The other night when I was up with the little guy, exhausted, sick, and in desperate need of sleep, I got very frustrated when he wouldn’t settle back down to sleep. I felt that familiar anger build in my stomach. I hate that anger. That all encompassing, helpless anger that makes me feel like a shitty mom. Only not really because at the time all I can think is ‘go the fuck to sleep’.
I don’t act out on my anger. Unless flopping around in bed, cursing into my pillow counts.
I did come close once. It’s a very dark memory of mine. Three month old, screaming, screaming, screaming at 3 am. Won’t nurse. Wasn’t in need of a new diaper. Wasn’t even teething yet. Just screaming because he was tired. I paced and paced and paced with him, my anger and frustration and exhaustion building with every step.
I could feel my body wanting to bounce him harder than I knew I ought to.
I stopped. Put him in his crib and walked away. I went into my room and cried and cried and cried.
When I was pregnant I remember reading all this stuff about not shaking a baby. I thought, what kind of monster would do that!? Who would ever want to hurt a baby!?
And then I found myself in that scary place. I get chills just thinking about it.
From that moment on I knew that if there ever came another time where my emotions got the best of me that I would put the baby down and walk away. Go into another room and breathe and collect myself.
Luckily it never happened again. Not to that extent at least. I still got and still do get angry (like the other night) but I keep it in check around my son. It’s not his fault. He’s a sweet, gorgeous baby who has no other way of communicating right now. In my rational state I know that.
It’s when I’m exhausted, run down, and stressed that I’m more susceptible to snapping. Which is why I try extra hard to take care of myself. It not only makes me feel better when I’m sleeping, eating well, and taking time to relax, but it makes me a much more patient and understanding mom.