You have no idea how much I wish I’d posted a little something about my Sleeping Arrangements before my trip.
Wow, I could have really used your right-on advice before I’d packed my bags and flown across the Pacific. (As I just read your comments over again, I kept thinking, “Why hadn’t I thought of that?”). In fact, this topic has generated some very lengthy conversations recently with that Lucky Guy — talks lasting even longer than that time we had our Facebook fight.
Here’s where I went wrong from the start: I didn’t have a plan.
When we’d first reserved our little condo in Hanalei, I should have looked carefully at the bed situation and come up with a solid course of action.
After reading about my sleeping dilemma this weekend, Dr. Leah from Singlemommyhood shot off an email to me. First, she gently teased me about the fact that, before I know it, M will be off to college, where she’ll probably sleep on a college dorm bed similar to that cot. Who knows? She might even beg me to go away for Spring Break with her girlfriends, assuring me that she’s fine about sleeping on a bare floor.
“Balking at sleeping on the cot in Hawaii had nothing to do with the cot,” explained Dr. Leah.
“M was testing the limits. She likely felt a bit of competition with LG. M is used to having Rachel’s undivided attention. And kids sense our vulnerabilities. M was aware that Rachel had great difficulty with their separation despite Rachel’s stellar airport performance. M didn’t need the all-night physical attachment to Rachel. Rachel may have longed for it, especially since M had grown up quite a lot during her solo vacation. But these were Rachel’s needs — not M’s needs.”
Dr. Leah went on to point out that: “Sleeping arrangements are an adult decision.”
Oh, yes, I’m the grown up here. It was up to ME to decide that that adults would sleep in the bedroom with the locked door — and my child would sleep on the cot in the living room. Before boarding the plane, I should have sat M down and mapped out the plan like this:
I’m embarrassed to say how it really played out: we played musical beds. Yes, LG spent a night on the sofa and another night on the cot (I know, I know), and M fell asleep on the floor one night from pure exhaustion… so he and I did get to share the big bed. (If you’re wondering if he and I fooled around at all after-hours, there’s nothing at all to wonder about.)
Although setting boundaries is still sometimes a struggle, Dr. Leah is encouraging me to change. “You need to show her how to share attention, cope with a bit of disappointment, and accommodate the wishes of others” says Dr. Leah. “This will contribute much to your kid’s happiness and success in adulthood.”
To those of you who want to bop me on the head right now, go ahead. I can take it.
To those of you who are struggling with similar issues when it comes to setting boundaries, I’d love to hear about them.
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