Oh how I wish I could give you the words that would make you feel better about being a parent. I wish I knew of a drug to take those postnatal hormones away. I wish a hug, a conversation, a quote, a song, or anything for the matter, could make you feel better. But I know different.
See, I have been that pregnant woman, glowing and feeling like I could handle it all. I have also been that woman on the floor sobbing with my baby because I know something is wrong but don’t know what or how to fix it. I have struggled with awful images rolling around in my brain imagining different ways my toddler could possibly die. I have been the woman yelling at her husband because I have so many hormones and feelings pent up from mommy-ing all day that I have to let them out…somewhere.
Please, if anything, know that you are not alone. In fact, it’s even a good thing we care about our kids as much as we do. If we treated them like we treat our husbands, they probably wouldn’t get the care they need. If we didn’t have those worries in the back of our minds, we wouldn’t listen to our intuition when it tells us not to let go of that feeling like something bigger is wrong. If we didn’t love our baby as much as we do, we wouldn’t get up at 10pm, 12am, 2am, 4am, and 6am many, many nights of infanthood. I am addressing the “love” and “caring” aspect because that is what fear and anxiety stems from. It’s there because of how much we care about them, how important it is for us to know we are taking care of them, and how incredibly much we want to be the best parent to that kid we do.
I wish I could say it goes away. That fear-stricken anxiety that cripples you in the middle of the night regarding if your child is still breathing. My little boy is now 2, and though the anxiety hasn’t gone away, I know how to deal with it a little better. Though, my two year old finds new ways to create those anxieties in me, again, I know how to better handle those feelings.
I completely believe that God has given us all that we need to care for our babies. I say this to the moms with 1, moms with 5, moms who just found out they are pregnant, moms who have lost babies in the past, and moms who are afraid their baby may have a disease that could cripple them. I say this to all moms because God is a powerful God. I have seen some incredible parenting in my day. I have seen a good friend develop into an inspiring father and husband because he had to pick himself up after finding out their newborn son had down syndrome. I cannot fathom the fears that he had. It’s a hard diagnosis to grasp, but I have seen him turn into a better man because he wanted to.
I know God gives us the power to deal with awful situations because I have held my baby boy while he was limp in my arms after a febrile seizure. I have stripped his clothes off while he was convulsing. During the most paralyzing moment of my life I was able to act. Not because I am an incredible mom. Not because I was able to dig deep. It was completely supernatural. God was moving my hands, arms and legs. God turned on my brain when the firemen, EMT’s, and doctors were working with me and my son. I could feel God next to me, even when I was angry that He wasn’t stopping it. God helps us through. He makes us able when we can’t move.
This past week I have really struggled feeling like a good mom and knowing what to do to teach my kiddo. He is a super loving, passionate, and well, persistent little boy. This week he learned to take his baby gate off of the door….awwweeeessooommmeee. Mommy is about 20 weeks preggers so putting up the baby gate at nap time has helped both of us. It gives him space for quiet, independent play and putting himself to sleep while giving mommy some much needed physical rest. Well, when he took the baby gate down, he realized he didn’t want to be in his room alone. He wanted to be with me. That’s great and all, but……mommy needs rest, please! Well, we finally got a sturdier baby gate.
But in trying to train him to stay in his bed, I decided I needed to go to the webs. I began looking up blogs on how to train my kiddo to stay in his bed. The first blog I came to really upset me. She begins by talking about how she is so tired of people telling her she has “easy” kids. Ok, to us moms who have never even remotely thought our child was “easy,” that’s a bit annoying. She goes on to say she works hard to teach her kids (ok I get that, but so do I). She reads blogs and researches (hey, me, too!). But guess what?? With the right parenting methods, “EVERYONE” can have a well-behaved kid! Well, if only I knew what I was doing then.
Needless to say, I tried to stay open-minded while being offended, and I had tried everything she had recommended. Some things do work on my kiddo, but some don’t. And you know what conclusion I came to. No, not the “I’m a bad mother” conclusions because I have faced enough judgment and have worked past those insecure thoughts. I came to the conclusion that she was wrong. My kid throws fits. He is passionate and energetic and sometimes he gets hangry. Whether or not I am on my mommy game, he is going to throw fits. And you know what else? It’s healthy for him to throw fits. He is expressing himself. We are working together on how to better handle his anger and frustration, but it is okay if he sits on the floor and screams. This does not make me a bad parent. It makes him a two year old.
Now with all that said, there are ways to help your child learn through their frustration. Since a 2 year old can’t understand his emotions or regulate them on his own, we model how to relax. We deep breathe, we ask if he is feeling such-and-such feelings, and when he is calm we talk about what we want them to do when they are angry.
But to the mommies who are terrified of leaving the house with their 3 month old, or the mom who feels like a failure, or the mommies who feel judged and not good enough, take heart. You are not alone. We have all been there. Relax a little. Remember to take time for yourself in order to get a breather. Read healthy, non-judgmental, mommy blogs and books about your current situation. Never stop trying to be a better parent for your kid. Know that God is the one in control, not us. He has, and will, always give you the strength you need to be the parent you need to be. Let go of the judgments from people who don’t have kids or mommies who think they know how to do it because “this” worked with their kid. We all parent differently. God created us that way. We are different people with our own values who are creating unique kids. Value yourself and your child. We are not perfect, but we are trying. Keep up the hard work, ladies!