I walked away from our screaming baby. He was a couple of months old and I put him back down in his crib and walked away. He had been crying for a while and I couldn’t think of what else to do to help him calm down, but I recognized I needed a minute alone.
Our room is right next to his so I could hear him wailing as I sat down on the edge of our bed.
I started to take a couple of deep breaths. He was still screaming. A few more breaths, and the screaming turned to crying and sniffles. A couple more breaths and all of a sudden, he stopped crying.
I’d like to think he could sense me breathing from the next room over and slowed his breathing to match mine because that’d make for a pretty cool story. Either way, I was grateful that he was no longer upset.
I tiptoed back in his room, expecting him to be asleep, but he was wide awake. He even smiled at me when I popped my head over the crib to look at him. Wait, what?! I thought to myself, this whole time, I’m trying all the things the books and other people said to do to comfort a crying baby, when in reality, you just wanted to be alone and not held? Nobody told me about that!
He needed a minute alone to breathe, just like I did.
Practicing mindfulness was not something I was actively doing during this phase of my life, but I am grateful for listening to that little voice that nudged me into putting him down to take a minute for myself.
I had heard about mindfulness for years throughout my schooling and while coaching gymnastics. I knew a general idea and the importance of recentering yourself. This was vital to my gymnasts when they were getting ready to compete
It’s not selfish, it’s selfless.
Take a minute.