2 Tips for Exhausted Dads to Stay Zen When Your Baby is Losing Their Shit
Maybe there are some babies out there who don’t lose their shit?
Maybe they never get tired or hungry. Maybe they never lose their pacifier. Maybe they never bang their head against anything. Or maybe they bang their heads against things and don’t cry.
Not my baby, though — she loses her shit at least twice a day.
But babies losing their shit shouldn’t ruin your zen
You can’t control whether your baby loses her shit or not. Babies gonna baby, amiright? But you can control how you react.
Here’s 2 practices I’ve found super helpful for staying zen when my baby is losing her shit.
Focus for 3 seconds on a really mundane detail of whatever is causing the shit storm
When there is shit and milk and mess and screaming all around you, just take a beat and focus your attention on something — anything — that you wouldn’t otherwise look at.
For exactly 3 seconds. One. Two. Three.
If your baby has just done a poop’nami, look closely for three seconds at the print on her diaper. If she’s just banged her head on the leg of a chair, take three seconds and really study the chair.
And yes, yes, also change the diaper and kiss her boo boo. Learn to walk and chew gum, man.
Every time you think the words “I’m-so-tired,” wiggle your toes
I think those three words to myself about 50 times every day.
That’s not an exaggeration. I’m always tired. I didn’t used to be this way. But here we are.
Anyway there’s an upside: anytime you do something with high regularity, it gives you the opportunity to ‘stack’ a habit on top of it (for more on this see Atomic Habits). Whenever X happens, I do Y.
For me, it’s: whenever I think ‘I’m so tired’, I wiggle my fingers and toes.
It’s easy; it feels nice; it gives you back some control over your body; it even kind of wakes you up a bit.
It brings you back to the present.
And that’s what this is all about, really. It’s about staying present, even when you’re exhausted, even when the baby has lost the plot, even when your life seems like an unrecognizable shit-show.
Even then, especially then, you need to bring it back to the present and remember just how lucky you are.
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