When mommy does not know

Play this scene in your mind.

You are in company of friends, family, or just in some public space. Your toddler starts acting up. Like crying hoarse and no amount of cuddling or cooing producing any positive results. Most mommies would run a check list in their mind. For example, does the baby have a full tummy? Clean diaper? Fever/wind-free? Yet the baby won’t quit crying. How do you (read mommy) would feel?

Let me answer this one from experience — it’s downright mortifying to be caught in a moment like this especially for first-time mothers who want to do everything right each time. The fact that all eyes (of dear friends, relatives and family etc) are on the mother, expecting to wave the mommy wand and soothe the crying child instantly, is way too much pressure to handle. You would have to have the nerves of a bomb-squad pro not to let this pressure get to you.  

I have been in several of such situations like this. And my son is just about 7 months old. So, I am still getting used to being “mortified” in front of friends and strangers. In fact, in my case, I have to take a wild guess every now and then to figure out why my toddler is crying. Whether he’s hungry, irritated due to humid weather, soiled diaper, rashes in some body part, wind in the belly or just needing to vent a few tears before settling down on some friendly shoulder, it’s a tough one to pinpoint the exact reason each time. And by the time you arrive at the right guess and implement the solution, prying eyes of friends, family members or strangers on the street are enough to bring down a poor mommy.

Once while on a public bus with my baby and spouse, we had to get off at an unsolicited bus stop because the baby was crying his lungs out for some reason and the passengers on the bus kept staring at us — the clueless parents. I had no ready mommy solution since he was just fed, wearing a fresh diaper and had even slept comfortably. Later, closer inspection revealed that a hair wrapped tightly around his tiny toe was the reason for waterworks.

A crying baby who can’t easily be soothed puts a lot of stress on parents, more so on the mother since everyone expects her to know the answer. Hogwash! Parenting is not about perfection. It is humanly impossible to interpret an infant, especially a crying infant, accurately each time. So grow a thick skin and enjoy your parenting. 


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