How I learnt that “Enough crying” should be one of the last things to say to my crying kid.

Never fear those mountains in the distance …

It literally crushes my soul when I see my 3 and a half year old crying, well most of the times when it is for a genuine reason. But at other times, when it is for no reason in particular, I often end up saying “Stop crying, that’s enough!” That’s just because I assume that there’s no good reason for her to cry right now. Now, who am I to assume that?

Crying is a powerful mode of communication. It’s a sign of one being hurt in some way. It’s a feeling and ideally feelings should not be judged as being right or wrong. Genuine or not, we have all said “Stop crying” in response to a crying kid, believing that it’s the quickest way to make that emotional response go away. But is it really? Is it really healthy for kids to hold back their tears ? In my experience, it’s not. Instead, I simply allow it to flow and say a couple of things while my kid vents out her emotions. Here’s what works for me:

“Come, let me give you a hug.”

Sometimes, a simple holding of hands or a tight hug is all that my kid needs to calm down for starters. Investing quality time in the form of a gentle, intimate touch has scientifically proven to release “positive hormones” and induce a feeling of being cared for. TLC (Tender Loving Care) Therapy!

“I’m sorry you feel sad but it’s going to be okay.”

There’s nothing wrong in feeling hurt or upset. IT’S NORMAL! They are strong emotions and could lead to a stronger sense of discomfort. And stepping out of ones comfort zone can be a memorable learning experience. Learning to handle disappointments is a critical life skill and as a parent, I take these moments as opportunities to let my kid know that crying (although distressing) is just “Step 1” in the whole process of bouncing back from disappointments. Feel that emotion, accept the situation and work through it. This too shall pass!

“I am right here, with you. Let’s talk about it.”

Knowing that we are not alone in times of crisis, can be a very uplifting feeling for our spirits. Crisis for one, may not be a crisis for another. It’s only a matter of perspective and experience. Letting my kid know that she’s in a safe space with me and we can get over anything together can work magic. I respect her state of crisis (whatever it may be) and help her to ease that feeling of being overwhelmed with emotions. Gradually, as the emotional cloud clears and the heart settles down, the mind starts to work it’s logic to understand and overcome the crisis at hand. EQ CHECK, IQ CHECK! Now, let’s talk about it.

“Up for a Baby Mama story?”

Walking my kid through my personal experiences as a kid fascinates her in a very obvious way. Stories (real or not) with real emotions always tend to touch her heart as she resonates with the experience. More real life characters (that she knows of) makes it all even more intriguing for her. What one did, what one said, how one felt, how one helped, makes it all even more real for her. Just knowing that her mom went through a similar “crisis” and came through just fine, gives her a sense of hop and confidence that she can do it too. This bond I share with her also helps her to pick out some strategies from my experiences to overcome her current state of distress. She learns from my life stories (and even mistakes) and there’s no better teacher than life itself.

“What do you want to do next?”

Once the problem has been accepted and understood, CHOP CHOP! Let’s move on with it… Do something that makes us feel better and move on with the happy life that we are blessed with. I suggest and then she gets to choose what’s gonna make her feel good. Not acknowledging the problem and suppressing the feelings that go along, is just as unhealthy as is to keep pondering over the problem and the accompanying feelings. Moving on… is also a life skill that’s hard to cultivate but necessary for survival in the mad mad world out there.

As hard a work as these may be, all these efforts do help me in diffusing the state of crisis for my kid faster than saying “Enough crying”. It shouldn’t be about being in control in the power struggle. Feelings can’t be stopped, emotions can’t be enough-ed. It’s about preparing my kid for the larger crisis or disappointments in later life where throwing a tantrum or simply crying isn’t going to be enough to overcome struggles. It’s about empowering my kid to realistically expect hurdles, confidently manage situations, and maturely tackle the the bigger challenges in her beautiful life ahead – physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially. BIG PICTURE, is what I like to call it!

“Mom-ents” when I realise that my little one was born to raise me…

Being a mum isn’t easy, it sure has its ups and downs,

Being a mum was never easy, as we grin on and simply get over our frowns.

Yes, we laugh, we play, we learn, we sing, we dance, we hug, we cuddle, we snuggle,

and often rather conveniently forget to highlight how we SNAP and STRUGGLE

Yes I confess, just like my little one, I snap, I yell, I shout, I scream,

and I can throw a bout of tantrum just as dramatic,

or even much worse than what she’s ever seen.

I often say “I’m busy”, “Go play alone”, “Don’t disturb me” and many other such statements which basically imply “Please leave me alone!”.

And each time I say that, I can feel her heart break and the shattering of my own.

My heart skips a beat or two, as I see my little one startle and panic,

when I throw a tantrum of frustration which can be just as erratic.

My soul is crushed when I see my little one looking for someone to run to,

Some one to rescue her from me… searching for her next best person to go to.

But then something miraculous happens…

She instinctively runs to me, in no time,

as she cries uncontrollably, her soul shattered just like mine.

Her eyes reflecting an intense mix of fear, disappointment and hope…

a hope to never have to go through that moment, that made her feel all alone.

My heart cries a thousand rivers when I snug her tight into my arms,

and she grips me with a force so strong,

that its hard to believe that she’s only a 2 year old trying to figure out what she did wrong.

Although the fear and confusion continues to exist,

the relief that follows is hard to resist.

And wrapping her arms around me, she squeezes me so very tight,

Only hoping that now everything will be alright.

In that moment I realise, how her love for me is so pure and unconditional,

and I feel so shallow when I expect a 2 year old to be all rational.

While raising her, I often struggle to have some personal space,

but I fail to realise how I am her only “safe place”.

I am eternally grateful that my little one exists,

and continues to not only test me but also manages to tactfully twist my wrist.

Yes, I feel stuck and suffocated at times but she only makes me a better person,

and when I am not, she forgives me as if nothing wrong was done.

In moments of outbursts, when our patience and strength runs low,

we simply melt into each other’s arms,

And stay there safe, as we let all of our emotions flow.

That, then and there, is a moment we cherish,

Because that is called “coming back home” after we are done being foolish.

I whisper in her ear, “I’m so very sorry for getting upset”,

But in a way it puts our relationship up for a test.

Just as I tell her how I love her to the moon and back,

She gently reaches out to touch my tearful eyes and cuts me some slack.

And then as we close our eyes and call it a day,

We both let it go and have nothing more to say.

We get all cosy as we cuddle and sleep,

The silent peace that takes over is so insightful and deep.

We wake up to start a new day, as if yesterday never happened,

And yet accept each other in spite of everything that happened.

As I raise my little one and teach her how to be,

I realise that she has so much more that I can learn to be.

Strong headed, with a Forgiving Heart, Loving Soul and Caring from the start.

Emotionally resilient yet empathetic, and has so much more to offer from her cart.

I am far from being a perfect mum, but I’m sure that I was made to be “her mum”,

I goof up time and again and yet she chooses me over everyone.

I don’t have to be the best, or put our relationship to test,

As long as I know that she loves me come what may,

That puts all of my mothering doubts to rest.

She has taught me to believe that I can do it all, even when I can’t,

She has taught me to be “her mum”, and silenced all of those idealistic “motherhood” rants.

Loosing my cool, doesn’t make me a bad mum.

Messing up and giving up doesn’t make me a bad mum,

Wanting some me-time doesn’t make me a bad mum.

My little one has taught me to block out many such doubts that come.

If anything, she makes me introspect so so deep,

These are the moments when she tells me that I am forever hers to keep.

It’s as if she has hand-picked me to be her mum,

Good or bad, we shall only know in the time to come.

Even when it often feels and looks like something is amiss,

Her and me, as a team…we fight, we make up and we kiss,

Right then and there, we always end up making a promise,

Only to remind each other that “We’ve got this!”