Dear Tunester, you’re doing it. Your connection with your baby is growing daily. You feel it deeply as you lay together on the floor, sunlight dancing on the rug, making faces to each other and giggling and cooing. You inhale the moment. It’s beautiful and magical.
But the moment is suddenly broken. Into your mind enters an unwanted guest: Lady Bittersweet.
Nothing jolts you out of the present like Lady Bittersweet. “This moment is so fleeting, enjoy it as much as you possibly can.” she whispers. “Don’t they look bigger already? They’re going to outgrow that onesie soon, you know”. She knows exactly what weepy buttons to push.
And suddenly you’ve gone from enjoying a sweet moment of connection with your baby to feeling guilty for reading an article during your morning coffee. What a waste! You should have been staring into their eyes, smelling their breath, and memorizing every new strand on their head!
Why is it that sometimes, the deeper we are in the moment, the harder Lady Bittersweet can hit? And next thing you know you’re feeling a longing for what you’re currently enjoying?
Today’s thoughts are about how you can acknowledge her, give her a gentle nod, and go back to enjoying your baby . Or in other words, how can you avoid spiraling into parent guilt and mentally leaving your baby to lash out at yourself?
I have a few ideas that have helped me in those moments. Hopefully they can help you as well.
How to usher Lady Bittersweet out the door
1. Yes, AND
We tend to make order of the chaos by dividing and contrasting. It’s this or that… maybe this, but probably that…definitely this, not that. But rarely do we allow ourselves to say yes, this…and that. “Yes, my baby won’t be a baby forever, and I can still enjoy this beautiful moment while allowing myself my own peace”. If we try to push aside or stifle Lady Bittersweet, she’ll just come back stronger. But we can hear what she has to say, appreciate it, and go back to enjoying the moment that’s here.
Do you have a favorite food? I could eat smoothies, popcorn, and an excellente guacamole all day every day. But that would be a terrible idea! Not only would I be ignoring other things that my body needs, my enjoyment of those foods would soon wane.
If you force yourself to spend every moment of every day in hyperfocus on and appreciation of your baby – it will become a chore (as many baby caring moments are), instead of a priviledge. Enjoy your morning coffee and article, or whatever your practice is, knowing that it will allow you to approach your connection to your baby refreshed and in earnest.
3. Make your own peace with time
Your baby grows from nothing to a full person in the first year and witnessing that can feel like a clock constantly held up in front of your face saying- Time is going by so fast!
And you now what that reminds you? That YOU’RE getting old!
One of the ways you can combat Lady Bittersweet about your baby is to acknowledge and quiet that voice about yourself. What would that look like for you? It means something different for everyone. For me it means doing Invisalign this year. It’s my way of saying to myself – You’re young! You have many years of smiling ahead.
What action can you take that will be your way of saying – time can pass but I’ll be young forever.
4. Open your senses to your baby
To retether yourself to the moment with your baby, focus on how your baby feels, sounds, smells, tastes. Touch them, listen closely, Imitate what they are doing, the expressions and sounds they’re making. Don’t think about reaching a developmental milestones, don’t worry if you’re doing things right, the smaller and seemingly insignificant sesation you focus on, the better. For more on how to do this, check out this post.
Lastly, give yourself grace. We all have these moments, it is a universal experience – be gentle with yourself. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, you are moving mountains.
How do YOU overcome your longing for the very moment you’re in? COMMENT BELOW and let me know.
Do you have a friend who’s been taking visits from Lady Bittersweet? Send her this post and tell her to sign up for more below. Instagram is also a good way to find more tips to help you through your day with your baby.