Card games. I hate them. I'm not good at them and I always lose. When I was a kid, I remember cheating in Go Fish. For whatever reason, even if I needed a card, I would never Go Fish. I just skipped that part of the game. Of course, I'd end up losing miserably because of this. You would think I would have learned by now...
For the most part, I have always felt like I was a pretty put together person. I mean, I wear leggings as pants on occasion and I rarely blow-dry my hair...
But I never miss a shower and my kid's clothes are clean. I usually remember when it’s school picture day and I closely follow a daily to-do list. I’m a type A, control freak, go-getter.
Enter kid 3. I felt pretty awesome after she was born. I mean, I was on cloud 9. Hitting the beach and running my errands within days of her birth. I was running circles around the old Audra, you know… the one that only had 2 kids. I was dominating my laundry and cleaning and actually felt like I was doing a great job and taking it all in stride. I honestly felt like having Lulu made me a better mom. The moment I would see something that needed to be done, I would get it done. I was emptying the dishwasher instead of letting it wait until later. I was doing a better job of getting things put away before the big kids were home from school. I felt like a good wife because my husband was sleeping well enough to get to work the next morning because I was taking all of the midnight feedings… and the 2am feedings and the 4am feedings. I was making my minutes count, instead of just my hours.
Then Lulu started with colic. Holy $%!&. Colic is evil. I mean, from 5pm until 8pm she would scream. Unconsolable screaming. Not only was I unsuccessful in helping my sweet baby but I couldn’t get anything accomplished at home. When I had time to get something done, I could barely stand up! The sheer exhaustion from bouncing a baby for 3-5 hours straight was breaking me. Colic has a terrible way of making you feel like you aren’t an adequate mama. Combine all of that with the fact that my to-do list wasn’t even touched at the end of the day and I wasn’t just a visitor in Struggle City, I was the Mayor.
I couldn’t help myself from wallowing. Why was this happening? I’m not cut out for this. I’m failing miserably. Joey and Penny were the 2 most JOYFUL babies on the planet. Clearly this tiny baby just hates me. She’s probably going to put in for a transfer… The Devil likes to sneak into our hearts and ours thoughts like that.
It took a full week of self-pity, sadness and trying to do it all on my own to knock me off of my feet and when I finally hit the ground, I was surrounded by a mess I had made. I needed help.
Mamas, WHY are we so hard pressed to ask for some help? Why can’t we accept a little help from our friends now and again?
I had to swallow my pride and tearfully ask my husband to take the midnight session to rock our screaming daughter.
He didn’t bat an eyelash. He gladly took it on.
I asked neighbors to give Joey a ride to school because I wasn’t sleeping at night and the idea of waking up to get all 3 kids out of the door before 8am… well, it wasn’t happening.
They jumped at the chance to help me.
I asked my Mom to come over and bounce this baby and fold some laundry.
She got in the car and came.
I asked my Mother in Law to help us cook meals when she was in town visiting.
She cooked a weeks worth of meals with a smile. Better meals than I cook, might I add.
I sought advice from the village of mamas that I do daily life with on the Outer Banks.
They brought over essential oils and baby care books. They prayed for my daughter and texted me jokes during our witching hours to keep me laughing...
As much as I hate to admit it, sometimes you have to accept the cards that you have been given. And sometimes those cards require you to “Go Fish.” Sometimes you need to reach into the center of the table and find some help to make sense of the cards in your hand. How awesome is it that God gives us these spare cards in life and all we need to do is pick one up?
I was struggling to be my typical Type A, control freak self when the help I needed was all around me. Colic is awful but it broke me down and made me accept help. Shoot, even walking in the door at Starbucks is hard for me when someone else is holding the door. I can hold that door by myself.
Audra, just smile and say THANK YOU. God gave me such an incredible village and I was so afraid to use it for fear of looking weak or being judged. As if my day won’t be acceptable unless I cross everything off of my to-do list and get in some exercise...because obviously keeping children alive and happy clearly doesn’t classify my day as productive.... When I actually accepted the help, I was able to put together a plan to help myself so that I could better help my baby girl during her colicky times.
Dare I say that I think we are on the colic upswing? I think we’re almost out of the woods…. and yes, I am knocking on wood right now.
And with the dust settling, I am finally able to breathe. I put together a few things that made life more “do-able” for the last 5 weeks of colic!
You can look on any basic website to find 1000 ways to help a colicky baby. I’ll tell you that while many things “work” to help a sweet little baby that is screaming, they are all temporary. In my experience, true colic just has to pass. You can swaddle, go outside, sit by the clothes dryer, change your diet or change bottles or give the baby a massage… whatever your method is, it’s likely temporary. Here are a few things to help YOU help yourself so that you are able to get through the weeks and not just get through the night.
#1- MEAL PREP. Jason and I have been doing a meal prep on Sunday’s and getting ahead of dinner time by making meals and freezing them so that while one of us does our best to soothe a screaming baby, the other can get dinner going and our big kids can stay on their schedule.
#2- SMILE AND SAY THANK YOU. Accept help wherever you can. Whenever you can. If someone offers help, accept it. If they don’t, ask them for it. It’s a temporary season and you are human.
#3- COMMUNICATE. Send a text, jot a note down on the counter so you don’t forget, send a carrier pigeon, whatever it may be… but stay in communication with your husband/wife. If 5 weeks go by and you haven’t made this a priority, you may have a host of other issues in your home. Plus, you need to communicate to others that you are currently the Mayor of Struggle City and that Colic IS ruling your life.
#4- SAY NO. Say no to company. Say no to an invitation. Say no to anything that feels overwhelming. You’re not being a bad friend. You’re not being a lame PTO parent. You’re not the worst mom on planet Earth. Sometimes you need to say No to the “extras” so that you can keep your head above water. Colic will eventually go away and you will get to say Yes again someday!