Despite the pandemic putting a damper on our holidays once again (we hate you Omicron), many of you will be seeing family in the next two weeks. And that can be heartwarming and helpful. But it can also drive a tired mama INSANE.
Why? Because our family possesses the unbridled power to expose and push our buttons. Like the Joker to Superman, they have the ability to unearth insecurities and stoke resentment that has been dormant for years.
And here you are, with your Lois Lane baby. She might give you confidence, but she also makes you that much more vulnerable.
How does the kryptonite look? Like this:
“Are you SURE your baby needs to go to sleep right now?
“Did the baby eat enough? Seems like he needs more.”
“Oh she can stay up just a little bit longer to be with her grandma.”
“When you were a baby we just fed you when you were hungry we didn’t notice the times or the amount.”
In your sleep deprived, already confused, hormonal state, that doesn’t go down very well, ESPECIALLY when it comes from the emperor Joker – The In-Laws.
Don’t worry Superman. Here are 2 ways to go into the holidays stronger than ever and make sure Lois is protected.
2 ways to handle unsolicited advice from family:
1. Use yourself as a gauge:
Right when your family is passing the baby around one too many times, or when they insist the baby isn’t tired and wants to keep playing, or when they are criticizing your hard-earned routine, use yourself as a gauge for what your baby is feeling.
The easiest way to get thrown off is to say – maybe it’s just me. Maybe the baby is fine with all this.
That might be true. But at this stage, while your baby is little, you are very connected to their needs and often even have the same needs. For instance,
If you are feeling overstimulated, most likely your baby is too.
If you are feeling tired, most likely your baby is too.
If you need to get away and feed in a quiet spot, most likely your baby does too.
Use that superpower!
Your protective energy is fierce right now for a reason. Use it. That means trusting your instincts and not second guessing them in order to make a family member happy.
How would that look?
If you are feeling slightly overstimulated, tired, anxious, foggy, simply say:
“I think the baby needs to go nurse right now. We’ll be back in a bit.”
“I need to go change her diaper. She likes being in a quiet space for that.”
“I’m going to take him on a walk so he can fall asleep. He;s tired.”
2. Give a compliment.
Here’s the thing. Your family members give you advice because they want to be involved. They (usually) genuinely want to help. They may even want to correct wrongs they feel they did when they were parents.
But times have changed, science has taught us new ways to parent, and more importantly, you have a different style from your family members.
But instead of trying to fight back, or silently stewing and leaving the weekend resentful and annoyed, what if you gave a compliment?
This is a practice I first learned from this video about bullying and fell in love with it. It’s a great one to teach your kids too.
It would look like this:
Them – “When you were a baby we just fed you when you were hungry. We didn’t notice the times or the amount.”
You – “You made sure I was fed and rested.”
Them – “Awe don’t put the baby to sleep now. Let me just hold her for longer.”
You – “She loves being with you. I am so glad she has this connection with you.”
Here’s the important part – leave out the BUT. You don’t need it. Just let your compliment sit, give it a minute, and THEN take the baby quietly to another room for some down time.
The heartbreaking part of it all
Your family, and especially your parents, need the same thing you:
To know they’re good parents.
They love your baby more than anyone else besides you and want to be near them. They also want to correct their wrongs and showcase their rights.
And what do you need dear Tunie? – to know that they think YOU’RE a good parent. For them to say they’re proud of who you’ve become.
Let’s go into this holiday season like Superman – knowing your strengths, acknowledging your weakness, fiercely protecting Lois, and trusting your super-senses to know what’s best for you both.
Do you have a fellow supermama who is heading for kryptonite and needs to hear this? Send them this post and tell them to sign up for more in the form below.
Do you think you can actually give a compliment instead of stew with resentment? COMMENT below and let me know.
(For more on how to handle the family panel of judges read this post.)
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