A Mother Far from Home

on becoming supermom

What I Learned when my daughter woke up the entire 2nd floor of our hotel

13 Comments

A Mother Far from Home

And it was not a small hotel. In fact, resort would be the more apt description. It went something like this. She was up late the evening before because we hosted for Thanksgiving. After being put down for a nap in the hotel she had been sleeping roughly an hour when the neighbor’s very loud industry type door (I said it was a resort, I didn’t say it was super classy) slammed and woke her up. She cried and couldn’t get back to sleep. So, that evening, she woke up around 11pm inconsolable and screamed bloody murder for an hour or two. She was super over tired and when she’s like that nothing makes it better but time. You can hold her, hug her, give her something to drink, bring her in your bed and it will all work for two seconds but when she hits the almost asleep phase, she screams again. So, after two hours of this and knowing we were getting mental death threats from everyone on our floor, we decided the next day we would have to be diligent to get her rested up again.

Here’s what I learned.

1) Let go of things that are less important but guard the things that are highly important. At home I make homemade baby food for my 7 month old. I just think it tastes better, it’s less expensive and it just seems easier. While we were gone we bought baby food. In my mind, a weekend of baby food out of a jar was not a big deal. I knew he wouldn’t mind and I wasn’t going to be OCD about it because I knew it’d be a pain. Her naps, however, ARE highly important. It is important to me that she doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night screaming because she’s over tired. When she’s well rested you never hear a peep til morning. So, the next day we decided to guard her nap like watchmen. We put her playpen in the bathroom hoping for an exhaust fan. When there wasn’t one, we turned on the tumble dryer up high and closed all doors that would possibly let in other noise. Daughter sleeping in the bathroom? Weird? Yes. But you know what? She “slept like a baby” and couldn’t hear the loud doors closing or even her little brother making all sorts of noises. Guarding the nap kept the rest of the weekend enjoyable. 

2) Don’t go thinking you’ll “relax” when you have small children. My husband had an epiphany while we were away and he was attempting to watch football (American) and cricket (Australian). The kids were loud, our toddler was running around and saying “schwebe” which is her word for swimming until she was red in the face. He said he realized that pre-children a vacation meant relaxing to him. When you have children you don’t really relax on vacation, he said. And then I reminded him, uh, honey, do we relax at home with children? No, not really. It was a mindset shift. When we go away it may possibly be even more stressful, but it isn’t about finding serenity. It’s about spending time together, making memories and getting away from the everyday humdrum normalness that can really get a mother down (more on that here).

3) Embrace the phase of life you’re in and don’t worry that it’s vastly different from your previous and future phases.  One evening we decided to go out to eat. We went to a nice, but family friendly, Italian restaurant to get some authentic pizza. It was fairly expensive (at least for two pizzas and one order of focaccia bread) and on the way back we came to a mutual understanding. Going to a nice restaurant with small children is not worth the money for us. We spent the whole time making sure our toddler didn’t break the plate and trying to distract her from pouring her water all over her pretty dress. She was well enough behaved, but it was just not a good time for the effort. The pizza was good and she snarfed down her focaccia, but we could have had less hassle, saved lots of money and had just as good of a time if we had eaten a burger or cheap pizza. We decided, instead of regularly being disappointed that eating out didn’t feel like it used to, we could have just as much family bonding by ordering take out or eating somewhere cheap. We’ll save money and then, later, when they are older and calmer and will enjoy the expensive food themselves (instead of finding it good, but no better than McDonald’s chicken nuggets) then we can resume eating out. Eating out is our example, but I’m sure every family has their own. Sometimes we just need to realise that baby and toddler phase is fleeting. So is preschool and elementary school phase. In fact, it’s all fleeting until BHAM they go to college and you wonder what.the.heck.happened.

Even without the relaxation, with the screaming, and watching her soak her new Laura Ashley dress (at least it wasn’t juice) I was happy we’d gone. I want my kids to have fun memories of family times. They (whoever they are) say that is what keeps families close well into adulthood.

A Mother Far from Home

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Author: A Mother Far from Home

Around here we look at practical child-rearing and child-bearing issues. Look around and find down-to-earth parenting talk, tips, reviews, and some interesting lessons I've learned while navigating the waters of motherhood.

13 thoughts on “What I Learned when my daughter woke up the entire 2nd floor of our hotel

  1. Love this post. You hit the nail on the head!
    We found our first vacation a major mind-set shift too… it wasn’t always relaxing as we also guard our children’s naps jealously and so getting out, going to the beach but having to be back in time for a mid-day nap and then desiring to go out for dinner – at that ridiculous most-of-the-world-haven’t-even-left-the-office-yet time just to be back in time again for the night sleep is tiring, and at times stressful… we decided that we would not spend any money on overseas resort-style holidays (which we did pre-children) until they were old enough to appreciate it and be content on an aeroplane; this way we know that ALL of us will enjoy the holiday!
    I think the key thing here, as you mention, is not comparing this stage of life to ‘how it used to be’ or what you wish it to be someday. It’s important to find joy in the things of today- both for current peace of mind and so in the future you can look back with fond memories rather than just remembering that you wished that time away.
    It’s always good to have a reminder of this!! Thanks
    And for the record- our epiphany came when we were on holiday and went to eat at the resort’s not-cheap restaurant, and our over-tired son peed through his nappy (it was a swimmer diaper so I figured it should hold some liquid- but not so) and it sat in a puddle in the high-chair below our boy! We made our mark on that hotel – literally!

    • Hahahah! Loved this. My daughter has also sat in a puddle of pee in her swim diaper on the way to the beach. I felt like I ran a marathon after that day. You are so right about us just enjoying the time now. It’s actually a lot of fun, this season, and only gets super annoying when we try to make the be grown-ups so we can have a good time. If we can “go down to their level” so to speak then everyone ends up having a good time 🙂 Thanks for your comment, it was hilarious!

  2. I will read this post later; I just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Super Sweet Blog Award. 🙂

    • Haha! What is a Super Sweet Blog Award? I forwarded a few of your posts to my family members who have a real heart for Israel! It is very interesting!

      • It is an award for a Super Sweet Blog, in which you display the award given, answer some questions, and nominate others (not someone who has already been nominated, though). II have a post on it, take a look to get an idea. 😉

        Thank you for the publicity! I feel very honored. I guess I should start throwing in more “life in Israel” posts in addition to the parenting posts, so that I will be worthy of the honor you bestowed on me.

      • Ahh, that’s a sweet idea then isn’t it? Yes, more life in Israel posts would be great. I’m sure some of my family would lOVE to read them! They can’t wait to get to Israel!

      • Okay, I will try. Any ideas for stuff that has nothing to do with politics?

      • What about religion? Lots of people (particularly Christians) are so interested in Israel and the religious cultural aspects. Like fasting, working 6 days instead of 7 (am I right that that happens?), and things like that!

      • Okay, I will give those a try. 🙂 I have been kind of avoiding religion, because I don’t want to come across as missionary, but if you think people will enjoy it, then I will write it. If you get any other ideas, let me know.

      • Well, after I wrote that I thought “ahh, religion, that’s a no go” then I remembered you write about politics. Ha. Religion and politics are to be avoided at dinner parties but make for scintillating reading 🙂

      • I try to avoid politics, if you know what I mean. 😉 I will have to look up scintillating, thanks for the new word.

      • Plus, if you write about religion from a cultural standpoint then it’ll just be more informative and less apt to get people commenting who are ticked off!

      • Okay, I will try to describe Israel’s conflicted religious culture. Let me sit on it for a bit . . .

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