As I entered motherhood, I learned very quickly that my baby was a crier. I won’t sugarcoat it by saying that it didn’t completely blindside me. I knew motherhood wouldn’t be all sunshine and snuggles. I was prepared for endless poopy diapers, sleepless nights, and buckets of spit up. However, I was not prepared for an ultra-sensitive baby. I was not prepared for what to do when your baby screams bloody murder every time you try to leave the house accompanied by the sympathetic looks from strangers that make you want to dropkick them in the face.
I spent so much time wondering what I was doing wrong or why I couldn’t make her happy, but I spent even more time searching for a solution. Baby articles and amazon.com became my BFF’s as I tried to find the holy grail of baby products. I was in search of that one must-have product that would do the trick and change our lives.
“This product saved my life! A must have for all moms. It is the only thing that worked!”
I can’t tell you how many times I read these sentences or something similar. I can’t tell you how many baby product reviews I read looking for phrases like “magic” or “no more crying.” I can’t tell you how many times these phrases gave me a completely false and extremely short-lived sense of hope.
I can remember the endless hours spent online looking for 5 star baby products with rave reviews, the excitement that filled my body when I was positive I found the answer to our woes, and the text messages to my husband, “I promise I’ll return it if it doesn’t work, but I think it will be worth the money!” I should squeeze an apology in here for the hit to our bank account, sorry honey. Unfortunately, I fell for the gimmick and clicked purchase more times than I would like to admit. I am a little embarrassed when I think about all of the ridiculous things I bought out of desperation to feel like I was doing something right. We tried gripe waters that looked like black tar, sleep suits that looked like astronaut uniforms, and a handful of white noise machines claiming to replicate the noises of the womb. Sometimes it worked for 10 minutes or even a day, but most of the time it was a total disappointment. It was one more item of useless junk to add to the pile that was quickly stacking up in the closet.
After more wasted time and money, I eventually learned that sometimes, there simply isn’t an answer. Babies aren’t a riddle to be solved. Sometimes, your baby is going to cry. Sometimes, you might cry too. If you are lucky it will be in the privacy of your own home, but if you are like me it might be in the toothpaste aisle at target with an audience.
So, what is the one magic baby product that saved my sanity you ask? What saved my sanity was sitting in the dark, being hypnotized by the rhythm of her little breaths as I watched her tummy rise and fall while she slept. The “magic product” was in her smile. It was in those fleeting moments when her face lit up with a toothless, gummy joy. It was that one millisecond of happiness in the midst of hours of screaming that gave me the hope that I was doing something right. It was the tiny squeezes she gave my finger during our middle of the night nursing sessions. The “must-have” was her fuzzy head against my cheek while breathing in that delicious baby smell that disappears all too quickly. The “fix-it,” was seeing things through her eyes.
It was remembering that I may be new at being a mother, but she was new at being a human, and that’s hard. So, before you click purchase on a 5 star $300 baby contraption that does everything but change diapers in a desperate sleepless stupor at 2:00 in the morning, I ask you to just breathe. If your $300 baby contraption is already on its way, I ask you to keep the receipt and not be too disappointed if it isn’t magic. The magic, fix-all, save-your-sanity, 5 star item is that living, breathing, miracle of a life in your arms.