Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Babies Cry (Who Knew?)

Can we talk about how hard it is to not make excuses for your crying child?

"He didn't get a good nap this morning"
"Maybe he has gas"
"Oh, he's just out of sorts today"
"I think he's too hot"

The truth is that one or all of these might be right, but most of the time I have no idea.

I think the reflex comes from a desire for people to know your baby doesn't cry all the time - as though that is the mark of a "good" baby (See this post for my thoughts on that!) Or perhaps this has less to do with our babies and more to do with ourselves.

Are we afraid that if people see our child crying they will think we don't know how to soothe him, and therefor conclude that we don't know what we're doing?

Because folks, if we measure how good of mothers we are based on how much our children cry, we're all going to be failures. And more so, if we measure our worth on how good of mothers we are, we're really missing the mark.

Let me just be the one to say it then.... I really don't know what I'm doing.

You know, it's hard being a new mom. You want assurance from others that you're not doing anything wrong or at least not completely missing the mark, but then sometimes their very well intended advice (that you asked for!) can make you believe that there is a solution to every problem, and it's just a matter of finding the right formula. So much of parenting a newborn is trial and error, and often what worked yesterday doesn't work today. There very well may be a solution to every problem, but that would also be assuming you know exactly what the problem is. (Which I don't.)

Oh and speaking of crying- I have no idea how I associated crying with me doing something wrong, but I did. Elliott is in fact a champion sleeper- both naps and night time. When he was really little he would fall asleep while nursing and then I would lay him down for a nap and he'd be out for hours. Beauty! At some point around 4-5 weeks that changed, and he no longer fell asleep at the breast. It took me a little while to realize I had to actually put him to sleep for naps and at night, and before I did (and figured out what worked for us) there was a lot of crying from being overtired. He cried.... and I cried. It was a tough learning curve- not so much learning that he needed to be soothed to sleep, but learning that I wasn't doing anything wrong.

I am slowly learning that I am not in control. It sounds silly to say it out loud or even to type it out, because I should know that, right? I mean, he's a baby. Obviously I can't know what's wrong every.single.time. *Sigh*... how often do I have to learn this lesson Lord?

Anyways, my point is that it's ok if I don't know why he's crying every single time, and I don't need to make excuses for a cranky baby. Sometimes we all just need a good cry, you know?

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  1. Every time I have a baby I realize more and more how little I know ;) Parenthood is a constant learning curve and I think acknowledging that allows you a freedom. I'm just doing my best, doing what works well for me and my kiddos, and figuring it all out (or pretending to) as I go. You've got this, Melissa!

    1. Thank you so much Becky! I appreciate the encouragement :)