A Serious Case of the Grumps

I don’t know what’s going on with me lately, but I just feel so…blah. Kind of moody, kind of grumpy. Just constantly irked.

Things with Baby P. are getting a bit better, but it was still a rough week. There were a few days where he basically just cried from the moment he got up until the moment he went to bed. And then he woke himself up and cried some more. Sometimes when I hold him he seems happier, but then when I have to put him down he starts crying again. It’s really exhausting. I know now that he’s teething for sure. Poor little dude. I feel for him and I do everything I can to make him more comfortable, but the crying still grates on my nerves by the end of the week.

Blah! Party logo

Blah! Party logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My house is an absolute mess. There is baby stuff everywhere. I only managed to make dinner twice this week. I bought a bunch of cookbooks and was excited to get to try them out, but they’re just sitting unopened on my coffee table. I desperately, desperately want to start exercising but have no idea when to do it. By the time my partner comes home in the evening I am completely exhausted and ready for bed. My baby doesn’t really nap, so during the day doesn’t work, unless we go out for a walk or something (and the weather has been so crummy that hasn’t been possible for a while).

I look in the mirror and I just look…ugh. My eyes are puffy and red and my hair is in the same messy ponytail it was in two days ago. I’m wearing yoga pants and an Old Navy t-shirt, both covered in baby food and spit up. I’m weary and I don’t have the energy or motivation to do anything except for maybe go to bed and sleep for a week.

And then I hang out with my friends, other moms, and they just all seem like they have their shit together. They’re laughing and smiling and their babies are laughing and smiling and they seem to be having so much fun being a mom. It makes me feel like the worst mother in the world because my baby isn’t laughing and smiling, and I don’t know if it’s because of him or me. I look at people that I know who are pregnant, and they’re posting pictures of their sonogram and their cute little baby bumps and talking about how excited they are and how much they love their husbands and I just think, “Ugh. Go away.”

What is wrong with me? No one else seems to be struggling as much as I am, or at least they don’t show it as much as I do. I love my baby boy more than anything in the world but good God Almighty am I tired and grumpy. I just want to shut myself in my room and not talk to anyone until it passes. But I can’t, so I get up every day and try not to grump all over everyone I know. Am I the only one who feels this way?

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When Nothing Works

What do you do when nothing makes your baby happy?

My 8-month-old son is going through a phase right now that has me desperately trying to find the answer to that question. He seems generally miserable, and has been for the past few weeks. He’s not crying like he’s hungry or in pain, he’s just restless and difficult to please.

He doesn’t want to be around other people. Adults or babies, if he gets a look at anyone other than me or his dad, he starts crying. I know that stranger anxiety can start to set in around now, but I’m struggling with how to handle it. The easiest thing to do would be to just stay at home and avoid social situations. That definitely wouldn’t be good for me, and I’m not sure it would be good for him either. I try to be reassuring and ease him into social situations, but it can seem pointless to try to visit with friends and family when I spend the entire time trying to calm him down.

He doesn’t really want to play. Things that used to make him happy, like his bouncer and exersaucer, now hold no appeal for him. He just starts whining as soon as I put him in them. I’ve bought countless different types of toys and nothing holds his attention for more than a minute or two. I’ve tried playing with him and leaving him to play by himself, but both result in him looking at me with a sad face and a pout, and whining.

He hates it when I read to him. I’ve been slowly amassing what I can only describe as the most kick-ass library of kid’s books ever. I’m hoping that one day he and I can sit together and enjoy a story. Right now, sitting on my lap with a book in front of him results in squirming and screaming.

He doesn’t like being in his stroller or carrier. A sure-fire way to make him happy used to be to plop him in his stroller and go out for a walk. Now, that keeps him content for about five or ten minutes. Then he’s whining and crying to get out. A couple of months ago, I could take him to the store with me. Now, if I have to run out to get something, I usually end up carrying him with one hand and pushing the stroller with the other while trying to do my shopping.

I feel like I spend most of my day trying to keep him from being upset. It’s really exhausting, especially on the days when he cries unless I’m sitting directly next to him. Sometimes it’s like I’m back to the newborn days, when it was impossible for me to eat or shower or do anything other than try to figure out what’s making the little guy so sad.

I know that everything is a phase, and that one day he’ll wake up and be in a good mood and all of this will be over. I think it’s probably a combination of a few different things: stranger and separation anxiety, frustration over not being able to crawl or move, frustration over not being able to communicate, and tiredness (he hasn’t been sleeping particularly well either). In the meantime, I’ll just keep doing my best to make him happy.

Did you go through a phase like this with your baby? What did you do to get through it?