Not Her Fault

The introvert to extrovert ratio in our house is exactly even.  My husband and my little W are so energized by being around other people.  The more the merrier is their forever mantra.  My M and I are the introverts, and while we enjoy being around others, it also wears us out.  This difference was especially apparent after one of our recent play dates.  Our friends had just left, and W was bouncing off the walls.  He was the happiest he had been all day.  M and I were exhausted, and I knew the meltdown was imminent.  It happened to coincide with a phone call I took almost immediately after our friends left.  I had been waiting for this call, and my M chose that moment to NEED me.  I was trying to balance the call and her, and you can write the rest of the story.  When I finished the call, I was also frustrated in addition to being exhausted.

We began the nap time shuffle, and I got W settled in his bed.  For her quiet activity, M wanted to finish some work in the playroom so she set about doing that while I began the clean up process.  It wasn’t a minute later that I was sure I heard her fussing. “M!” I called out.  “If you need to fuss, then you can go up to your room and fuss there!” I was not even about to deal with all of that.

I will never forget her little response: “Mommy!  I wasn’t fussing.  I was just humming.  Sometimes mommies think that hums are fusses, but they are not.  They are just hums.  I was just getting my hums out.”

(Insert the moment where I wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out).

Everyone I have shared this story with, including my husband, has had the same reaction.  Was she really just humming or was she just telling you that?  Absolutely 100% that child was just, as she said, “getting her hums out.” I felt terrible for responding like that when all she was doing was humming. I shared those feelings with a friend that night over dinner.  “Yes, but that’s a lot,” she said.  “It’s a lot to be pregnant and have people over and then deal with everything afterwards.”  She’s right, but you know what?  That’s not M’s fault.

It wasn’t her decision to have people over.  It wasn’t her decision to take that phone call.  It wasn’t her decision to start the clean up process.  All of that fell on my shoulders, and all of it affected my M.  I talk to parents all the time about exercising caution when creating expectations for their children.  A lot of my coaching revolves around aligning the expectations with the environment.  That moment was a powerful reminder to me to do the same.  It doesn’t matter that mommies everywhere will understand exactly how I felt in this situation and could validate that as well as swap stories for days.  What matters is that I am tuned into my own children and how my actions and decisions will affect them. It’s my responsibility to anticipate the effects of my decisions and to then be there to support them through it, especially if what I decide to do will most likely result in their fatigue or frustration.

I will do things differently next time beginning with making sure I am in a better place the next time around.  I’m grateful to my M for reminding me how important it is to remain centered and calm no matter what.  I would never again want to stand in the way of her getting those hums out.

Find the joy,