We’ve all had those moments. You know, when you are a total jerk to your kid. A couple of days ago, I was very determined to get a lot of things done. Luca has been teething. Two components that don’t jive: Impatient Mama & Upset Baby. The thing that kills me is, I knew he was teething. I knew that he would be in pain and needing his Mama for comfort more than usual. But you know, I can’t let my kid get in the way of me being Supermom. So I decided to try to get all of the things done I wanted… bad idea.
It started with me trying to get all of Luca’s laundry put away from our vacation. He got a lot of new clothes that needed to be washed and I figured that maybe I should sort through the old clothes that are too small. Then, I thought it would be really great to make a Father’s Day for my dad. Which of course, required a YouTube tutorial and arguing with my Cricut. Then, I thought it would be super awesome to put a video of Luca “crawling” on YouTube so that my whole family could see it. Now, to do this I needed to create a “YouTube Channel” which of course took WAY longer than anticipated. Somewhere in the middle of me uploading my profile photo for my new “channel,” Luca began to whine. I tried to pick him up and continue working on my profile. He continued to whine. I tried setting him down to play. He whined louder. I tried to pick him up and bounce him on my knee. UGH this STUPID YouTube Channel won’t let me upload my photo!! Luca whines again. This time, I look right at him and demand, “WHAT?!” He stops. He studies my face. I hold my breath. He bursts into tears. I return my “Mom of the Year” trophy. No, of course I pull him close to me and stand-up. Repeatedly apologizing and swaying. He stopped crying and rubbed his eyes. Poor guy was tired! If I had been paying attention I would have noticed what time it was and seen his cues… he’d be down for a nap and I would have gotten more done anyway. Ah, the irony.
So, I go lay Luca down. As I laid next to him, I rubbed his back gently and he continued to whimper. I realized in that moment that we had just had a rupture in our relationship. A rupture is when a relationship becomes tainted, in this case by mistrust. Luca is so young that all he can think is: Can I trust Mom or not? He can’t understand the why behind anything. He can’t understand why I wasn’t attending to him. Babies only know one thing, either you are helping them, or you’re not. They are like little animals just trying to survive. They can’t think, “Mom loves me and will attend to me eventually, she’s just busy right now.” It’s hard for me to remember that because that’s how I am able to think. So, I thought, “If I were a little baby monkey like my boo, what would communicate to me that I can trust my Mama?” To use psych terms: how can I repair this rupture in a way that makes sense to Luca? In this case, I decided to lay with him longer as he fell asleep. Then, when he woke-up, I put him in the Moby Wrap and to keep him close. You know what? He didn’t whine the rest of the day. We became in-sync again. (I should mention that I did go to coffee with a friend for about an hour while Caleb watched Luca, it was a nice little reprieve.)
Motherhood is tough. Can I get an amen? I wanted to share this story to encourage you all that if you start to get frustrated with your kid, remember to ask yourself if you’re trying to do too much. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Let your relationship with your kid be your priority. Studies show that if we develop trust with them now, it’ll be easier later. Life is so much simpler when we let go of making the house look perfect and crafting and social media obsessing (really, all this was over a stinkin’ YouTube Channel?!). And if you are exhausted, don’t try to change your baby’s behavior, try to get help. Enlist someone, anyone that you trust to help you get a break. Remember, your baby is just trying to get their needs met. Trying to change their behavior will probably just make your life more difficult now or later. I know it’s tough to ask for help, but do it for your baby. We all need help. Remember the whole, “It takes a village” thing? Yeah, it seriously does. We can all be supermoms, but only with the help of others.
*To learn more about child developmental stages such as Trust v. Mistrust (Year 1) check-out this link. I really like the chart included because it shows us how by developing trust within the first year, our babies are more likely to develop certain positive attributes as adults (such as interdependence).
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– It Takes a Village (But Do We Accept That?)