After ten minutes of her releasing a flood of emotions, she was able to articulate that she thought she was scared. As we discussed it further she came to realize on her own that she wasn’t really scared, but anxious.
Anxious she wouldn’t be able to find her favorite shirt.
Anxious her favorite necklace was lost forever.
Anxious the cat got lost among the walls of brown boxes.
This list went on.
In this moment of pure exhaustion, I had to remember that this wasn’t about her trying to not go to bed. She had a need she didn’t know how to address. The need was expressed by her asking for seemingly mundane requests just so I could physically be there to lean on.
Parenting is hard. It would probably be easier if we could simply say goodnight, give hugs and kisses, and close the door until morning. But the reality is that parenting doesn’t stop just because the lights turn off. For us, it was this time of day that the night terrors crept in, the need for connection finally settled onto an unsettled heart, and the need for my presence was the most vital.
In fact, I sometimes believe nighttime is when the rubber meets the road. It’s when I have to dig deep, push through my exhaustion, find my own calm and realize this is the most opportune time to be my children’s comfort and their safe place.
To be their parent.
Republished with permission from The Consciously Parenting Project.
Jessica has been married for 14 years to her best friend, and is a mama of two girls, ages 7 and 4. She graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Early Childhood Education and a Masters in Reading Education, but chose to stay home to help raise and homeschool her girls in a gentle, conscious way.