Misery Is Optional

I have a screaming baby and I'm losing my mind.

My baby has been screaming, no joke, for a week. You probably think that I'm exaggerating, I wish I was. Last Wednesday, when I was on a conference call, I finally had to leave because I couldn't even hear the other people because he was so loud. 

When my husband finally got back into town we had to take him on our date because he was screaming too much to leave him with our oldest daughter. 

He screamed so much on Sunday that my husband skipped church to stay at home with him.

Today he continues to scream because, who knows why?

I have tried every hippie remedy I can think of and nothing seems to be working. I even tried traditional medicine to see if that would help and it didn't do anything. So, last night I cried. I cried because I knew that when the morning came I would be greeted by a crying one year old who is very difficult to soothe and calm down.

This morning when I woke up and left the house to go to the gym I had some alone time to think about the best way to handle this.

My husband is a financial planner and whenever he gets stuck with what he should do with our personal finances I ask him, "If this were your client, what would you tell them to do?" So, I asked myself the same question this morning. "If my client came to me in this same situation what would I tell her to do?"

I would tell her that she is making herself miserable. Yes, her baby is crying, but her baby isn't making her miserable, she is choosing to do that all on your own. 

Years ago I had two friends who both had husbands that traveled for work. One of them was completely miserable and the other one was happy. I asked the happy friend how she was ok with her situation. She told me that she knew that her husband's career would require him to travel and so she decided very early in their marriage that she would still choose to be happy.

Today, I'm coaching myself with the same advice. Just because my baby is crying doesn't mean I have to be miserable too. There are three steps to help when you're stuck in the whoa is me trap.

  1. Smile. I know it sounds super cheesy, but changing your face into a smile can actually help you feel happier. No one knows yet why smiling can influence our mood, but it does.
  2. Stop being so darn negative and focus on the positive. I sat and told you all these negative things about my baby. You probably had sympathy for me, but what if I rewrite my story and focus on the positive instead? It is a much better space to be in than looking for all the ways why this is so hard.
  3. Get curious what this experience will teach you. What am I going to learn from this? Life is all about growing and learning and sometimes you have to go through difficult things to reach your full potential. 

Hard things are going to happen, I can guarantee that, but being miserable is optional.

Here's a highlight of my week. The only way to get him to calm down is to just sit and hold him. I don't love sitting, doing nothing, but I'm trying to treasure the moments I have with him before he doesn't want to be held anymore.