Here’s My White Flag

I recently had one of those days where minute by minute led up to me throwing my imaginary white flag high above my head and ugly-face crying in bed while holding my toddler.

The day started off okay. My husband and I woke up around 8am to Gray crawling all over the bed. We got ready to eat brunch and run errands before he had to be at work that afternoon. No tantrums, no meltdowns, and only a few pregnancy-induced tears were shed. Steven left after we got home for work and that’s when it went downhill. My overtired toddler was unhappy with anything we tried to do. Being four months pregnant with #2, I was also exhausted from a day of walking and throwing up. Nap time was delayed by a few hours and I tried everything to get her to nap with me. She was not having it. Instead, she would crawl around the bed while flinging herself into the dog who was also trying to get some peace and quiet. She eventually fell off the bed (no child was hurt during this process), which resulted in more crying. After finally going to sleep in a downward facing dog position, I was able to get a good nap in also. 

That’s when it happened.

I was awoken to light stirring. I was mentally and physically not ready to wake up and entertain her. I just couldn’t do it even though I had no choice. I laid there with one eye open as I watched her wake. Then the whining began. Then the tears. I was crying. She was crying. There was no end to the madness in my mind. I prayed my sobs would snap her out of her red-faced screams but they just grew in volume.

I then noticed two white teeth poking out of her back gums like icecaps and suddenly realized she was hurting. This snapped me out of my crying and kicked me into robot mode of dealing with teething: dispense the Tylenol, fill up the sippy cup with ice cold water, and rock her gently until the cries die down. 

At that moment I realized that all those days and nights during the “4th trimester” with Gray prepared me for this. Our babies don’t simply turn into big kids who can tell us what’s wrong. They have hard days, too, even as they grow older. She needed me at that moment and I couldn’t look past my own emotions to recognize that. I remembered how I dealt with those first three months and fell back on old habits.

Once she calmed down a bit, I put her in her play pen and sat down in the bedroom alone for a few minutes just to gather my emotions. I learned early on it’s okay to walk away for a few minutes when everyone needs a break. I then made sure she was changed and gave her a snack; dirty diapers and hunger only make these situations worse. I texted my best friend, who also has a daughter a bit younger than Gray, to vent and get some mama sympathy. Reaching out to other moms, whether to complain or ask for advice, has always helped me remember that no other mom has it easier

After that rough day with Gray, I gave her and both our dogs baths and called it a night. I didn’t expect myself to get anything else done and was okay with that. The next day was a 180 difference. We were both happy and enjoyed the entire day together with only a few nap time tears. I know that wasn’t the last of the rough times, but I’m prepared for the next thanks to that rough day reminder.

So for all you mamas who want to throw in the white flag, do it. Seriously, admit defeat. It makes you human and the rest of us mamas understand exactly how you feel. You can’t do it all and no one expects you to.

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