The Good Men Project Executive Editor Rob Watson went through the challenges of bedwetting with his son. Looking back, that experience—and its solution—set an important tone for the family. Here’s how.
It wasn’t long after becoming a parent that I realized I had an important decision to make: how I react to things. THINGS were going to happen. My choice was to assume either that life was meant to be “perfect” therefore every event needed to be a rectification back to the ideal, or that life was going to be in fact, messy, and every event was just a step in the process.
When it came to substances flying out of my kids, I chose the latter. They were going to poop, barf, pee and sneeze and I was going to get messy. It was why they invented soap and water. I got it early on when my boys chose me as their go-to comfort person to cuddle them when their little tummies were upset. Little did I know that those classic daddy moments would be followed by vomiting in a way the most seasoned horror movie enthusiast would cheer with perverse delight.
Hello? Upset tummy? Danger sign.
It was with a certain amount of naiveté that I heard the first declaration, “Daddy, I wet the bed.” No problem… change bedding, pajamas, reassure kid, back to bed. I did not realize it was a battle cry for an ongoing experience that would present the following challenges:
The situation would be on-going: At about the tenth time, I realized we had left “incident” and were headed for “lifestyle.” The revelation that we had a “long haul” situation that was out of our control meant there were areas that we needed to address and consciously handle. My son would naturally outgrow bedwetting eventually, but having perspective was helpful.
My attitude: Repeating an event wears on a person, even if it was, say, going to your favorite restaurant for the third time in a week. This was not that. Wiping up pee, depositing urine soaked clothes and bedding were definitely more unnerving in repetition than your restaurant experience of figuring out what to order that would “spice things up.” I realized that a bad attitude on my part could scar my son, and this made the management of my frustrations even more important.
His feelings: This was easier when he was half asleep. I made every effort to keep him that way – by addressing the problem when he first woke up in the middle of the night. I knew that before, during and after the event, I wanted to avoid my son feeling any sense of shame.
The mess: After just one night event, this was not a major issue. New sheets, new pajamas, wipe down cleaner, rags… good to go. After the forth night in a row – once my reinforcement supplies were low – THAT is when it got tricky.
Solutions to the challenges became clear—and even more-so in 20/20 hindsight.
The attitudes gave way to opportunity. It was one of the first events where we had a shared team challenge. He had a potentially embarrassing problem he could bring to me for us to mutually solve. It was an opportunity for honesty, trust, reassurance, comfort and confidence building. The cause of bedwetting is developmental and not behavioral. We just had to figure out how to navigate it together until his body naturally grew out of it.
The mess took organization, and I wish I had known there were better tools out there. Most of the parents I have worked with have managed bedwetting by using GoodNites Bedtime Pants proactively. The incidents are then contained through discreet nighttime protection so kids don’t have to feel singled out when they wear them, and they are also comfortable throughout the night. Not only does using GoodNites prevent a lot of clean-up in the morning, parents and kids also get a full night of sleep. Kids can work towards self-management, which builds even more confidence.
As my son and I looking back on this now, the experience gives us a sense of pride. I am proud that I emerged with a self-assured, confident young man.
He came out of the experience knowing he has someone always in his corner. Even after a night of cleaning up his urine, or wiping off his barf, his dad will be there in the morning serving French toast served with syrup instead of stigma. His dad loving him.
With a smile.
This post was sponsored by GoodNites®. All opinions are my own.