I follow a wonderful blog called Life Your Way, written by a funny, incredibly strong and super-cool woman named Chris Dean, mother of three almost grown-up kids. If you don’t already follow her, you really should.
Over the weekend we decided to do a “blog swap”.
Since this is a first for both of us, we did a bit of brainstorming and decided we’d run with the theme of those “dirty little secrets” that have made us better/more understanding people or parents. Thus, MOMfessional was born!
Today, we are swapping blogs. If you want to know what my MOMfession is, you’ll have to visit today’s post at Life Your Way to find out. Today, I am hosting Chris’ MOMfession right here. Enjoy!
Soggy Mornings by Chris Dean of Life Your Way
“Hello and welcome to Needlessly Embarrassed Anonymous. I see we have a new face here this evening. Would you like to stand up and introduce yourself?”
stands up shuffling feet nervously “Hi. My name is Chris and I’m a former Bed Wetter.”
“Oh. Umm…are you sure you’re in the right room? This is NEEDLESSLY Embarrassed Anonymous. People-Who-Should-Hide-Their-Face-in-Shame is next door…”
When I was young I would have totally agreed with that guy, but over the years I’ve come to understand it really wasn’t my fault. I simply won the Genetics Lottery. You heard right, bed wetting (Enuresis) tends to run in families.
Now keep in mind I’m not talking the occasional wet bed up to around age five or six. I’m talking full-on waking up cold and clammy (and more than a little stinky) day after day. The “afraid to go to sleep-overs” kind of bed wetting. The burning shame and engulfing fear that someone, somewhere will find out kind of thing. (That last one seems to apply to the Parents just as much as it does to offspring.)
I come from a long line of bed wetters. Everyone on my maternal Grandpa’s side of the family (and most of my cousins) did their time with the wet sheets. The preferred manner of addressing the problem for the parent’s of yore was apparently shaming. I’ve heard horror stories about public displays of wet, stained sheets and telling neighbors and Church members in an attempt to “shame” the child into quitting. (One relative even suggested rubbing the kid’s nose in it. NO FLIPPIN’ JOKE!)
All these Parents managed to do was create children terrified to go to sleep. (Did I mention self-taught insomnia tends to run heavily in my family as well?)
By the time it got to me (Did you know I hold the record in my family for “Number of Years Wet-and-Soggy”?) my Grandpa managed to convince my Mom shaming was NOT the way to go. He seemed to think not making a big deal out of it was better for everyone involved. (Thank you Grandpa! You ROCKED!)
After it was determined there was no physical or psychological causes, my Mom never shamed me on purpose. (We will NOT discuss her lapse in judgment by LOUDLY discussing it with a friend at a Neighborhood BBQ.) She opted to view it as part of life and let me take the lead on when and if I wanted to brave the sleep-over front and who I told.
Growing up, my house was filled with rubber bed protectors and TONS of extra sheet sets. We tried the moisture alarms, the waking me up on a schedule, and the restricted fluids. Nothing worked.
By the time I was 17 (Yep. You read that right. 17!) and I was still waking up soggy at least one night a week, I was starting to panic about the whole college experience. After all, I couldn’t hide something like that from a roommate. So, back to the Doctor’s we went.
More tests determined that all those years, family member after family member, the problem stemmed from a glitch that kept us from coming out of the deepest cycles of sleep during the night. (Which explains how my Mom could get me up, bathe me, put clean sheets on the bed, and tuck me back in and I’d NEVER wake up!) The solution for me was a pill that limited the amount of time I spent in that deep sleep, allowing me to wake up and run to the bathroom. (Whoop! Whoop!)
When my own children began night-time potty training, I was nervous to say the least. Two of my four breezed through without a problem. My oldest had a few years of soggy mornings, but my third born seemed to follow in my footsteps. deep sigh
By this time the world had created night time wetness protection for ALL ages, so the choice was offered to #3 as to whether or not they wished to use these. They opted for the NO answer, since they said it made them feel bad about themselves to wear a “diaper” to bed. (Yeah, even though we’d gone over the, “NOT a diaper” thing repeatedly.)
In the end, #3 grew out of it MUCH sooner than I did! Thanks to open communication and educational chats about what was going on with their body, the self esteem came through unscathed. I armed them with the information they needed and then allowed them to make their own choices, putting some of the power back in their hands in a situation that made them feel more than a bit powerless.
This really IS something people are needlessly ashamed about. It’s a medical condition. How we as parents deal with it is what helps determine the shame-factor for our offspring. They’re gonna follow our lead so try to relax, find the cause, explore the treatment options with your child, then try to just “go with the flow.”