Thoughts on Getting Through the Bad Days

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We all have them; those days when you’re tired, grouchy, sensitive, and guilty about how your anxious state affects your baby. The most dedicated parents have these days, weeks, or months, and fear they aren’t responding properly to their babies. They suspect they’re making major mistakes that will haunt them later on.

CRYING BABY2

In Focus on the Family Malaysia, authors say the key to good parenting is simple; it is to learn how to get behind the eyes of your child, seeing what he sees and feeling what he feels. “When you know his frame of mind, your response becomes obvious. For example, when he’s lonely, he needs your company. When he’s angry, he needs your help in controlling impulses. When he’s afraid, he needs the security of your embrace. When he’s happy, he needs to share his laughter and joy with those he loves.”

Raising healthy children, then is, is not so much a science as it is a highly developed art, and most of us have the natural intuitive faculties to learn it. The author of this article advises you to take the time to observe those little ones who live in your house. If you tune in closely to what they say and do, the feelings behind those behaviors will soon become apparent. Then your reaction to your baby will lead to more confident parenthood.

Rebecca Moore, author of Parenting Through the Bad Days, offers several tips for getting through the bad days. First, don’t beat yourself up over it. Spend some quality time with your baby. Forget about the laundry, dishes and cleaning. Give your baby a full massage. Chances are, your baby will be fussy as he/she mirrors your feelings. Talk to her. It’s okay to say you don’t feel well.

Other activities that can help are to write in a journal, put the baby in a front pack or stroller and go for a walk. Prioritize meals, diapers, bed times. Just do the basics; you don’t have to accomplish everything, and eating off of paper plates is absolutely acceptable when you’re feeling down. If you can, rally your support network. Maybe there’s a friend who can come help, take the baby for a few hours so you can rest up, take a shower — anything to help you get through the bad days. You can prepare a few meals and freeze them in advance.

Despite all your efforts to push through the bad days, you may find that you just don’t have the energy and that is okay. Remembering that it’s quality that counts, organize your day around your baby’s massage, slowing yourself down, putting on relaxing music, singing. Get into the bathtub with your baby, playing with the water and using massage strokes to connect. If you want to try this, put the baby’s seat or carrier near the bath, piled with towels. After a short (ten or fifteen minute) bath (the water can be as warm as is comfortable for you; remember, your baby lived in your body water for months). Carefully put your baby into the seat next to the bath and cover him with towels. Then you can rinse and get out of the tub, drying yourself and putting on a robe before lifting your baby up. Take him to the middle of your bed and give him a massage. If your baby falls asleep, allow yourself a nap next to him. I found the combination of the warmth from the bath and the massage relaxed my baby and me too. Let go of your list of things to accomplish; allow your baby to be the center of your universe. Having an afternoon like this can be so uplifting and relaxing for you and your infant. You both deserve it.

© 2014 Vimala McClure