Night Fear

After telling T that I was done, done, done. Done. DONE. That I wouldn’t go back up to his room. That he would be in huge trouble if he called for me. After telling him all that I joined my father in the living room and said, “I hate myself right now.”

T is scared at night. It’s been going on for the last few months. We talk about what scares him. I make up stories about what will protect him. At our house it is his Star Wars Sheets, the Millenium Falcon toy that hangs from his ceiling, the blinds and curtains which are magic and won’t let the bad guys in. At my folk’s house it is his bear shirt and tiger. When we go out to eat and the cutlery is wrapped in a napkin with a rectangle of paper pasted into a circle I carefully open it and draw treasure maps and teenage mutant ninja turtles for him. A pile of them protected him last night.

The usual stuff didn’t comfort him. He told me he was still scared. But I was frustrated. I need a few fucking hours to myself before doing it all again in the morning. I told him I was done. I told him not to be scared. And I left.

When I was T’s age I was terrified of night time. As I would lay in bed, sure that someone was coming to murder me, I’d swear to myself that I’d figure out how to comfort my own child someday.

T has a long bedtime routine filled with special attention and traditions. I want to be able to take away his fear. I want to live up to the promises I made myself as a terrified little girl about how I’d raise my own kids. And yet I had the balls to tell him not to be scared. Total bullshit. He is scared. It is legitimate. And it is piss poor parenting for me not to validate his feelings. Piss poor.

I’m tapped out. I can’t figure out how to comfort him. I can’t figure out how to comfort myself. Lately my whole day is focused around how many hours there are until bedtime when I can get away from the kids. I forget to be grateful for everything I have and fantasize about how awesome it must be to get a break from the day to day. I am jealous of Z. I know he misses us, but I also know how incredible it must be to sleep alone for a month with zero responsibility for any other humans. I resent him for getting the break. I hate myself for being such a petty bitch.

I fail at this parenting business. I put my scared kid to bed and left because I can’t be Mom for one more fucking second in this day, really I can’t be Mom tomorrow either but I don’t have  a fucking choice. I hate myself. I hate myself for failing him. And I hate the parents who get it right. Those who have endless reserves of patience and understanding. Parents who soldier on even though they haven’t gotten a lot of sleep. Parents who don’t yell. Parents who are winning at this raising-small-humans gig.

I’m a bad mom. I’m a bad mom. I’m not good enough for him. I fail him constantly. I’m selfish and I want to escape. I fail him. I suck. I hate myself. And it would be easy to wallow in it all. Thankfully I recognize that rolling around in the filth of my self loathing is a well established pattern. It’s my mental illness taking over–I suck and I will always suck and there is nothing I can do about it.

Fuck that. I’m not doing that anymore. My boys are too important. There is something I can do to help the situation. I can start over tomorrow. He isn’t getting another Mom. I’m the Mom he’s got. So I will attempt to do better.

I love him so much. I love him and his brother and his father. I love him and I will fail him and I will have to try and do better the next day countless times as I’m raising him. Christ, it is painful.


It rained all day and we were stuck inside. Out of desperation I took them into the rain after dinner to splash in puddles.

t in rain

He asked me to take his picture and then did this nonsense.

c in the rain

My very wet littlest man.


2 thoughts on “Night Fear

  1. SO hard. I have been struggling with similar feelings lately. We’re sorta-weaning and Potamus has been extra clingy (and Boof has been working until 11 every night. UGH!). I know that if I just laid next to him he would sleep better, but I want to sleep IN MY OWN BED! One night of losing my temper made me freak out that I’m going to be an abusive parent and ruin all the good attachment I’ve built up with him. It’s so hard, you know, the being needed constantly thing.

    Sorry you’re in the midst of this.

    • And sorry you are in the middle of it as well. I totally understand where you are coming from. And intellectually I get that beating ourselves up about it is not going to make anything better, but man is it hard. I wish you luck.

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