Updates

Motherhood Changes

Without a doubt, becoming a mother was the best thing that could have happened to me. I had my daughter and she helped me realize that I needed to change. I had no real purpose before her. I bounced around from job to job and while I was nice, I had a really short fuse and showed it. In the months following the birth of Little P, I was able to look at myself and things I wanted to change in my life and finally make those changes.

I don’t think babies are a cure for your life troubles. They’re not a BandAid to fix a relationship or to turn you into a better person. I did not have my daughter and then magically become who I’ve always wanted to be. I still have numerous flaws and I’m still working to maintain the positive changes that I have made. It took me a month (possibly even two or three) to recognize that it was finally time for me to be more than I felt I was.

I’ve become more understanding since becoming a mother. It was easy for me to feel like I was understanding before. Sure, I understood that you had a bad day or maybe the dog didn’t quite understand what I was trying to get him to do, but it was so easy for me to snap and get angry even though I “understood” what was going on with the other person.

Since having Little P, I get it. It’s not a baby’s fault that the only way they can express things is by crying. It’s not always a person’s fault if they’re snapping at people either. As adults, we should know not to snap at people if they didn’t do anything wrong, but it’s also bound to happen because we’re not perfect.

I have also noticed that I tend to take my frustrations out on other people. I’m learning to watch the tone in my voice and learning not to just lash out at people. I want my daughter to be able to have pleasant interactions with people even if she isn’t in the best of moods. I want to be able to model that behavior for her.

Being a mother has made me both more determined and more flexible. Am I going to get her to stop crying? You’re damn right. I’m also going to help her however she needs. If my feet hurt but she wants me to walk her around, then I guess we’re walking. It seems like a given applying it to my child, but the same goes with other things. My husband in a bad mood and I want to cheer him up? Guess what honey? You’re going to be in a great mood, but what do you need me to do to help you get there? Am I going to get the dishes done? Yes. Will it be now? Maybe not, Little P needs attention right now and that’s fine.

Becoming a mother has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. It is an eye-opening experience (as I’m sure becoming a father is). For me, it has helped me make changes to myself so I can be better for my daughter. This has become an opportunity to not only watch how my daughter grows and prospers but to see how I have also grown throughout the months and years.

Some Thoughts

I want to reiterate that having a child is not a magical fix all for any problems. It’s not a baby’s responsibility to make your life better. This is just a personal account of how having a child inspired me to become something more.

So, what are your thoughts? Did having a baby inspire you to make any changes in your life or make you more aware of some less positive aspects of your personality?

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Postpartum and Beyond

Crying Fits

Please Stop Crying

Sometimes mom-ing (dad-ing, parenting) is hard.
Your baby has a new diaper, has eaten, and is in your arms. Why is it crying?! Him/her you mean, of course, not it. But seriously, what could be wrong? There’s no way they’re hungry, they don’t want the bottle (or boob). You’re not wasting another diaper, you just changed them. I swear I’ll hold you for the rest of my life if you please just stop screaming at me or at least tell me what I can do.
Well, mom (or dad) I wish I haven’t been there, but I have.  Here are some things you can try when your lovely child just won’t quit.

1. Remember to breathe

It seems obvious, but it needs to be said. Take a couple of deep breaths. I know the crying sucks (the baby, not you). But being all wound up isn’t going to help anything. I swear they know when we’re freaking out. Your baby will not calm down if you’re having a freak out while trying to comfort them. Control your breathing and you can control the situation. Now that we’ve regrouped, let’s move on.

2. Walk Around/Bounce/Rock/Hold still/Change Positions

Pick one and try it for a few minutes. Did that one work? Yes? Good, personally I would keep going for a few more minutes just to be safe. Let them fall asleep, attempt to put them down or if you’re not feeling brave enough for that, just get yourself sitting down.
If it did not work, try a different method. Rinse and repeat.
Also, it may help to change how you’re holding Baby.
I either cradle Baby or do the pressed up against shoulder thing (like you’re going to burp them). I couldn’t get Baby to calm down. I kept going back and forth with no luck. My husband comes in, puts Baby with her chest and belly on his forearm, like a little superhero, and silence.
My point here is, try something different, something weird. You’ve got a baby, sometimes they don’t make sense.

3. Let Someone Else Try

Continuing from my last tip: give Baby to someone else. You’re not a superhero (even if you are, you’re here so you obviously need some kind of help) and you can’t think of everything.
I never would’ve held the baby like that. It never even occurred to me, but it worked. Maybe it was the positioning that helped or maybe Baby was just tired of me. Let the other parent, Baby’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, close friends, whatever, have some quality baby time. I’m sure family and friends have been asking to see Baby anyway.

4. Sing/Silence

Try singing to Baby. It doesn’t have to be a real song or sound good. Think musicals. They’re always singing about what’s happening around them.
Singing not working? Being quiet would be the next thing to try. Maybe Baby is overwhelmed and that’s why they’re crying. Try slowing things down, making the area you’re in quieter (mute TV, no radio).

5. Dim the lights

Again, maybe Baby is overwhelmed. I’m sure it’s hard learning about life. There’s a lot going on for someone who was born such a short time ago. Make the room as relaxing as possible, maybe it’ll calm your nerves too. Dim the lights, hell, turn them all the way off if you want.
Is it daytime? Go into a closet if you have to. You can find a dark place somewhere, I promise.

6. Too hot/Too Cold

Is your baby wearing a bunch of clothes? Maybe they’re not wearing enough clothes? If it’s cooler in your house try removing an article of clothing that isn’t really necessary. Like socks. Maybe your baby is perfectly fine with everything but their feet aren’t comfortable.

7. Regroup

Nothing working? Maybe you don’t have anyone else to try and hand Baby too. That’s okay. Put Baby in a safe place (crib, bassinet, what have you), close door if possible, and walk away for a few minutes. Go back to step one, breathe. Now is the time to cry if you need to cry. Let it out for a couple minutes. As long as your positive Baby’s basic needs are being met you’re not being a bad person by giving yourself five.
Done crying? Never needed to cry? Go to a mirror, look yourself right in the eye and tell yourself that you’ve got this. You are confident. You are strong. What’s this baby’s problem? You don’t need to know, because you’re going to go back in there and make it all okay.
Now go on back to that baby and own being a parent. Maybe take some headphones with you this time, music might help you remain calm.

Notes

If your baby has colic I’m sorry and I’m not sure this will work for you.
You’re not a bad parent or person if you can’t get your baby to stop crying. Sometimes babies cry, they will stop crying again, I promise.

What are your tips and tricks for helping your baby calm down? What did you think of this list? Let me know!