The other day, husband and I were driving somewhere. Both our 2yo daughter and 6mo son were in the car and I was driving. It had been a long day, we were all sick of the car and our boy was grisly. Husband had tried a few things to soothe him but we both knew he was tired and needed to sleep. And, you know, kids don’t sleep when they really need to…they fight it, hard.
Anyway, it got to the point I had to let it go, and resolve to let him whinge and just drive. As soon as I stopped obsessing about his crying and what we could try next, I was a lot calmer. I glanced at him in my rear view mirror and suddenly I just, with only barely a conscious thought of what I was doing, reached over behind my husband and disconnected the DVD player on our sons side. His screen went black. Within 10 seconds he had stopped crying and within a minute he was sound asleep.
Call it what you will but I just knew all of a sudden what was wrong and how I could fix it. That the bright, constantly changing picture was keeping his little eyes darting and his little brain ticking. And he was tired so he was fighting himself and that was making him cry. I removed the stimulation and voila, he relaxed and fell asleep.
That’s a mother’s intuition right there. Maybe mixed with a spoonful of experience…but mostly it was simple – I stopped trying to work out the answer consciously and let it come naturally.
And I think this is a way of being I can and should apply consistently during my day. So often, I’m confronted with ‘what should I do now?’ moments as a mum. Wondering what’s causing the sadness/anger/distress evident in my child. I believe that most of the time I know the answer but I try to hard to force it, work it out. Instead, I should just breathe, relax and try to let the answer come to me. Because I think – and again I will say most of the time – I think mothers know. We just don’t trust ourselves enough anymore in this day and age of experts galore, to know better than anyone else what our little people want and need right now.
I’m going to try it – try to trust myself a bit more to be the one who knows my little people best – because I also feel certain that I will absolutely know when those times occur (and they will) that I don’t know what is needed and that it is time to seek help from my village. And that will be ok, too.