14 December 2010

There Are Going To Be Bad Days

Over the last week, we've had a number of bad days. I've been thinking about writing this post for the past week and contemplating what makes a day 'bad'.

Before I had Layla, I had bad days. Bad days were normally the result of a bus that didn't come on time, forgetting toiletries or clothes at home when I went to the gym, a flight being delayed on a work trip, getting an unexpected bill, having a disagreement at work, dealing with a difficult work matter or being stuck in traffic. Some of these things were caused by my actions but many things were out of my control. The things that were within my control often required better planning, more patience or acceptance that things don't always go to plan.

When Layla came along, I found out that bad days continued to exist. Bad days with a baby normally involve poor sleeping, poor eating and crying. Unlike the bad days I used to have, I often don't know why a day turns bad. Despite doing everything the books tell you or keeping to the same routine you have been following for weeks, some days things just don't work. The days you need your baby to sleep, she decides not to sleep resulting in an overtired and irritable baby. The days you need to go out and do things, she decides to sleep all day and your plans fall by the wayside. I remember hearing a podcast where an expert of sleep said that parents want their children to have their best day sleeping experiences every day. I smiled as I am one of those parents. I crave order and routine. I like to know what will happen next. I like to plan my day and week and then tick things off the list. A baby changes things......everything!

What I've realised is that when a day turns bad, it often is not bad for Layla but rather it is bad for me! I'm the one who had plans or really needed to have a sleep. I'm the one who is frustrated. I'm the one who has to rearrange my day. Layla rarely has a bad day. Sure, she may have a day when she is overtired or doesn't want to eat, but generally she is a happy child.
Layla having a wonderful time in her new play pool at home in the garden

The most important thing I have learnt is that tomorrow is another day. No matter how bad today is, tomorrow will be better. And if tomorrow is no better, then the next day will be. Some days just need to come to an end and need to be forgotten. When 5pm comes around and Layla's bedtime routine begins, I know that the difficulties, frustrations and craziness is about to end. I just need to get through feeding, bathing and bottle and then it will be 7pm and bedtime. This has always been the way. Even when Layla was very small. Sometimes it took longer to get her to sleep and I'd have to put her in the sling with me until she settled, but once she was asleep, I could put the day aside and hope tomorrow would be better. I often have to remind myself that tomorrow will be better and that all the frustration I feel is because I didn't get my way rather than Layla being to blame. Children teach you a new level of patience and acceptance. I've had many bad days over the past seven and a half months, but I wouldn't trade them for the world. The good days when Layla does something new or just cracks up laughing for no reason cancel out all the bad days and makes it all worth while.

POSTSCRIPT - After posting this blog post I was thinking about what I had written. I decided I needed to add one more point. My ability to see through the bad days now at 7+ months is very different to how I felt at 2 or 3 months. There were days when I could not see through my tears and I thought that the frustrations and sleep exhaustion would never end. There were days when no matter how sweet and cute Layla was, all I wanted to do was be somewhere else. My ability to deal with my frustrations and handle bad days with Layla have developed over time. It takes time! For new mums or expectant mums reading this post, know that the bad days do end, that things get better and that this is the hardest job you'll ever do. Hang in there and the sun will shine again! Jas x

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