During my first maternity leave I rarely ventured far from home. My first daughter (Sienna) despised the car seat. Whether it was 5 or 50 minutes, the drive would end with her screaming and mommy covered in vomit. So I opted to stay out of the car and close to home.
When our second daughter (Naomi) came along, Keith and I thought we were blessed with an ‘easy baby’. You know those babes who ‘sleep through the night’ at 4 weeks, rarely fuss, and of course, pass out instantly in the car or stroller. We were high-fiving when Naomi slept through her first 3 hour road trip while en route to a fellow nutritionist’s wedding (shout out to Mrs. Jesse Lee!). However, our celebration may have been premature…
Last week I made the bold decision to take both girls to see my parents. Just the three of us. The ride started off strong with Naomi asleep and Sienna taking in the Toronto scenery. As soon as I rolled onto the highway, Sienna decided things were too peaceful and started to yell “uppy” (translation: “get me the heck out of this seat”). Despite my attempts to console her with “Wheels on the bus” her cry elevated, so did my anxiety. Within minutes 6 week old Naomi was awake and wailing too. I was running on 4 hours of sleep and patience was running thin. Then a glance in the rear-view mirror revealed Sienna’s bottle tipped upside-down and my homemade hemp milk formula pouring onto the freshly cleaned seats.
The emotions were high and tears started to well up as I anticipated a long drive ahead. But then I paused, reflecting on a quote I read earlier:
“Life is better when you’re laughing”
Instead of letting their tears get the best of me, I let it go. They were both fed, changed, and just over tired. Adding my tears to theirs was not the solution, so instead I giggled quietly (which by the way, was oddly liberating). They must have sensed calm coming from the front seat because a few moments later both girls were asleep.
You’ve had these hellish motherhood moments too right?
- When you finally rest your head and the baby wakes up 15 minutes later
- When you’re rushing out the door and your little one poops through her new outfit (again)
- When the special meal you slaved over ends up on the floor
They seem insignificant in isolation, but when you’re sleep deprived these moments build up and get the best of us at our worst. You’re so fed up you want to cry.
Well moms, this is part of our new reality. Our little ones are still learning their environment and testing the boundaries within it. Supporting their experimentation with a smile is no easy task. But if we respond with anger or tears, our little ones will reciprocate; all hell will break lose and no one will be better off. However, if we can find humour in the situation (as hard as it is), we can respond more calmly and change the direction of our day to a happier one. The bonus is that laughter comes with its health benefits too:
- Reduces stress levels
- Reduces blood pressure
- Reduces blood sugar
- Improves sleep
- Improves immunity
- Improves pain tolerance
Most importantly, life with little ones is better when you’re laughing (or smiling). If a little spilled milk isn’t going to hurt anyone and the seats can be cleaned (again), why not laugh?
Seeing these motherhood moments in a bright and colourful way isn’t easy. That’s why I created the Feel Alive & Survive Package for moms.
Great story! So much easier to cry sometimes but this is a great reminder to smile and laugh because our little ones feed off of our energy. Thank you for sharing!
Thanks for your comment, Zahra 🙂 If I let every one of those frustrating moments get to me I’d be crying a lot! And you’re so right…we need to show our kids a healthier way of handling tougher times. Here’s to more laughter and smiles everyday.