrow will be a new day. We will go back to the strike system, there will be no co-sleeping, S will thank me for her meal before getting up from the table and we will try to get back on track.   I’ll try my best to teach the girls what I expect of them, but if it doesn’t work out, we’ll start again on Monday, because I will not let one independent day set the tone for the girls’ entire future. ❤

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