… is hard. Like, y’all, this stuff is hard. And people told me that before I had kids but one can NEVER know how hard it is until you’ve got a little baby screaming in your face and you have NO FRIGGIN’ IDEA WHAT TO DO. The funny thing is that I thought it would get easier as she gets older, but it just seems to get harder and harder. For different reasons, of course. I’m trying to be more thoughtful and more prayerful through this Lenten season and from doing so, I’ve discovered some of what makes this all so challenging.
1) The crying is really hard but not for the reasons one would think
At first, I thought the crying would be hard because it’s loud. And before I had her, I thought, eh, even if it’s loud, it won’t be that big of a deal. No. It is not because it is loud. It is because my body has a full on, physical reaction that comes from the gut when she is upset. And depending on her cry, it gets exponentially worse. I want to help her as quickly as possible, but sometimes don’t know why it’s happening. Is she hungry? Is she tired? Is she teething? Does her stomach hurt? Is she developing mentally? Is she growing physically? Does she have a fever? WHY ARE YOU CRYING BABY I WANT TO HELP IF YOU JUST TELL ME WHAT YOU NEED I SWEAR I WILL GIVE IT TO YOU!!!!!!! So sometimes, it’s just trial and error. And now, over the past month, she’s had those cries where she’s just pissed. Pissed that I put her on her back on the changing table, pissed that I laid her down, pissed that she can’t have my boiling lava hot cup of coffee. Either way, I have a visceral reaction to her cries like nothing I’ve ever felt.
2) I have no idea if the path I’m taking as a parent is a good one
There is an article that comes out daily on what mistakes I’m making as a parent. Kids that watch tv will have ADD. Your baby is not getting enough Vitamin D so you need to give them a supplement. Supplements are bad for your baby. You shouldn’t give your newborn the vitamin K shot because it’s bad. You are endangering your child by not giving them the Vitamin K shot because they could bleed to death. Ugh. I am destined to mess her up. How can I not?
3) I’m very sensitive to the fact that I am parenting in a non that usual way and others are judging me
I know this is weird, but I am weird, so it makes sense. I’m following the Attachment Parenting model because honestly, it makes the most sense to me. It comes naturally to me. I found myself reading Dr Sears’s book and saying, yes that’s how I feel! It’s not for everyone and especially here in the South, it’s not for anyone. And when I’m by myself, just little Ellie and I, it’s no issue. It’s hard because I have to learn to be patient as she goes through different life stages, but I’m willing to do it because I just can’t put her in a room by herself to cry it out, I’m not going to deny her food if she’s hungry, and I don’t care about a schedule. When I become sensitive is when I’m in pubic and my velcro baby doesn’t want anyone but me. In reality, that’s exactly what attachment parenting is all about. A baby that is securely attached is one who “become[s] visibly upset when their caregivers leave, and are happy when their parents return”. But to others, I’m seem like a crazy person. They want to hold her, but she isn’t having it. She wants mama. And so I get embarrassed because I somehow think they’re judging my parenting. My husband says, who cares and don’t worry about it, so I try to be that way, but it’s hard. How can I be confident that what I’m doing is right but still be worried that others are judging me, I have no idea. But I’m a little bit at a level of cray that my husband can’t understand anyway. So yeah…
4) I have a hard time being uncomfortable
I was thinking about this yesterday. Part of what makes parenting so hard is that I can’t run from it. When I’m at my wits end, and I just think I can’t take anymore, there’s no where to go. In the past, I would do my usual things like make myself super busy so I don’t have to deal with the issue, ignore it, eat myself out of it, go for a run, whatever. I would use whatever vice was available at that time. But she needs me. She is 100% totally dependent on me. I brought her into the world and it’s my responsibility to make sure her every need is taken care of, so I can’t just run out. I have to sit with her crying, sit with her mad, be there even when there’s nothing I can do. I feel powerless. And that’s hard. I have to be present and be there for someone else.
Suddenly though, there’s a day when she’s so happy. And she laughs at everything. And I get to see her pure joy as she discovers a whole new world and I know that it’s all worth it. Yesterday, we went down to the play area in our neighborhood. I had Ellie strapped into my Ergo and we sat in the swing together. I WISH I could’ve gotten a picture of her face. She was SO STINKIN’ HAPPY to be swinging. It was the coolest thing. Then we walked down to the creek and saw a beaver and again, she was amazed. Heck, I was even amazed by that. My point though is that I felt her pure joy and it made me so happy to have that moment with her. And I suddenly forget how hard it is and realize that I’m absolutely the luckiest person in the world to have her.