We all have those days. The days when from the moment you open your eyes, it’s a struggle. You wonder how you’ll ever get through, and you question everything you’re doing as a parent. You’re pulled in ten different directions and feel like you need to grow an extra set of hands just to get everything done.
I had one of those days recently.
I had been dealing with a very unhappy newborn all day and a very busy toddler that has more energy than she knows what to do with. My newest little one was 3 weeks old and it had been a tough 3 weeks. We’d visited her doctor 4 times in those first three weeks and even had an additional hospital visit under our belts. Today we were dealing with thrush, tummy troubles, and a horrendous diaper rash. None of which seemed to be getting any better.
I had lost my patience more times than I’d like to admit with my toddler, and immediately felt like the worst mom in the world every time I raised my voice and yelled at her for doing things that two year olds do. (I’m the parent right? It’s my job to keep my cool). I was overcome with exhaustion, frustration, and stress. It was a day that I just wanted so badly to end.
My head was spinning from the events of the day and trying to remember the specific instructions from the doctor, “Use gas drops before every feeding, give her the Thrush medication three times per day (how many times had I already given this to her today?). When changing her, don’t use wipes, only water, let her air dry, apply medicated cream, apply Vaseline over it, and repeat every diaper change.” (for a baby that poops approximately 87 times a day). Just trying to remember all of this in my exhausted state was a task in itself.
By 7pm I was ready to collapse, feeling like I was physically and mentally unable to do another thing for another human being other than myself. And I was praying to God that my husband would arrive home from work sooner rather than later.
The definition of my day felt like a big fat MOM FAIL.
I couldn’t remember the last time that I had eaten or if I had drank anything that day. I left my babies in the other room as I ventured into the kitchen to find anything I could shove into my mouth that did not require cooking.
I wasn’t there two minutes when from the other room, I heard the baby start screaming. I sighed to myself as I knew the next hour and a half would be consumed by feeding, burping, diapering, medication, carefully followed diaper changing instructions, more feeding, more burping, and at least 1 more diaper, because, poop.
As a tear crept into my eye, I took a deep breath and told my stressed out self, “She will be OK if she cries for 60 seconds”. To my surprise she stopped.
“Thank goodness” I thought to myself. When I walked back into the room, I found the baby laying where I had left her, and to my surprise, there was my two year old, laying right there next to her. She had picked up that little green pacifier and popped it into the baby’s mouth, just like she has observed me doing. She was holding the pacifier with her little finger inside of it whispering, “It’s OK baby”.
My heart melted and I instantly collapsed into tears. My poor baby, my first baby whom I’d lost my patience with so many times that day, and had inadvertently taken my frustration out on, was helping me more than she knew.
I knew at that point that I was not a failure. I was tired. Period.
I was raising a beautiful little soul who loves and nurtures like I do. Seeing my daughter mirror the love that I show to both of them made my heart so full. That was all I needed to see to stop questioning my parenting.