At some stage my son really disliked having his diaper changed. I changed him on the compactum or on the bed, and the moment he laid down he squirmed, kicked and made a lot of protesting noise. I made sure I was calm and got it done efficiently so he wouldn’t have to lay down for too long. The same scenario would repeat daily, and I started getting frustrated. Then, one day my son was sorting shapes, and he kept insisting to try and fit the square in the triangle shape. He got frustrated and started hitting the shapes together. Seeing how he kept insisting on the same method without a change in result reminded me of the diaper changing times. I could see that his frustration, as well as mine, came down to a very simple explanation: our method was ineffective, and we have to be open to try something else.
I explained to him, that when he gets frustrated like this, he must look for alternative options and if he can’t figure it out by himself he can always come to me to see if we can find a solution together.
Next diaper change around, I decided to put this to the test myself. Instead of insisting he lays down to change his diaper, I looked at other ways of changing his diaper that didn’t require him laying down. We changed his diaper while standing, and all went smoothly.
I started noticing more small moments in my day where I would get slightly frustrated, and I immediately reminded myself that a moment of frustration = requires innovation!
Our behaviour reminded me of Albert Einstein’s quote on insanity: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
As parents in modern society, you’re constantly bombarded with different philosophies, methods and opinions on what it means to be an effective parent. Being a new parent, I drew from a lot of information from different sources to establish a direction for myself. The idea of being a parent and being responsible for another human being scared the hell out of me. I was so afraid of ‘doing things wrong’ that I followed many people and sources’ advice prescriptively. I bumped into frustration many times, because what I had assumed would be an effective method didn’t pan out to be effective in reality. In these circumstances, it can be very valuable to not ignore or disregard your personal frustrations, and to really have a look at whether your approach or the method you’re following is working for you, or whether you need to step into innovation. Frustration then enters the equation, not to ruin your parenting experience, but as a signpost to invite you to expand your perspective and try out something new.