A Confession About Sleep

…and lack thereof.

My confession? Last evening, I lost my temper and patience with my dearest daughter and slapped her. Not a hard slap; a jolt with my fingertips on her cheek. Not enough to hurt her, just shock and upset her and hurt me.

Let me tell you the story that led to this very weak moment…

Friday night, I was tired. Really tired. Physically, Mentally and emotionally.

I had an extremely busy work week – insanely busy even. I’d worked out HARD everyday (starting two new exercise classes), kids were back in their activities and lots of homework, I had another new adventure to think about that came up this week and I’d been trying to cram in and catch up on reading/writing I had to get done.

I knew I was tired. I knew it, and I ignored it. I did not listen to my body.

We had plans to go out to a friend’s place, have a bevy and play a board game. Something we try to do regularly. Krystal was also starting her exercise group after supper and I wanted to support her in that.

I went to her exercise class. My body complained about it pretty much every step of the way. That was Sign #1. I ignored my body and pushed through.

We then went out to the friend’s place. We had fun, but stayed later than we planned, I was yawning constantly – Sign #2. All of us were taking our kids to see the Olympic Torch run through town early the next morning. Thankfully, I only drank 1 drink.

The next morning came and we were in a rush to get everyone downtown to see the Torch – not something I was willing to have my kids miss. I found myself yelling at my very tired daughter – they had been up late too waiting for us to pick them up from the babysitters. She wanted to go, was tired and hungry, and was overwhelmed by the prospect of finding something to wear. I yelled several times at her before we finally got out the door – Sign #3.

We walked down to see the relay and my 10 year old daughter had more maturity than her lunatic mother – she apologized to me for being uncooperative. She apologized to ME – the person that was yelling at HER. I didn’t see the irony in that until today; that was Sign #4.

We then had plans to do our monthly group “cooking” day. This is a new thing we three families are doing – getting together to compile 6 to 8 freezer meals for the family. A great idea that will save us money, time, and frustration when we don’t know what to have for supper. Ready-made (and homemade, healthy) meals in the freezer. Anyway, we had planned to do this yesterday. The first time we did it, the kids weren’t around. This time, ALL the kids were around.

You can guess how many times we were interrupted. How many times we had them underfoot. How we had to squeeze in getting some lunch for them, etc. It was fun and very worth it; but I could feel my impatience and frustration and even resentment that we had to deal with the kids while we were trying to accomplish this task! You can imagine how much stuff is everywhere when you’re trying to compile a recipe for 6 meals at once! I knew I was on the breaking point. Again, I ignored it – Sign #5.

Then, when we were done, we were babysitting some of the kids back at our house. The girls wanted to bake in the Easy-Bake oven. They made a mistake and asked for my help. I helped, but I noticed my lack of patience as a heaved several big sighs at the mess and trying to repair their mistakes. I was clearly annoyed. Again, the 10 year old daughter apologized over and over and I just got more annoyed. Sign #6.

Afterward, I decided to go downstairs and try to watch a movie with my husband while the kids played. We must have been called upstairs at least 5 times by the kids. Each time, I would sigh or curse under my breath and go grumpy up the stairs to attend to whatever the need was. Sign #7.

Finally, it was supper time. My husband had made supper, clearly in fear of me being grumpy, so he offered to make it. I knew he was tippy-toeing around me. I could tell. Again, I ignored it. Sign #8.

I allowed the kids to eat in the living room simply because I didn’t want to deal with the fight. I took their food out there, found myself barking at them to eat at the coffee table, not all over the place. My poor daughter was the last one in there because she and her brother had been play-wrestling (that I had yelled about a few minutes prior – Sign #9) and she was the last to get over to the table.

She didn’t get the “spot” she wanted. She whined. I completely SNAPPED. I grabbed her food and yelled at her that she would then have to sit in the kitchen by herself. She whined some more. Then she yelled back at me as I yelled at her. My husband stood there and watched the scene, saying nothing. It was then that I slapped her and she stormed off to her room and slammed her door.

I yelled at my husband about kids and their back talk and fighting amongst themselves etc. etc. He just listened, didn’t say anything. Suddenly, I just listened to myself. I found myself seeing all of those signs from the day. I knew that I had screwed up, especially with my daughter. I decided to correct it right then and there.

I went to her door and knocked. She didn’t say anything, but I went in anyway and immediately apologized to her. I apologized for the slap and the yelling. Most of all, I admitted that I had lost my temper and my patience and I apologized for that. I apologized for the mistakes I’d made all day. And I hugged her. A LOT. I explained that I was tired and that it was my own fault that I was tired and apologized for taking it out on her.

Now, some may disagree with me for apologizing to my daughter. Some say you shouldn’t let them see your weaknesses. I disagree. I think my kids need to know that it’s ok to make mistakes; that the important thing is to learn from them and try to fix it right away. I wanted my daughter to know that I knew that I had messed up and that I wanted to fix it. I wanted her to know that my behavior was inappropriate.

This all stemmed from the fact that I was so very tired. I did not listen to my body. I did not get the rest I needed after that week. I knew that I had a busy Saturday planned, and yet, I did not get to bed at a decent time. I ignored the signs that I was too tired to deal with things properly.

Part of fitness is listening to your body and getting the rest you need. I had even read a Happiness Project post this very week about the importance of sleep, yet I did not do that for myself, on Friday in particular.

That is my confession. The terrible mistake I made all because I didn’t get enough sleep.

I will learn from this though. I will try harder next time. I will try to listen to my body when it says, “Hey you! I’m tired! Time to get some rest!”

Last night, I went to bed at around 8:30. I could barely read a page (I always read at bedtime) before my lids were getting heavy. I listened. I turned off the light and got up at 6:30 today, refreshed, and ready to go again! And today will be a day of rest.

2 thoughts on “A Confession About Sleep

  1. … and we think our kids get grumpy when they don’t get enough sleep – we know they ARE! BUT they won’t admit that. Add that same brew to the authority figure of an adult in the house … and like you write, that is what we get. BUT we don’t admit that either.
    You are an honorable woman. Your integrity seeps out between the lines of the above blog post. My high regard for you, just grew immensely.

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