Like most parents, I have an invisible crutch that I’d rather other parents didn’t see.
It’s something that I heavily rely on to get through the night. It’s also something that I’m not brave enough to give up – although I have attempted to on a number of occasions.
For me, it’s the midnight milk.
At 2 (26m if you want to be precise), Georgia still wakes in the middle of the night. Every night. For a bottle of milk.
I wish she didn’t. I’m a sleep-aholic and not having a full night’s sleep is killing me. Before I was a parent people told me that I’d get used to the lack of sleep. In fact it gets worse the longer I’m deprived of it.
I long for those Sundays where you stay in bed. When you wake up by opening your eyes naturally and think “you know what, I’ve had a full night’s sleep but I’m going back to sleep BECAUSE I CAN”. Those days are long gone and I mourn their loss.
In the middle of the night – which means anything from 11.30-4am – we get Georgia a bottle when she wakes. It makes her sleepy enough to go back to the land of nod and takes about 15 minutes with minimal fuss.
It’s enough to disrupt our sleep and enough for us to know that we’d rather not be doing it.
Speaking from experience, she overreacts explosively to not being given milk, making her even more awake and in no sense ready to go to bed. She turns into the kid off of the exorcist, contorting her body, screaming like the Tasmanian devil and soaking my top through with her epic tears.
I’ve made my bed (although would like to sleep longer in it) with the midnight milk and just keep telling myself it won’t be forever.
As a parent, I do ANYTHING I can to make our lives easier, to make her happy – within reason. Call me chief corner-cutter if you may, but it works for us… kind of.
This is my crutch and yes it is a pain, but that’s just parenting isn’t it? Only miracle children grow up without making their parents have at least one crutch to hobble by on.
It might be giving your kid fish fingers for tea because it’s the one thing you know they’ll eat (there’s nothing wrong with that by the way, we flippin’ love fish fingers).
It might be giving your son a dummy when he’s upset because you know it will calm him down.
It might even be carrying around a manky blanky everywhere because you know they’ll have a meltdown without it.
Bottom line? It works… for now
What unites all these crutches is that we KNOW that they work.
We KNOW that yes, it’s not ideal. That people will judge our parenting decisions. But we also know that it won’t matter one tiny bit when they’re older. And? It makes them happy. No one has ever died from eating a non-organic fish finger.
I’m yet to meet a teenager who carries around a manky blanky, nor meet an adult that has a quick suck on a dummy when they’re feeling stressed. I am REALLY sorry for putting that mental image in your head. Especially if you’re picturing your boss.
Whatever it is, we do anything to help them. Sometimes we may not be happy with ourselves for ‘letting in’, but actually? We’re just doing what we can.
Is that all that bad?
I have to pick my battles carefully, else I’ll spend all day (and all night) saying no, being a party pooper and generally being an angry person.
One day, I – like many other parents – will be ready to cast aside the crutch. Either by facing the issue and resolving it, or by our kids just growing out of it. The time will one day be right.
But for now? Pass me a bottle (and perhaps pass me the vino too).