Whose Need Do I Meet First?

Whose needs do i meet first?Having subsequent children inevitably creates more unmet needs. Or, at the very least, needs not met at the exact moment the children feel they should be met. This was all incredibly overwhelming my first few weeks solo with my kiddos.

My firstborn did not understand why I couldn’t read the book he wanted right away. My second-born took great issue with my failure to refill his sippy cup. New baby daughter had strong feelings about being out of the womb in general. I was a mess. I quickly realized that maybe, rather than meeting needs, I simply needed to adjust my thinking.

1.     Realize that “Loudest” does not equal “Neediest”.
My oldest son has this idea that volume equals importance. Just like the patient complaining in the ER waiting room about waiting, my son thinks if he can just tell me the right thing in the right way, that will magically move him to the front of the line. This only works if you let it happen. I promise, the more times my son sees that yelling does NOT get him what he wants, he starts to try other tactics. I am guilty of doing whatever I can to shush the loud child in the moment. But I try to think of life lessons in these moments when I so desperately want to do what creates instant comfort.

2.     Use my words, and use them calmly.
So often I find myself so frazzled that I just want the noise/whining to STOP RIGHT NOW. This is when I need to calmly say, “Son, I see that you want me to refill your sippy cup. I would love to do that for you. First, I am going to feed your sister.” If he protests loudly, I suggest he sit on his bed until he calms down.

3.     Do as much as I can on the front end.
I can’t anticipate every need. But keeping a couple of bananas within reach of my oldest child, trying to keep sippy cups filled, trying to nurse my baby near a stack of books that can be read aloud while sister eats; these are things I can intentionally do that might eliminate some of the chaos.

4.     Accept that, sometimes, some things will have to wait. And waiting is okay.
I don’t think any mom wants to raise a child that grows to be a man or woman that is incapable of patience. I try to keep the adult version of my child in the back of my mind when I am doing something that seems hard in the moment but I know will pay off eventually.

Kara Garis is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to two active boys and a baby girl. She lives with her husband in Oklahoma and loves running, cooking, traveling, reading and teaching herself how to braid. She blogs very infrequently at karagaris.blogspot.com. 

Tags: infant, needs, nursing, parenting, toddlers, triage

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