Things have been going good, more or less. Of late, and I don’t know if this is a phase, but Baby A has had no interest in eating, or drinking, or sleeping during the day. Now, if she were a grown up, I’d probably say she is in love. But she is a 10 month old. She may be in love – in love with being able to move about and pull herself up from time to time.
She wakes up in the morning, beaming, like she has great things to do achieve. Wonderful. I like it that ways. When I drop her at daycare, she runs around her friend Ryan, playing and racing for the same thing. I go to pick her up and look at her daily report that says she hasn’t taken her bottles too well and she hasn’t finished all of the food that I very carefully prepare for her (yes, we don’t do store bought baby food). My worries turned into a bit of a horror as I noticed that she is, indeed, reverse cycling! So, it appears that all of the abstaining from food and my breast milk pumped into bottles was because she wanted to nurse in the warmth of my arms at night. Needless to say, I am sleep deprived and it takes a lot of biting on my tongue to not fly off the handle.
I am still trying to read up on whether this is really a phase most babies go through. I sincerely hope so, for my own sanity!
By the way, I found a very useful article on reverse cycling at Kelly Mom’s blog http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/reverse-cycling/.
This morning, I woke up to a Monday that I dreaded. I had had a tiring weekend, I had leftover tasks to complete from work on Friday (which I had fully intended to complete over the weekend, but, oh well), I hadn’t managed to get Baby A’s bottles ready for daycare and I had work meetings early in the morning. I had committed the crime of procrastination – a crime no working mother can ever afford to commit. Needless to say, my week started on a note that was not exactly pleasing. Oh, did I forget to mention that Baby A also developed her worst diaper rash over the weekend and slept badly all night?
Mornings such as these are probably not uncommon in the lives of moms like me. I don’t know about you, but while being a mother came easily to me, being a superwoman did not. There always is something that needs to get done. If you are like me and you don’t have family and a lot of friends around (Why don’t I have many friends here? We’ll save that for another day) – you’re going to be stressed. And while stress is inevitable, there are ways we can and we must handle it. I have to make sure I am not stressed – why? If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy 😉
Here are some simple steps I use to handle stress on a morning like this:
- Flexibility: Being a mother taught me the importance and the joys of being flexible. I think a baby can teach you a lot about “structured flexibility”. Accept the reality of the matter – everything cannot always get done, and you cannot always do everything. Prioritize the have-to-happens, good-to-happens and great-to-happens when you are faced with conflicting situations. In my case, preparing the baby bottles and attending my meetings were most definitely the have-to-happens. Getting breakfast ready for the hubster – good to happen. A shower – great to happen. I still had two conflicting high priority issues. Fortunately, I could take the conference call from home that morning and get the bottles ready. But, what if I did not have that option? I probably would have enlisted hubby to prepare the bottles while I got ready to work. And while I know that he may (will) mess up the number of ounces in each bottle, it was better than me sitting and fretting about how I have to do everything and how nothing was getting done on time.
- Realistic planning: Yes, when faced with a situation like this, it is easy to get unrealistic when you plan things out. “I’ll get the bottles ready in 10 minutes, shower and do my make-up in 5 minutes and I’ll be out of the door in 15 mins. Not a biggie!” Sure. You end up with 20 minutes to prepare the bottles, you can’t pick on the right dress and of course your eyeliner won’t behave that morning. You spend 45 minutes on the whole and now you will be stuck in traffic. This unrealistic planning does little except for adding to that stress you already had. So, hold back on such planning. Add a “cushion time” of 10 minutes to what you think you will need. This will help you plan and prioritize better.
- Identify your stress level: Are you feeling shortness of breath because of stress? Are you shaky? If that is how you are feeling, chances are, you shouldn’t be driving. If you reach work in that state, how are you going to perform? If I ever feel that way, I prefer not to carpool with my baby. I’d rather miss my meeting than risk Baby A’s life (and mine!). Try to see if a meeting can be rescheduled, if someone else can cover your work that day, or if it is okay to call in sick (because you are. Someday we will talk about mental illnesses, too). If that is not possible, do some breathing exercises that will calm you down.
- Nothing lasts forever: A bad situation is not going to last forever. This is a phase in our lives – I know that years later we will look back and yearn for these very experiences. Make the best out of the time we have in hand!
- Maintain a “lessons learnt” log: Each time you get into a situation like this and have managed to wiggle your way out, make sure your note down what you learnt from that day. In my case, I learnt that I must get the bottles ready before dinner the previous night and pick out my dress for work.
- Learn to avoid a stressful situation: This is probably related to the point above, but I still think we must call it out. What do you think you could do in order to avoid a situation like that? Perhaps showering at night could allow you to get ready sooner in the morning? Make a list of things you need to do in the morning and begin to push items to the previous night as applicable. Obviously, a few things will have to remain for the morning (hey, you can’t have your breakfast at night, can you?), but you get the idea.
Remember that our stress, as mothers, is demonstrative of the fact that we want the best for our little ones, but handling stress the right way will make motherhood so much more enjoyable!
What about you? Share your ideas so we can all learn!