It was the third night in a row that Florian, our son, was awake in the middle of the night and was not able to fall asleep for 2-3 hours. Which meant, no sleep for the parents either.
We were trying everything we could think of – singing, talking, giving him food and drink, cuddling, gently stroking his back, repeating the evening going to bed routine, bringing him to our bed, then trying again his own bed… we had some temporary success, which didn’t extend to more than 15 minutes.
We were exhausted. Being awake between 3 am and 6 am and trying to get our baby to sleep is not fun. But it was OK. We didn’t have resistance for the fact that we couldn’t sleep. There was no criticism towards one another and neither of us was blaming Florian. He was doing the best he could.
Accepting what it was, was preventing us from irritability. Despite the late hour, Rogier and I, we had kindness, patience, and compassion for each other. Yes, today we are broken, but we are not holding grudges and we keep on playing as one team.
And this is what I actually wanted to share with you. I figured it out around my challenges with parenting, but it is super universal: People (not just the kids, but really everyone) are always doing the best they can, the best they are capable of in any particular moment. When I decided to renounce the need of a villain in every situation, my criticism, and my tendency to blame (myself) have started fading away. I didn’t have to get emotionally involved every time something was not going the way I wanted it.
That’s better, I think and for sure, I feel happier.
And an extra benefit of the realization that everyone is doing the best they can in any given moment, is that it helps me be less hard on myself and forgive myself for my shortcomings.