Home > Uncategorized > I’m not crazy, she’s crazy. Am I crazy?

I’m not crazy, she’s crazy. Am I crazy?

(Warning: long ranting post about shit with my mom. I’m bored with it, certainly you must be, too. But I need to get it out before my head explodes. Sorry.)

The Child spent Friday with my dad. The point was to go fishing and camping, but the rain happened and they only got to go fishing.

When Dad and I did the hand-off — and every other time I talked to him about this little adventure — I made of point of saying that The Child needed to go to bed on time. She’s been giving up her nap and tired. It was the day after the last day of school and that was a big deal. She is tired. She needs to go to bed on time. I know that’s early, but she really needs it.

My Dad mentioned a carnival that comes to my hometown once a year. I reiterated that the carnival starts kinda late and she needs to go to bed on time. If she falls asleep in the car, it can be a little later, but she really needs to go to bed on time.

When I called Friday night, on the way home from the movie, it was after 8 pm. I don’t know why I had deluded myself into thinking they would put her down on time, but I had.

They were literally walking in the door. She should have been asleep for at least an hour and a half, preferably more, and they were just walking in the door. (Weird kid quirk: She wakes up at the same time every day, regardless of when she went to sleep. She just can’t sleep past 6 a.m. So a late bed time means less sleep, not a later morning.)

Then Saturday was a big day. We went strawberry picking with both the grandfathers as a Father’s Day celebration — my mom, the husband’s aunt, and my brother were there. The Child was hyper and then cranky. I was cranky a little already and my mother kept getting political, just to be difficult. (My parents are picket fence Republicans. The Husband’s father is a nudist hippy commie.) The dinner ran a little late, despite my best efforts. I tried dealing with The Child’s exhaustion as best as I could, but it was hard and I was probably not super-subtle about being annoyed that I had to deal with it.

Sunday was difficult. She was so tired she couldn’t nap. She was hyper and bouncing off walls — literally. I moved dinner up an hour so that she could go to be an hour early and she still fell asleep at the table. I had to catch her before she wound up face-down in the tacos.

As we’re trying to put her to sleep at 4:30, knowing how hellishly difficult the night was going to be because of the super-early bed time, my mother called.

It was bad timing. I was angry at her already for a whole host of reasons. I shouldn’t have answered the phone.

“Was that you that just called?”

“No, I didn’t call.”

“Oh. I was in the bathroom and heard the phone ring but couldn’t get to it in time. I thought it might be you.”

“No, we’re putting The Child down to sleep.”

“Already!? It’s only 4:30!!”

“Well, she’s tired. She fell asleep at the dinner table.”

Long long pause. Then, in a challenging voice, “I guess she had a big day yesterday.”

“That and she went to bed two hours late on Friday.”

“Why do you say it like that!! Like it’s our fault!”

“You put her to bed two hours late!”

“Every child can handle a late night once in a while, Amanda!”

“Not the week after–”

“No, no, I don’t care. I don’t want to hear it! Whenever you leave her with us, you are always unhappy!”

“Because you always mess up her sleep schedule!”

Well, I won’t record the rest, you get the point. It wound up with me saying, in a tired and angry voice, “good night, I love you, I’ll talk to you later,” and she hung up on me in the middle of it.

(Of course, The Child woke up at 1:30, starving to death because she’d fallen asleep during dinner. And then it was difficult to get her back to sleep… so I’m wiped today.)

I’m angry, of course. And tired. Mostly I don’t know what to do. I need to get my brain to a place where I’m not going to scream at her and say terrible things if I talk to her again. She called not half an hour ago and I let it go to the machine. Her message was typical mom: “I’m just calling to check on the baby girl. To see….. if she’s getting enough rest.”

Normally, when Mom and I fight, we just ignore it the next time we talk. But I don’t want to do that this time. I need her to understand that what’s best for my child is my decision, not hers. That if she wants to spend time with The Child (and without me), she’s going to need to to follow my rules. They aren’t outrageous rules: Put her to bed on time. Not too many sweets. No TV. That’s not crazy, is it? It’s not insane to be angry when she violates those rules and my life sucks for a week afterwards thanks to her violation?

It’s too much to hope for an apology. But I don’t know that I’m going to be able to talk to her until I get one.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. June 22, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    the child sleeps from 6 pm to 6 am?
    tell your mom that when the child is older she MIGHT be able to handle a more flexible bedtime, but for the foreseeble future you are acting according to your pediatrician’s advice [or homeopath or dietician or whatever]
    it’s a bitch. the last time my ex’s parent watched our oldest, she was not yet 3. she woke up at 1 am and screamed for 3 hours straight. when i called them at 7 am to ask if anything had happened during the 3 hours we were out, they said i shouldn’t accuse them of being child abusers [???????]
    trust me, you are NOT going to get an apology. if she does not understand now, she never will.
    take a deep breath. this too will pass. if you stay calm it will pass quicker, for all of you.
    you will survive. and except for a few days of crankiness, the child will survive too, and i bet with wonderful memories. because to her, she will NOT remember being tired and cranky. she’ll remember the cotton candy or the new sights or watching grandpa clean a fish or gorging on strawberries.

  2. marsupialjones
    June 24, 2009 at 2:11 am

    you have every right to assert your parenting. you have every right to chaff and be angry and frustrated. i have no good advice except to set boundaries and consequence you can stick to. keep up the good work!

  3. June 24, 2009 at 3:01 am

    I am sorry that your mom doesn’t listen, the only hing you can do is continue to tell her the way you want it and if she won’t do that don’t let her have her for overnight visits.

  4. June 24, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Just one late bedtime is NOT just one late bedtime. It can carry over to the next day and the next and mess up eating and sleeping and behavior and everything else for days, particularly with certain children. You know your child, and you knew what would happen. You were completely in the right.

    Sometimes, and this is a weird analogy, but sometimes I feel like people are more willing to follow instructions for, say, a camera than a child. If we were to say, “Please, please remember to shut it down when you’re done so the battery doesn’t run out,” rather than, “Please put her to bed on time!” or “Please don’t give him candy!” I tend to think we’d have better luck with certain family members…

  5. KC
    July 7, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    You sound like me a few years ago (I had my first daughter at 31, I’m 39 in a few weeks and added 2 more girls since then). I hated dealing with my mom and my MIL.

    Your mom’s agendas are subtly dis-empowering you. It sounds like this isn’t new [I read a post from 2008 of yours (the bludgeoned to death post].

    Your mom sounds like a controlling/domineering type with the thin veneer of “but it’s for your own good” type of mentality.

    It’s a form of manipulation and psychological abuse. I have a post about it here: The Gas Light Effect – http://raisingsmartgirls.wordpress.com/2009/06/23/the-gas-light-effect/

    It’s sometimes so subtle that you don’t know it’s happening. But creating healthy boundaries and sticking to them really helps. Your child is your child, and your mother had her chance to parent and now it’s your turn to make decisions in the best interests of your child.

    You can be polite, but firm about keeping your boundaries. Be confident that you know your child better than anyone else in the world!

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