February 7, 2013 by Dragonfly Diva
I think I’m a pushover. Or well, maybe just a Mom who deep down really loves her job as Mom so much that she is willing to be yelled at and treated the way some might treat their alarm clocks in the morning. Somehow, in our house, we’ve arrived at February 7, 2013, and I am a human alarm clock for our 13 year old son. For the vast majority of his days, Mom has been up and fully awake BEFORE him, and when it is time for him to get up into his room I go. It was so easy when he was little, still in a crib. Talk to him, pat his bottom, pick him up and cuddle him awake. I could be the gentle, kind, happy Mom that I am in the morning. Fast forward to grade school and it got a little harder. Took a little longer to get him out of the bed, but still I was a peaceful alarm clock. In 2013, there are days when the fuzzy, warm alarm clock has to become a big, brass, clanging, irritating, get under your skin till you want to smack it nusence.
You may ask, why doesn’t he have his own real alarm clock? Well he does and he did. We got him an alarm clock years ago. It was a cool one, with a special feature that projected the time onto his ceiling. He loved it especially since by that point he also had a loft bed for his small room, giving him more play space. The projected time made it possible for him to see it while in bed. He seemed to feel so grown up, getting up to an alarm each morning, just like a big person. The first couple days he was out of bed like a flash. Then came day number three or four – when he didn’t even move when the alarm went off. After about a minute, I was in there talking to him, turning it off and waking him up. Yeah, I know – why??? Well maybe it was because I have a hard time giving up tasks my psychy is used to being responsible for completeing, or maybe it is the soft, gooey Mommy in me that wasn’t ready to no longer be a part of the process. Well, one day that readiness came and I just let the darn alarm continue to beep, beep, beep. Eventually it woke…no not my son, but my husband in our bedroom. He got up and well, his method of getting the young man out of bed was more drill sergent than fluffy fairy in nature. The two of them probably yelled at each other a bit and in retrospect it probably left a bigger bruise on my Norman Rockwell like image of “family morning” than it did for either of them. They are live in the moment kind of guys. It was done and over with and they moved on, once he was out of bed and eating breakfast.
Somehow that alarm clock ceased to be used over the next few months and we were back to the Mommy Clock. This past summer, when he turned 13, he was finally given a cell phone. With renewed strength, I suggested that he figure out how to set an alarm for school days, so that I could give up my clock duties. He did and again it worked for the first week or so. The only problem is the setting on the alarm rings for about a minute and then stops. And….that’s it. For me it would work fine. Mine goes off and within the first few bars of the melody I’m sitting up and turning it off. Not so for my boy. After about a month of it going off and then me going in and finishing the job I got ahold of that phone and changed the alarm settings. Now it would first soothe him awake (remember this is gooey Mommy, fuzzy wake up call here) with soft melodies that gradually got louder, then a minute later the beeping for a minute, then a minute later another minutes worth of beeping, etc. till he actually got up to turn it off. Why aren’t we still using that? Let’s just say he hated it enough to go into the phone settings and get rid of all the extra stuff. We are back to a minute worth of beeping, period. And, we are back to me finishing the job. The good news is that I’ve gotten over my Mommy need to be all warm and fuzzy. I start out sweet in my alarm clock manner, but it rapidly moves to shaking the bed, reaching up and grabbing whatever part of his body might be near the outer edge. and using my irritating, annoying alarm-clock voice. Now he gets snotty with me sometimes, but I remind him I’m not Mom right now, remember I’m the human alarm clock and I’m supposed to be a prod, a nudge, a get the heck out of bed you, pain in the butt. So at least I’ve gotten myself over the need for the cozy, gentle wake up call. Now all I need to do is get over being an alarm clock in the first place. Suggestions for making it over this hurdle welcomed. 🙂
I have learned about myself though. I can turn over a new leaf. Expecting different results from the same actions is wasted energy. Change is good, even when getting to the other side is a long process, or cruddy to experience. And, in the process so far I’ve learned about my guys too. When put in the right perspective, my son’s growsing at the Mommy Clock is just a part of who he is some mornings – he got his Dad’s morning temperment – sometimes sweet and loving and sometimes please leave me be till I’m awake. Which is really, ok. And, they are both capable of growing and approaching mornings a bit different. My husband now uses his phone alarm too (yes, I used to be his alarm clock too.) And they both realize when they are having grumpy mornings and warn others, or apologize when they realize their grump was inappropriately aimed at a loved one (including the dogs who act like they haven’t seen us in weeks when we get up).
Do you have Mommy Alarm Clock like situations in your life? Patterns you’ve gotten into that you don’t like, but that in the end teach you about yourself and others? What did you learn?