Day 23: Mommy I Need You

Katie has been giving us a run for our money at bedtime.  It’s been going on for months and months.  We put her to bed and, eventually, she calls us back upstairs.

“Mommmmmmmy!  I need you!”

She wants a drink or she can’t find her blankie or she is cold or her foot itches.  Sigh.

So last night when I heard the call ten minutes after I had tucked her in, I made the decision.  I was not going back up there.

“Mommmmmmmy!  I need you!”

“What do you need, Katie?” I hollered up the stairs.

“A hug!” she answered.

“No, Katie.  Go. To. Sleep.” I snapped.

I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.  It saddens me to even write these words.  Oh, how I wish I could go back to that moment and give her a hug.


I’m writing a Slice of Life Story every day for the month of March as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge. See more at Two Writing Teachers.



20 thoughts on “Day 23: Mommy I Need You

  1. I used to do that as a kid, too. My parents did the same thing to me. I turned out alright. I know it’s worrisome, but in the grand scheme of things, she won’t remember that one time you didn’t give her a hug. She’ll remember the millions of times you did. 🙂

  2. The punctuated dialogue in your response communicates your reaction as much as the words. I also like how you switch from present tense (she does this every night) to past tense (this one time that was different). I use a chapter in 26 Fairmount Avenue to teach this pattern to students and you captured it perfectly.

  3. Welcome to the ‘guilt world’ of parenting! Your slice is so honest and brave!!! How many of us wish for a ‘mulligan’ with some aspect of our choices as parents. Your reflection is heart wrenching, but filled with love. She’ll get so many hugs from you, she’ll never be able to keep count. Kids always seem to find our Achilles’ heel. Helping them to set boundaries means we sometimes cross over them to find out where they are. Give YOURSELF a hug. You are a wonderful mommy!

  4. Oh dear, this make my heart ache too. 😦 Just because you feel that guilt and it still lingers should let you know that you are a good mommy. Setting boundaries are sometimes the hardest things to do. In the end, she will love you for being strong enough to doing what was best for her in her life, even though these moments are hard.

  5. Your regret is what makes you an incredible mother. Again, I can’t wait for her to have these memories of you to read as she gets older. I wish I could see my mom this way.

  6. I too struggle with this…when to “give in” and when to stand my ground….the “excuses” made me laugh. I am sure that I will be hearing all of those ones soon enough!

  7. Although it is hard and you are only feeling and seeing the negative results…. I think she did learn a bit about point of view and perspective. Saying no – also sends the message that she is just fine and hugs are something you can feel within. She didn’t need you – she wanted you and there is a difference. She is going to be just fine…. hang in there.

  8. I think parenthood is at least fifty percent guilt. She’s probably already forgotten, but it will haunt you for awhile. And, as someone else said, it’s never too late for a hug.

  9. I know how you feel but you did the right thing mama! You have plenty of times for hugs. But teaching them to sleep and go to sleep well is so important. Good for being strong.

    But I had the same thing once. My son asked to snuggle once and he’d already stalled for a while and I told him no and I felt guilt all night for saying no to snuggles!

    Good job mama!

  10. Somehow they just know. If it had been an itchy foot you wouldn’t have felt the guilt. But she tested you with the ultimate. Don’t beat yourself up too much – she knows she is loved.

  11. This slice perfectly captures the angst of being a mom…darned if you do; darned if you don’t. I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve second-guessed my parenting decisions. I hope there’s a drop of comfort in knowing you’re not alone with those feelings. I enjoyed your slice!

  12. My daughter does the same thing, it can become exasperating each and every night so I can empathise. As mum’s we have a tendency to second guess ourselves but I’m sure our children know they are loved.

  13. It’s so hard to figure out the real “I need you” from the fake “I need you’s”. I’m sure with all the snuggles today she has forgotten.. Hopefully you have too. Hope she is better..

  14. That pull between doing what she needs to become independent and what you want to keep her happy is hard! Give her an extra hug every day and at night, maybe then she will be able to go to bed happily!

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