“I just don’t know what to do.” was the very frustrated text I’d sent my husband one afternoon a couple of weeks ago. Baby Z was wide awake…again, after trying to get her to sleep for the umpteenth time. It was clear that my ordinarily fairly predictable little sleeper was having a series of off days. I’d remembered Big C having plenty of days like this (call them growth spurts, developmental spurts, or just the age-old infant constant of “change.”), but knowing it was just a phase didn’t help get my day under control, hence the text of desperation. I’m not sure what I was expecting him to say. Maybe I just wanted some empathy, just something that let me know he knew how I felt and was praying for me.
But his answer surprised me.
That’s all. No fresh ideas that I hadn’t heard yet, because let’s face it, by this point, we are all well aware of what we’ve each got in our bag of baby whisperer tricks. No sympathetic “I’m sorry,” or encouraging “I’ll be home soon,” or even a sad face emoticon. Just a simple two-word command that changed my perspective in an instant.
I am far from a perfect parent, and some days I feel like I do more wrong than right. I often find myself praying that my children will turn out okay in spite of the things I do rather than because of them. But one thing I can do for them better than anyone else in this world is give them unconditional love from their mama. Right now that means reading books to a 4 year old while nursing a baby to sleep on my lap. It means trying my best to comfort a very little girl who is adjusting to living in a very big world, and trying my best to carve out some one on one time with a still little boy who some days has a hard time adjusting to that very little girl’s arrival.
As the days, months, and years go by, the specifics of what I’m supposed to do as a mama are sure to change. Soon enough I’ll be playing the role of chauffeur, guidance counselor, and heaven knows what else. But the overarching theme of it all will remain the same. Love her. Love him.
It may not solve all of our problems (Baby Z still took another hour that afternoon before finally giving in to exhaustion.) But it changed the way I saw my problem, which made all the difference in my day. So the next time your life gets out of hand and you throw your hands up in sheer desperation, don’t let your frustrations get the better of you…Just love. (Now cue Beatles album…;))