Rose-Colored Glasses…or something like that.

Sometimes I think I paint this picture of motherhood that is light and airy and beautiful.
And it is…or at least it can be.

But there are times (like yesterday) when I just want to burst into tears and walk out the door.

Alden is a good baby.  She really is.
She sleeps well at night.
She doesn’t spit up nearly as much as the others did.
She (usually) doesn’t mind her carseat too much.
She (usually) doesn’t mind when the other kids get all in her face.
She is a very, very good baby.

But there are days that she does nothing but scream and cry.
No amount of milk or cuddles or soothing songs can calm her.
And I, unfortunately, don’t handle it as well as I used to.

I did not have a good experience with Lydia as a baby.
For a variety of reasons, I was not at my best.
And she, bless her heart, was simply a very colicky baby.
They kept telling me that she’d be better soon.
But at 4 months old, she was still crying.
And at 6 months…
And 7 months…
And 8 months…
And 9 months…
And finally around 10 months, the crying just stopped.

Those were the longest 10 months of my life.
Marshall was always working.
I was often alone with two small children.
And the crying just.wouldn’t.stop.

And, in some ways, I wish I could just erase over some of that.
Because now when Alden has a few fussy days in a row,
I’m catapulted back to those days when Lydia just.wouldn’t.stop.
And my heart races.
And I can feel it beating in my ears.
And despite trying to breathe deeply, my body involuntarily tenses up.

And so I place her in her car seat where I know she’ll be safe.
And I put her in her room and close the door
And I walk away.

Writing that makes me sound like such a horrible mother,
Like such a hypocrite.
The mean, nasty voices in my head echo with snarky comments like:
“I thought she was savoring the moments.”

But I put her down because I don’t know what else to do.
She is fed.  She is dry.  She is clean.
She is loved.  Oh, how she is loved.
And I want to make it better.
Oh, how I want to make it better.

But it’s like they say on a plane before take-off:
“Secure your own mask before helping others.”

In order to help her, I have to help me.
And while it may sound self-centered, it’s true.

Call it a mommy time-out.
Call it a breather.
Call it collecting your thoughts.
Call it what you will…but do it if you need to.
Take that moment.
Step just outside the door…
just barely beyond the sound of the cries…
and get it together.

As my pediatrician has been known to say before:
“No baby ever died from crying.”

And 9 times out of ten, when I step back inside she’s fast asleep.
And I look at the rise and fall of her chest.
And all those light, airy, beautiful feelings rush in.

She is loved.
Oh, how she is loved.

7 Responses to Rose-Colored Glasses…or something like that.
  1. Liz Sanders
    March 22, 2011 | 8:49 am

    The best way for you to savor the moment is to do exactly what you did. Sometimes babies just need to cry, and it can be SO frustrating. I have, (more than once) put a screaming baby in their bed and walked outside to catch my breath, count to ten and take that time to compose myself. Wyatt was the same was a Lydia, screaming all the time and we ended up going through 4 bouncers because he could only be calmed by bouncing.
    You are a GREAT mother and it shows.
    In order to help them, you must first help yourself. Great statement, and not at all selfish.

  2. Tara
    March 22, 2011 | 11:06 am

    Girl, all the savoring in the world doesn’t mean you’re not going to have horrific days. Some days, I think these babies just don’t want to be consoled. I’m sorry you’ve had a rough few days, I know it’s hard (and hard doesn’t even begin to explain it). Like I said on fb, you’re not along. Everywhere I went yesterday there was a child screaming and a mothering complaining, in addition to my own who screamed all bloody day. You’re still a great mother, and I admire you regardless of how many times you have to close the door and walk away. I get it.

  3. Lorie
    March 22, 2011 | 3:30 pm

    My “mommy time outs” when they were that small usually included a shower. I’d put them in the crib, safely complaining, and go take a shower. (It was sometimes the first one in a few days.) If they did calm down, I’d actually dry and style my hair, too! You’re definitely not alone and it most certainly doesn’t take away your title of “Crazy-Awesome Mom”.

  4. Issa
    March 22, 2011 | 5:42 pm

    No sweetheart, it makes you a good mother. Everyone has a limit. You did the right thing. She will grow out of it and she isn’t Lydia. I know those things suck to hear and it’s not helpful at all. I do. Morgan cried non-stop until she learned to walk at nine months. (Her saving grace on not being returned to sender, was that she slept through the night at 6 weeks.)

    Sometimes? They just need to be left in the carseat or in the crib and allowed to cry it out.

    Hugs friend. Huge hugs.

  5. Weekend Cowgirl
    March 22, 2011 | 5:48 pm

    I had a baby like that once and no one really can understand unless you have one that does this. I promise that it gets better soon and soon it will just be a memory. In the meantime YOU are doing exactly what you should be doing. Take a shower and play music for a few moments of relaxation… and I am sending a big hug to you!

  6. Gramama
    March 22, 2011 | 8:38 pm

    I remember those days with you:) I took a hot shower and sang to the top of my lungs so I could not hear you. And you are SO loved to this day and forever! You are a wonderful mother and I am so proud of you.

  7. punkinmama
    March 23, 2011 | 9:22 pm

    Oh man, I about started hyperventilating thinking back to when Punkin was a newborn and I felt so overwhelmed and stressed. I did cry right along with him sometimes. But boy, do I wish I would’ve just put him in a safe place and walked away to catch a breath every once in awhile. I think it would have been better for both of us.