You know the saying, “When momma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy?” Well, I have discovered that is only partially true for the mother of a newborn. From my experience, the cause and effect relationship starts with baby: if baby is not happy, momma is not happy. Ergo, nobody is happy.
I found this out during the first few days of all-nighters when Jacob’s colic would wear me down to a frazzle. Before I knew it and without any intentional thought, tension between me and Tom would rise to the pitch of Jacob’s yelling. Eventually, Jacob would calm down and all would return to normal between us.
Recently, during a particularly long week (I swear some of them have more than seven days), I was reminded again of how much impact a baby’s mood can have.
Tom and I were on our way home from a late-night event, and being sick and tired, we were both on edge. Jacob had been fussy all day so it didn’t surprise me when he began to whimper. Soon, his whimpering turned to crying and his crying into screaming (the kind that makes you wonder what’s going to be lost first—the baby’s voice or your sanity).
As the poor baby sat in his carseat hollering his lungs out (no amount of feeding, rocking, etc. was going to soothe his angry little soul), the more heated mine and Tom’s discussion became. After 15 minutes of listening to Jacob yell, our argument had reached a fever pitch. Just as we were both ready to pull out our hair—Jacob was safe; he’s still bald—he quieted down and so did we.
On the flip side, when Jacob is smiling and laughing, Tom and I are right there with him.
I suppose it’s not rocket science that hearing a baby yell at the top of their lungs raises blood pressure (especially when the baby is yours and nothing you do seems to help), but it still amazes me how such a tiny being can have such a big impact on the emotions of adults–even adults who should know better.
I am sure that mine and Tom’s experience with Jacob’s mood-altering powers are far from over. So, for the days when he’s more screams than smiles, I plan to invest in a good pair of ear plugs … on second thought, make that a whole case.