When our son was 6-weeks-old he went through a growth spurt, causing him to wake what seemed like every hour of the night to eat. I knew this would happen. People told me it would. I experienced it with my daughter. But even with this knowledge I still found myself feeling frustrated. I NEED SLEEP! Why was my son not understanding this!?
I thought, “He is going to wake up our daughter. Then no one is going to get rest. Tomorrow is going to be horrible. Ugh, all I want to do is sleep!” My attitude and thoughts quickly spiraled out of control. I was ready to yell at my baby.
I was actually becoming angry. Then I felt guilty for being angry at my sweet baby boy. He doesn’t know any better. Have you ever been there?
First, check your thoughts
As I sat with my crying baby in my arms I knew something needed to change. I was tired of feeling angry and as I sat there crying with him I realized, I need to take control of my thoughts. But how do I stop myself and actually do this in the heat of the moment?
The first step to changing your thoughts is to recognize what you are thinking.
It sounds simple, but when I took a step back and analyzed my thoughts I realized my thoughts weren’t rational. Had I made it through the day before without much sleep? Definitely! The next time I started to feel frustrated and about to lose my patience, I took a step back. It’s okay if my baby cries for a few minutes in his crib. He is safe and I need to give myself time to check my thoughts. I’m a better mom when I do this.
Instead of focusing on the negative, I need to trust I will have the strength to get through the day.
Second, find perspective
When I find myself losing my patience and ready to scream at my kids, I try to keep perspective. This stage won’t last forever and I will sleep again. I am not alone in this.
My husband is here to support me and I have the support of many family and friends. Instead of panicking and worrying, I’m learning to cherish these moments. Time moves so quickly and I don’t want to always focus on the next best thing while missing out on the present time.
Third, recognize big feelings
Another thing I’ve realized is I need to be more aware of my own emotions. I need to ask for a break when I need it, without feeling guilty. If sleep is a priority for me, then I need to start making it a priority! That means not staying up an extra hour to scroll through Instagram.
Every now and then it’s good to take a self-analysis and see how you are doing. Don’t let your big feelings reach a boiling point. Take a few moments to refresh and reset.
It’s OK to ask for help or ask for a break. It doesn’t make you a bad mother. It makes you human.