When my son (Crazy #2) was a baby, he made diaper changing one of my biggest mommy battles. He flopped around like a fish out of water and kicked with far too much enthusiasm… the little punk would not sit still! To this day I sweat a little when I think of how I used to struggle to change a 6 month old’s diaper. And one diaper changing moment in particular stands out above all others…
I vividly remember struggling to maintain my cool with a cute, cuddly little chunk of a baby boy.
His laugh filled the room as he wiggled around on his changing pad, and his tiny tongue poked out as he repeatedly sprayed me with his baby raspberries.
To him, this was fun, and we were playing a game. To me, it was a job, and he was preventing me from doing it swiftly.
I paused and took a deep breath… then glanced around the room (for what, I don’t know… maybe an extra set of hands?) and caught sight of the green light on the baby monitor. Instantly I had a flash back to when my husband and I had overheard one of our neighbor’s phone conversations over our baby monitor. After we listened for a good 10 minutes (and after realizing that it was a fairly dull conversation), we decided to change frequencies… but not before realizing how easy it would be for someone else to listen to us, as well.
The memory of conversations being intercepted by a baby monitor gave me a jolt. What if someone COULD hear me right now? Would they hear the exhaustion and frustration in my voice? Would I sound like a total jerk?
This was a pivotal parenting moment for me, because I realized that when no one is watching, it’s easy to let our guard down and show our anxiety. But the second someone comes into ear shot, we become fully aware of how we are acting toward our kids. We take a breath. Focus on relaxing and then proceed.
I wanted to be THAT mom all of the time! So, from that point froward, I used the monitor to remind me of who I really am and what’s in my heart. No matter how tired or frustrated I was, I silently told myself that someone could see me.
After just a few months of doing this, I was able to regulate on my own without the help of the monitor metaphor. This realization caused be to become keenly aware of the mom I desperately wanted to be – I just needed a little nudge in the right direction.
In the end, that $45 baby monitor was the catalyst for one of my best tools for motherhood…. my mommy motto:
“Dance like no one is watching, and parent like someone is.”
P.S. We can’t forget that we really are being watched…by our kids. And their experience is far more important than what a stranger thinks.
P.P.S. I oddly miss the diaper changes now… mostly because now he’s no longer peeing in a diaper but rather peeing on the walls instead. Ahhh… motherhood really is glamorous, isn’t it? ;) Want more potty talk? You can read a little about my journey down the potty training road HERE.