It was 2am and I my alarm was going to go off at 5am to get ready for work. My baby girl would not go to sleep. She cried if I put her down and then just stared at me with her beautiful wide eyes when I held her. Not fussy, not crying, just awake.
She had been awake for almost 4 hours, which is a very long time for her. I gave her a 5oz bottle, which was an ounce more than she usually eats, and changed her diaper. She should have been zonked out by now. There was no reason for her to be awake!
I got frustrated and then that frustration turned to anger…
“Why aren’t you sleeping?” “Atley! Go to sleep!”
She just stared back at me with a cute grin on her face. She was laughing at me.
Instead of enjoying her adorable mood and our late night cuddle session, I was too busy thinking about how I had to be awake in 3 hours and that I was never going to be able to make it through the day. The anger continued to build…
I am not an angry person at all so I was taken by complete surprise when this feeling started coming over me. Anger, on the scale of emotions, is probably the last emotion that I resort to. I have no idea where this feeling came from that night and I can’t stop thinking about it. She’s only 3 months old and she wasn’t even fussy or crying. Why am I getting angry with a 3 month old? The guilt still haunts me almost a week later.
I’m pretty sure that this is not going to be the last time I get angry with her. Frustration and anger are totally normal feelings for new mothers. But I want to be prepared for the next go around. I want to make sure I have a sound plan so that I don’t have to feel guilty because I did not deal with my emotions correctly.
Here are 3 promises I make to myself for next time:
#1: I will take a deep breath.
I will inhale the calm and exhale the frustration and the anger.
#2: I will zoom out.
There are mothers in this world who have lost their children that would do anything to have a non-sleeping baby in their arms. I will zoom out and look at the situation from a new perspective. I will be in the moment and cherish what I have.
#3: I will ask for help.
I have no excuse not to ask for help when I need a break. Daniel, my husband, is always ready to take the baby and we live with my mother-in-law, Linda, who is also always willing to help.
Do you have a moment where you didn’t understand your anger and it got the best of you? What are your methods to deal with frustration?