Here is the thing about cries. Sometimes they are a cry for help.
No, I’m not getting philosophical on you, I promise! I am actually talking quite literally.
I am talking about children. The cries of little babies that then turn into the whining of toddlers.
Have you faced a day recently that seemed just full of crying. Whining. Even tantrums? Especially when you have a ton on your plate?
I know I had a day like this yesterday. I woke up early – the one way I can usually get a little time to myself to set my mind in order for the day. Actually, I should say that I had planned on waking up early. I was about to sneak out of bed and into the kitchen this morning when my daughter flew awake at 6:30 crying “Listen, Small World!” (She has taken a fancy to the song “It’s a Small World” recently…. lol!) So there went my quiet morning. Then I had planned to get laundry done. And go to the gym. And generally run around and be productive before having a lovely afternoon filled with play with my sweet baby before my husband came home this evening.
But my daughter wasn’t having it.
No, instead I found that simply making my to-do list for the day tasked her patience. Of course my first thought was, “why are you being so unreasonable this morning!” Because my daughter really is usually sweet and cheerful and good at entertaining herself! After making my to-do list (and therefor finally having my brain clear enough to think) it occurred to me that since this behavior was out of the ordinary, maybe I should look for a reason beyond just teething or general grumpiness.
You see, we mom’s are good at looking for reasons for our children’s misbehavior. Reasons such as teething or hunger or thirst or fatigue. And while those reasons are all well and good, sometimes they just don’t get to the core of what our children are really trying to communicate to us.
Sometimes our children aren’t just tired and teething. Sometimes, they are crying for love.
Love? But I love my children and would do anything for them! Ah, but have we been spending time with them? Yes, our kids love playdates and treats and library story time, and we should give them opportunities to be social and explore the world “on their own” as much as possible! However, we have to balance that with love.
With time spent holding our children and really engaging with them one on one.
Maybe you don’t have this problem, but I know I do. Life is almost always too crazily busy! And yesterday really brought this into focus for me. I am really good at getting things done, but my daughter isn’t a task. She is a precious, squishy little person who sometimes just has an off day and for one reason or another simply needs more fun time just with her mommy.
So yesterday, when I tried to decipher why my daughter might be acting up, I realized that while I had made the week fun and exciting for her and productive for me with playdates and pool dates and new games while I worked, I hadn’t actually spent much fun time with just her (outside of running errands together, but for a toddler that doesn’t really count as fun time!). Add into the mix the fact that she really was over tired (only 8 hours of sleep the night before!) and that her dad had been gone for four days again, and she was just acting up in an attempt to let me know she needed a little extra love. A little extra time simply playing with mommy.
The next time my toddler acts out of the ordinary for her sweet self, I am going to sit right down on the floor with her and find out what she needs rather than trying to make her work around my schedule. What about you?
Taking a moment just to observe the situation you find you and your child in really helps if you are struggling with figuring out what to do. Just look at the big picture – the overarching week. Sometimes our kids aren’t being naughty – sometimes they are uttering a heart-cry that they need us to listen to.
Please let me know in the comments below how you try to balance life and work with your toddler’s sensitive heart and desperate need for TIME!
Have a beautiful weekend!
P.S. This post was specifically meant for myself and fellow type-A, planner, super-driven personalities! It never is good to cater too much to your toddler, of course – they need boundaries and rules! If you are like me, though, you don’t have trouble setting boundaries but rather struggle more with assuming that every time they push those boundaries they are just being naughty. (Case in point: my toddler was just trying to refuse her nap an hour ago not because she was trying to be rebellious but because Daddy has been home less than 24 hours and she is afraid she will lose him if she closes her eyes.)