I guess the purpose of this blog is to be open and honest with my readers - my clients - and also probably myself. Well, here we go ...
Two nights ago, my beloved (?) almost 7-year old popped out of bed for the - I don't know 20th time - to ask me a question. He then asked me to walk him back to his bed, tuck him in, and give him a hug and a kiss. Not bad you say for a child who, as a baby, did not sleep, I mean did not sleep, at night. (I have the pictures of me looking like a heroin addict at my 30th birthday party to prove it.) But here's the problem ... I had just started watching my favorite show, Parenthood, and was gearing up for my 2nd favorite show, Selling New York. I also had just poured a much deserved glass of red wine.
So what ensued was not very sleep coachy. I hissed at him to get back to bed and threatened unspeakable punishments if he left his bed one more time. He then looked up at me with his big brown - oh, too wise - eyes and said to me, "but Mommy, you are a sleep coach, you are supposed to help me. I need coaching."
Busted. I guess you could say I would never recommend hissing and threatening a child in anyone's sleep plan, and yet here I was hissing and threatening expertly.
The outcome. I dug deep and took my own advice to clients - admit when you are wrong. I took a deep breath, gave him an earnest hug and kiss, as well as some positive ideas and images to think about, and told him how proud I was of him for reminding me that I was a sleep coach and most importantly ... I apologized for my behavior. He nodded in acceptance, rolled over, and I went back to my wine and my shows.
The lesson: I think parents are probably the group of people on this earth who are the most human. We make mistakes all of the time. We are inconsistent, and we don't always have the depths of patience that this endeavor demands. Our greatest power? Knowing how and when to apologize to our children. It is so important that a child learns accountability from his parent; it is even more important that a child understands the meaning of an apology.
Now ... if I can just break my 19-month old of her morning Elmo addiction.