Before baby arrives, you read and read and read. You prepare and prepare and prepare. You think that you have the knowledge to handle almost any situation thrown your way. I know I did. But, guaranteed, something will happen within the first few weeks (if not hours!) to make you Totally. Lose. Your. Shit. You’ll cry, you’ll be frustrated, you’ll internally (or maybe externally) scream. What can you tell yourself to try to maintain your calm and composure during these trying situations?
When Baby Won’t Stop Crying
In this situation I always find it very helpful to remind myself,
“He is not giving me a hard time. He is having a hard time.”
Babies often have very big emotions and no life experience to draw from to help them handle it. Sometimes all it takes is the calm presence of Mama or Daddy to help get them through it. Babies are not malicious. They are not mean. They are not out to get you. In the midst of a baby meltdown it can be so easy to forget this. Remind yourself that they aren’t doing this to you, this is happening to them. It can also be helpful to go through a mental checklist. Babies generally don’t cry without a reason. Could they be hungry? Tired? Have a dirty diaper? Over-stimulated? And don’t forget, wanting to be held and cuddled is a perfectly valid reason for a baby to cry.
When You Feel Bad About Losing Your Patience
Sometimes, I’ll get really frustrated. If Liam won’t go down for his nap, seems to be especially fussy, isn’t doing what I want him to do at that moment in time in general, you get the idea. Sometimes in this situation, you really have to step away to gather yourself. And you absolutely should do this! Sometimes you need a moment to clear your head to be able to figure out exactly what baby needs. But for me personally, this can bring on feelings of guilt. I think to myself, “I’m his Mama. I should have more patience when he needs me.” But that is exactly why you should cut yourself a little slack. You’re the Mama. In baby’s eyes, you are the MOST perfect person. Remind yourself,
“Being a parent is hard. Needing to take a moment to catch my breath does NOT make me a bad parent. My child loves me unconditionally and thinks that I am more than enough.”
Repeat it until you believe it.
When You Need Help
Everyone will need help at some point or another. When you need it, ask for it.
“Asking for help does not mean that I am incapable as a parent. It means that I am wise enough to know that it takes a village to raise a child and sometimes I need some help to be the best Mama that I can be. I cannot do it all. No one can.”
It is better to ask for the help that you need than to let yourself go crazy.
When You Are Disconnecting With Your Significant Other
Sometimes a baby can turn you and your partner into glorified roommates. When you pause for a moment and realize that you haven’t touched your significant other in a few days, it can really hurt your feelings. You wonder, “How could I let us drift apart like this? I love this person and I am doing a poor job showing it.” Relax,
“I am not a bad partner. Again, being a parent is hard. We are in this together and we are doing a great job. Now that I have recognized the distance between us, I am fully capable of amending it.”
Sometimes baby comes first and that is okay. Set aside special time with your partner (like after you put baby to bed or even a special date night) to connect with each other and remind them that they are still just as important to you as they were before baby.
When You Find Yourself Overly-Worried
With all of the information out there being easier to access than ever, Mamas can quickly turn into worried, nervous wrecks. Fear mongering articles and books can make you worry about things that you ordinarily wouldn’t even think of. From SIDS, to child development, to screen time, to diet, to “is my child meeting their milestones on time?” it’s exhausting and unsettling. Repeat after me,
“I have done everything in my power to ensure my child’s safety and well-being. I make informed parenting choices. I do not need to borrow worry from tomorrow, as there is plenty to go around today. I should spend my energy bonding with my child rather than worrying about them.”
It is also worth noting that many of these worry-inducing articles are written specifically to profit off of mother’s natural instincts to worry about their children. Take everything with a grain of salt.
When Someone Attacks Your Parenting Choices
At some point sooner or later, someone WILL tell you that the way that you are parenting is wrong. That you are spoiling your baby by not letting them cry it out. That you should still be breastfeeding. That you shouldn’t breastfeed in public. That you shouldn’t let baby sleep in bed with you. That you shouldn’t put baby in their own room. Everyone has an opinion. When someone tells you that what you’re doing is wrong, it can feel very personal and it can hurt. A simple, “Thanks for the tip, but I think I can handle it. I appreciate you trying to help,” should be enough to make them get the hint. If not, feel free to tell them and yourself,
“Every Mama does what she believes is best for her baby. This person has a different belief than I do and that is okay. I do not have to take their advice into account. I know what is best for my unique child. I have confidence in my abilities and choices as a parent.”
Moments of Mom-Crisis will absolutely happen but if you have enough presence of mind to remind yourself of these simple statements, they can be a lot easier to deal with. What do you tell yourself in those extra-hard Mama moments? Share in the comments!
The Crispy Mama