I have a two confessions to make. Confession number one…my daughter pooped on the carpet yesterday…and then ATE it. Yes, you read that correctly. She peeled off her diaper, then left a poop trail from one end of the carpet to the other. She’s never had to look at her own poop before…and she’s at the curious age where she puts EVERYTHING in her mouth. So, when she sees the green goo that kind of looks like the spinach she had for dinner last night, she decides to taste it. Then she starts gagging like she is coughing up one of her tiny lungs. I was in the kitchen cleaning dishes when I heard her gagging herself to the point it sounded like she might be dying. I sprinted from the sink to the next room and was in complete shock of the crime scene that used to be my living room. Poop EVERYWHERE. All over our brand new carpet and more disturbingly all over her fingers and face. Oh boy.
I immediately picked her up, put her in the tub with running water, scrubbed her entire body and every crevice of her mouth and then spent the next 20 minutes scrubbing my carpet clean. I was half laughing, half crying, while screaming at my husband that “I can’t do this mom thing anymore!” Not my proudest moment, and probably won’t be my daughter’s either.
Confession number two…I am an impatient person. I was like this before becoming a mom to a 9 month old poop eater. It’s something I’ve struggled with since I was a child. I think a lot of it is just my personality and also how I was raised.
Regardless of the reason, it can be a problem. Sometimes I will find myself snapping at my husband and now my daughter. My 9 month old daughter. Now, I will admit…there are a lot of moments in motherhood that I handle with grace. But then there are moments when I just can’t take the crying (or the poop eating) anymore and a wave of emotions comes over me. I’ll raise my voice and tell her to STOP. CRYING. But guys, she is 9 months! She doesn’t know how else to communicate! She doesn’t know that you shouldn’t eat poop! (Although, hopefully, she should know now)
I want my daughter to be able to trust me and confide in me. To not feel like she can’t have a breakdown in front of me because it makes me uncomfortable and overwhelmed. I think losing your cool periodically is a normal part of parenting. Sometimes you take on too much, feel unorganized, overworked and underappreciated. Being a new mom can be a real struggle. You are learning how to care for another human life. And when that human life can’t communicate or act like a grownup it’s HARD. There will be moments in life when you just snap. But I have methods I have been using to help become a more patient wife and mother. I thought I would share these with you. If you find yourself struggling with the same issue, here are some tips to handle motherhood with grace, even when s*** literally hits the fan…
Count to 10 out loud
This might sound childish or silly, but I swear it works. If your baby is having a breakdown or a tantrum try counting to 10 out loud, slowly, in a calm voice. It will distract you and hopefully even your child. After those 10 seconds you can refocus on the crisis at hand which is your unhappy little one.
This helps lower your overall stress and anxiety level. Breaking out in jumping squats in the middle of a meltdown at Target might not be the best solution, but participating in daily exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins are your “feel good” hormones that help promote an overall sense of well-being. Even just 5 minutes of aerobic exercise a day can get those hormones flowing. When your overall stress and anxiety level is down, the likelihood of lashing out at your kids is lower.
Leave the room
If I have done absolutely everything I can think of to stop her crying – from changing her diaper, feeding her, giving her something for teething, changing the scenery, counting to 10…when all else fails, I put her in her crib and just walk away. I take a few minutes for myself, step outside, breathe in some fresh air and regroup. GASP! OMG you let your baby cry?Yes Susan, I do. It’s better for her to cry alone for a few minutes than to have us both crying on the living room floor. Sometimes you just need to remove yourself from the stressful situation and clear your mind. The stress hormones pumping through your body when you have a screaming baby can cloud your judgement. Take a minute, get a clear head and figure out what your babe is trying to communicate with you.
Pray and/or meditate
I do both of these practices. If you are Christian like myself, then you know there is power in prayer. Pray for your baby. Pray for your husband. Pray for yourself. Ask God to grant you the wisdom, grace and patience to be the mother your baby needs today.
Meditation is also a powerful tool. This is something I need to practice more of, but it really can help rid anxiety and stress. Try to do this once a day, preferably in the morning before getting out of bed. There are several YouTube meditations you can search. It will help clear your mind and set the tone for a calm, positive day. Click here for one of my favorite meditations.
Play calming music
“Alexa, play calming music” is a frequently used sentence in my house. I’m a firm believer that music is medicine. My little girl loves music. Putting on a clam, serene melody will help create a relaxing environment for both you and your little.
Talk to a mommy friend
Preferably one that won’t judge you and can help relate to what you are going through. The best way to feel like you’re not alone is to find someone you can confide in, share crazy poop eating stories with and get mom tips from. Think of them as your own personal mommy therapist. I believe that talking it out and not bottling up emotions can decrease your chance of blowing up over blowouts. Don’t have a mom friend? Please contact me! I am in search for more of these myself!
Try to put yourself in your baby’s tiny shoes. Understand that they aren’t out to ruin your day. Thy aren’t trying to make you mad (most of the time). They are just learning as they go, as are you. The more empathetic you become, the more loving your actions and reactions will be.
If everything fails and you have a moment when your impatient, scary mommy self comes out with her fangs and all, move on. Don’t let your mom guilt overcome you and ruin the rest of your day. Your baby won’t remember the 5 second “freak out” you had while carrying her poop covered body to the tub. But, she will remember all the snuggles, kisses and love you give her. You got this mama.