I have been giving a lot of thought to this question.
I have been trying hard to incorporate the act of responding not reacting in my daily life since becoming a mom. If my child cries, and I react with a “oh my god, what is wrong?” and what can I do to “fix” it.. what am I teaching her? That when she cries, I will freak out.
I have been trying to approach it like okay, something is wrong, she can’t tell me what, so I get to play detective. I usually look her in the eyes and say, oh my .. are you hungry? I can tell you are upset, I wish I knew what was wrong… and then you start the process of asking them what is wrong. It feels a little silly to me because she can’t talk, AND I know someday she will so we will be in the habit of asking her what is wrong when she cries.
Sometimes I wish it was as easy as they make it look on television and the movies. Notably, the character of Miranda Bailey on Grey’s Anatomy, she has a particular scene where she is in the middle of surgery and someone else is caring for her baby, who is crying. The intern holds the baby up to the intercom, and lets Miranda hear the cry, she listens for a second and then says, “Ah, that is cry #4, that means he is hungry, if you feed him, he will stop crying” – If only it were that easy! But it’s not.
For now, I follow my dear friend Rachel’s advice which is to help your child by telling them to breathe when they get upset, and when they are wailing, it’s pretty hard to do but as my Mom pointed out, the breathing exercise is more for the parents than the kid. It’s to calm you down, so you can respond and not react.
This is VERY hard advice to follow, AND I am starting to see some small wins with it so far.
A big part of this is asking for help when I need it, still not easy for me, because Lord forbid, I ever let on I need help or support, I am Superwoman, remember?
No, I am human, flawed and a beautiful little snowflake, just like you, I get frustrated and tired and am learning when I need a break and giving myself permission to take it.
Tonight is a great example, I came home and my wonderful husband said, go take a “mommy break” so I went to his man cave (gasp!) and plopped myself in a chair and watched Seinfeld for an hour and drank a Pepsi and ate some Pringles (and wrote this post!)
Can I just tell you, that hour did me so much good, and I felt incredible taking care of myself like that. I can tell you when I picked up my daughter an hour later, I was much more ready to respond and not react. Whether you have a kid or not, you likely work hard and don’t take enough time to relax. Relaxing is underrated and under done. Please be sure that you take time for yourself and reconnect with you. You are pretty great and you likely support lots of people, be sure you take the time to do what you need to do to support you.
Think about it!