I Fucked Up Last Night

Submitted by bloodrose in Parenting

I believe 100% in teaching my daughter bodily autonomy. When it is bedtime, I ask her if she wants a hug goodnight. I don't demand one. Last night she said no. I told her I was sad but okay and went to my room. I then broke down sobbing about it. So loud she heard and felt she had to come and hug me. She's said no before and I've been fine and cool before. Last night I had just come off an awful day and I don't think I had the emotional bandwidth for it. Fuck.


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supernice wrote

It sounds like she was showing a great deal of empathy to you, and that's a great thing. I guess the look on her face when she did it would prove that or if it was just a "shit, now i have to go give her a hug" kind of guilty thing.

Don't be too hard on yourself, just be sure to reinforce what you've been teaching her regarding her body. Children are super smart, if you talk to her about how you were feeling last night, I'm sure she would very much understand.


bloodrose wrote

Thanks. She is super empathetic because we are very open with her about our emotions, good and bad. And we do not ever gaslight her.

I did talk with her and said I was sorry I got so distraught and for the future, if she doesn't want to hug or kiss me, I still need her to stop and look at me and say goodnight.


supernice wrote

That's the best you can do and it's the right thing to do in my humble opinion. I hate when I see people treat their kids like they have no capacity for understanding.

They are brilliant in every regard. You keep treating her like that, and she's going to be just fine. Nice work!


noordinaryspider wrote

ITA with supernice.

I still remember a night half a century ago when I heard my mommy crying and I wanted to hug her, but her door was locked because of something called a "divorce" and her dogs were allowed in when she cried but I wasn't because dogs made mommy happy and bad little girls made mommy sad.

It wasn't until I had my own that I understood how hard she was trying not to burden my sibling and I with adult problems.

It was even later before I could understand that "emotionally disturbed products of broken homes" was as real an expert diagnosis for her as "depression" and "anxiety" are for us and that my brother didn't want to wear a dress because he was a trans DUDE.

You gave your daughter bodily autonomy. She didn't have to hug you. You did not make her responsible for your feelings or guilt trip her and you tried to find a private place to offload your stress and sadness. You did everything right, even empowering her to "help mommy" which was what I so desperately wanted to do when I was four.

You're going to fuck up. I know next year's 30 year old thinks I was a horrible mother right now and I still think Mom fucked up about the dogs and the locked door instead of just letting me hug her, but I don't think it's mom's fault that I was jealous of her dogs or that she needed to get a divorce in the 1970s and didn't know my brother was a boy.


bloodrose wrote

I'm sorry you had such a traumatic experience around the divorce. I had originally wanted to hide all negative emotions from my child until my husband pointed out he remembered being able to tell when his mother was upset and wanting to help (I remember almost nothing of my childhood so his input was helpful). So instead we are very open about all of our feelings, even the bad ones. But I stress so hard that we still love each other no matter how we feel. It's had a funny little consequence: when my daughter is pissed that I'm leaving for work and not playing with her longer in the morning, she still says "I love you" but in this little angry voice.

My mom talks about how distant her mom was while I sit there thinking my mom was pretty distant with me, too. I think each generation can improve upon the last. I'm sure my daughter will have her negative opinions of me, too. I'm just not going to be too hurt by them. If she decides to have children, I'll just tell her if she does better than I did, and I did better than my mom, and she did better than her mom, eventually, some kid is gonna have the perfect childhood. :)