Crying over Spilled Milk.
This phrase is generally used when describing a situation that isn’t worth crying over. Spilling milk shouldn’t reduce you to tears right?
Well, I have indeed cried over spilled milk, literally 3 times.
Let me share with you how this came to be.
1/ Spilled milkshake in Target.
I was in Target, heavily pregnant, looking for items to pack my hospital bag. I found my way to the underwear section to purchase some new nursing singlets when I heard a terrible sound; the sound of my child’s milkshake hitting the ground and splattering everywhere. The milkshake I had thought might help my child stay seating in the stroller while I attacked my ‘to buy’ list as efficiently as possible. Well…. That backfired.
I walked out to the aisle to see if I could attract some help, no one was there. I couldn’t leave my child or the mess, So I hunted through my baby bag for something to help. His was WAY beyond baby wipes, yet a tried to use them to soak up what I could, I used a swaddle as well but there was still milk everywhere. I was so overwhelmed by the mess, by my upset child and by the discomfort I felt crawling on the ground with my pregnant body. I cried.
Eventually I found someone to help, and she was kind, which made me cry more. I then progressed to crying because I felt so silly that I was crying.
2/ Spilled Latte in McDonalds
My mother-in-Law is in a nursing home down the South Coast, so we try to visit her a few times a year. The more children I have had the less frequent those visits become because it is a long drive with small children, and it always feels like an overwhelming task.
We will generally always factor in a McDonalds stop on the way down- to break up the trip with food, toilet stop and playground play. This one such time we were bringing a young infant down to meet Nanna for the first time, I was a very tired Mumma of a newborn and this baby did not like being in the car, vocally protesting most of the way.
We finally arrived at our regular McDonalds where I fed and changed the baby, and then off loaded the baby to my husband so that I could sit and drink my much-needed coffee. But instead, I knocked the coffee off the table all over the floor and myself. Fortunately for me Mums never get to their coffee hot, but it was still a mess, and I REALLY wanted that coffee. So, I cried. Cried at my inability to focus on simple tasks like picking up a cup, cried at my inability to manage and regulate my children on this trip, cried that I had coffee all over my jeans with no change of clothes for myself, then cried that I was publicly crying and felt so ridiculous.
Ordered another coffee to go. My husband carried it to the car for me.
3/ Spilled Breastmilk all over my shirt.
I love being a breastfeeding Mumma. I feel grateful to have been able to do so. I have always had a bit of oversupply, which I know sounds great to those who struggle with supply, but oversupply can have its own challenges.I am usually good at making sure I have good thick breast pads because they are always required, but for whatever reason this day I did not have any on and I am sure you can predict the rest of the story.
I was out at Myer café with my mother, and I had had a letdown while feeding my baby. Milk started soaking very quickly through my bra to the dress I was wearing. A dress that did no favours to hide the growing wet patch. I was embarrassed but thought I will just have to go buy something else to wear, I was already in Myer so that should be fine. I needed to be quick, I needed to buy without trying on (as I was so wet), so I started to feel overwhelmed with the burden of spending money on something I might not love. I didn’t have time to overthink it but buying clothes for breastfeeding can be hard at the best of times. I hustled as best I could and bought a cheap skirt and t-shirt. I then proceeded to the bathroom to change. Well, it just didn’t look great. So, I cried. Washers folded into my bra, and then covered up by a less than flattering outfit. I was overwhelmed by my discomfort in my own body in that moment and annoyed at myself for not being able to dress myself properly (how did I forget breast pads, why hadn’t I restocked them in my bag, why did I choose such an impractical dress to wear, why don’t clothes look good on me).
In each scenario I found myself crying over spilled milk, it spoke much more to my fragile state than it did the episode of spilling milk. This is what happens when we are at our limits, at the end of ourselves, exhausted in our capacity to regulate our own emotions. We cry over things that don’t generally warrant a cry. We are living through tough times. Circumstances that are beyond what many of us have ever asked of our nervous systems before. Our brains are tapping into the survival mechanisms in our brains more than what we are used to, and in turn we struggle to access the parts of our brain that facilitate logical thought and regulation of feelings.
As a mother with a baby, I know my brain is already functioning on base level survival circuitry, add in Lockdown from global pandemic… crying over spilled milk is entirely acceptable!I know we all have our stories.If you find yourself overwhelmed at things you usually aren’t overwhelmed by; crying at things that wouldn’t normally upset you; triggered by things you aren’t usually bothered by, your fragile state is not a sign of weakness.
We are all vulnerable at the moment, especially Mothers. We are asking a lot of ourselves right now, doing our best, but we are only human and the environment we are parenting in is not conducive to healthy regulation of emotions.Let’s be kind to ourselves and if you need to cry- please do think of me mopping up milkshake with baby wipes, wearing jeans soaked in coffee and a top soaked in breastmilk and know you are not alone! xxx