Robert, my 2 1/2 month old, was screaming because I was too stressed; Natalie, my 14 month old was playing with her musical toy horse; and a movie was playing on TV that the big girls, Elizabeth and Meghan, were attempting to watch.
I dare you to listen to a baby screaming for more than an hour and not lose your mind…
Now listen to it while your back is killing you, you haven’t had enough sleep, you haven’t eaten enough all day, and you’re stressed about things beyond your control.
Keep listening as Natalie starts to cry, too, because she wants attention from you that you can’t give her. Listen as you have Elizabeth put Natalie beside you so she can be rocked with her bottle while you try to calm Robert. Don’t forget to bounce Robert, no matter how badly it hurts your back, because that’s the only thing slightly calming him.
Listen some more while you kick yourself for worrying so much about housework earlier that you forgot that the most important thing is spending time with your children, playing and laughing. Listen while you vow to let the house be messy if it means your children are happy, and you are not too mentally and physically drained to tend to their needs.
Listen to him scream louder because you have to set him down and walk away for a minute because, even though you know he just needs you, it’s just simply too much and you have to muster some more patience.
Now see the tears forming in his eyes as you pick him back up again and he grabs onto you with all the strength in his little body. But you are still too stressed, so you have to listen to him scream even more loudly than before. Feel yourself become more and more stressed as Natalie throws food all over the floor, making it look like you didn’t vacuum earlier today. Feel the stress turn into anger and complete frustration because you not only can’t calm your baby’s cries, but you can’t care for your toddler, either.
Listen to yourself yell at your 8 and 10 year old daughters to change Natalie’s diaper because she’s soaking wet. Instantly regret yelling because it not only made Robert cry harder, but it made Meghan cry, too. =( Try to help hold Natalie’s hands away from her apparently poopy diaper with your foot that has the hurt toe. Yell some more, and feel even worse inside for doing so. Put Robert down because now Meghan is too upset from your yelling to listen to directions how to put diaper rash cream on Natalie’s butt.
Now listen to Robert stop crying because Meghan has picked him up and is obviously much calmer than you as she gently bounces and rocks him. Sit down and place your head in your hands in utter defeat as you hear yourself start to sob.
Listen to yourself explain that babies can sense your emotions, and that sometimes everyone gets overwhelmed and needs help calming down from someone else. Thank your children for being such awesome kids that will help, even when you’re being a bit of a “mommy monster.”
Now realize that tomorrow is a new day; a new chance to stop trying to live up to the standards others think you should meet. A chance to hug your kids a bit tighter, laugh a bit louder, and spend more time playing than cleaning. Because before you know it, those kids will be grown and gone. There will always be dirty dishes in the sink…