Monday, April 12, 2010
On Dating and Sleep Training (Especially Sleep Training)
There comes a point in every previously knocked-up woman's life where she reaches a crossroads. The single (or in my case, single-ish) mommy thing is a delicate balance- does she continue with the currently working formula, however precarious it may be; or does she risk tipping the scales and upsetting the balance to find a chance at new and possibly everlasting happiness?
Whatever the path this nurturing, overworked, and under-appreciated purely hypothetical mother might choose, one thing is certain: I Need To Freaking Sleep.
"And exactly how might this relate to dating?" you might ask. Imagine with me, if you will, exactly how a woman like me might begin a dating relationship.
Boy sees girl in a crowded public place. Boy and girl make eye contact. Eye contact becomes flirtatious. Boy decides to approach girl. Conversation goes something like this:
Boy: So, come here often?
Girl: Back off buddy, I have a baby.
*Now, we have 2 options.*
(A) Boy flees immediately, or
(B) Boy doesn't see the big deal, and pursues the conversation.
Boy: So, what part of town do you live in?
Girl: I live in the suburbs, with my Baby Daddy.
*Boy becomes concerned*
Boy: So you guys are still together?
Girl: No, but I fully support him financially, and have for a very long time.
*Boy's ears perk up, thinking he may have found the independently wealthy golden ticket*
Boy: So, what do you do for a living?
Girl: I am a teacher and full-time grad student.
*Boy realizes the error of previous logic*
*And again, we have 2 options*
(A) Boy immediately runs away and warns his friends along with every other eligible bachelor in the bar, or
(B) Boy is genuinely interested in Girl, and a relationship ensues.
Let's assume that Boy chose option (B) on the latter. At some point in any serious adult relationship, an overnight visit is bound to occur. So in our scenario, Boy has chosen to overlook all the other baggage, only to find a crying toddler in Mommy's bed by 11:00. And we are not just talking whimpering- we're talking wailing and gnashing of teeth. Not just tonight, but every night. Maybe even every night forever (Don't believe me? Just ask my friend, whose 7 year old step-son still sleeps in the bed with Mommy at night. I, for one, would be willing to bet that Mommy is single). This does not bode well for Boy and Girl.
Of course, if you know me at all, you know that I would never expect a man to come sweep me off my feet and make life super grand. So let's explore, more briefly (due to the fact that I'm crashing from aforementioned lack of sleep) that the mother took the other path: The overworked single mom is juggling a career and a child, and putting in extra hours to make ends meet. Toddler doesn't sleep, toddler keeps not sleeping, so Mommy doesn't sleep- ergo, sleep-deprived Mommy botches something important at work, gets fired and replaced by a younger, more put-together toddlerless woman without the ever-present stains on her shirt, bags under her eyes, and coffee pot in her hand.
And now to the point, for which you have surely been eagerly awaiting: I say all this to justify ignoring my kid's sobbing pleas for me currently coming from his room. The way I see it, he will be far more damaged in the long run from the lack of a stable and loving step-daddy (path 1) or the loss of a roof over his head (path 2) than from the lack of instant gratification in the form of coming to my bed. Of course I tell myself this now, but that doesn't currently make me any less tired. If this scenario ("Mommmmmmmmmmyyyyyy! Daaaaaddddddy! Why don't you LOVE me? WAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!") continues to play out tomorrow, Mommy might have to rule out medical reasons, like Austin's genetic susceptibility to my terrible seasonal allergies, for which Children's Benadryl is clearly the best treatment. This pollen is ridiculous, and if marked drowsiness is a side effect, so be it.
It's all about what is in the child's best interest.