Parenting isn’t rocket science, and babies aren’t learning rocket science anyway — although some them may grow up to be theoretical physicists — but maybe, just maybe what they learn is even more difficult than all of that.
I think that ** the most important things babies learn is trust. ** They learn that they can trust us to keep them clean, fed, rested, comforted and now and then amused. They learn to trust their instincts and ours to make sense of the world. When, despite our best intentions and good efforts, the world doesn’t make sense for them and they get fussy, tearful, fearful or furious, they need to know that they can depend on us to just be there.
That is the hardest of all: being with another person, especially a tiny person who can’t tell us what’s the matter, when he or she is inconsolable. That is the job, though, and we, as parents, need support ourselves to do the job well.
A self-described ‘desperate mom’ called me today, someone who had taken a Parents Forum workshop a few years ago. I hope I gave her some good listening and some encouragement. She said she would call back. I hope she does. How can we be there for our children unless someone is there for us? We need to trust our own feelings and know that it’s okay to be fearful or furious — not okay to take those feelings out on others, however — and we need to know, and show our children, how to reach out for the help and support we need. End of sermon. Smile.