Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Mom Guilt Can Haunt Your Dreams

Yesterday was a really hard day, for a bunch of reasons. My mood was really low. I was exhausted. And very cranky. Boo was also off his game. I imagine waking up early for his first day back to school after vacation had something to do with it. Suffice it to say, we were not a good pair.
image from Kozzi.com

We fought over him not eating his dinner. We fought over him not turning off the TV. We fought over him refusing to do his homework. He contradicted me and talked back and was just basically being a huge ODD pain. And, unfortunately, I wasn't in a good place to cope with it.

At 8:30 I had had enough. I slammed his homework folder closed and announced it was time for bed. He could explain to his teacher why his homework wasn't done. He said he was still hungry. (He had been eating his dinner, in theory, for almost 2 hours at this point.) I said I didn't care. I was finished. I sent him to his room to put on his jammies and tuck himself in. And then I went to bed and ignored him.


The guilt was there, but I was still fuming. At 9:30 I went to check on him. He was still reading, and it took every ounce of my strength not to yell at him. I took the book, turned off his light, and left.

I guess we both fell asleep at some point. And eventually I started dreaming. But the guilt stayed with me.

In my dream we were at a hotel. Boo told me he wanted to swim, but I said no, we had to get ready to check out. He got mad and defiantly announced he was going to go to the pool on his own. I got mad and said fine. (Just typing that makes me shiver in the light of day.) He went, I stayed, and only later did the panic hit. In my dream I suddenly realised he was in the pool alone and couldn't swim. Was there a lifeguard? I didn't know. So I ran. And, of course, being a dream I couldn't find the pool at first. But when I did there was no one there, except my child, floating under the surface. I dove in fully clothed, but already knew I was too late. 

And then, thankfully, I woke up. And I ran to his room in real life to check and make sure he was ok.

A Happier Day
I can't get the dream image out of my head, so I thought I'd try to blog it away. The mind is a fascinating thing, and mom guilt is a strong force. Raising a child with behavioural challenges is not easy, and this is certainly not the first time we've gone to bed angry. But this dream is the worst guilt dream I've experienced so far. None of us is perfect, child or parent. I'm reminding myself of that fact this morning, and looking forward to a better evening for us tonight.

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