It’s not about me. It’s not about me. This is my mantra when Meebs has gas, or won’t sleep anywhere but in my arms, or gags and throws up everything she just ate because she shoved one too many pieces of watermelon in her mouth. It’s not about me doesn’t mean it’s never about me, or I relinquish all me-time. It just means I need to get outside my own head to be objective when I’m in the thick of a frenzied mommy moment.

Meebs was a newborn, about two weeks old, when I came to this realization—a sweet surrendering.

It was 2am and Meebs was waking every 30 minutes or so. It seemed like just when I was falling asleep she would start to cry again. Meebs was a gassy baby, and unbeknownst to us the cause was my breast milk after I consumed dairy. It took us a few months to figure this out because she mainly had issues at night and she was so happy and content otherwise. So for what seemed like the ump-teenth time that night I was walking up and down the hall, gently bouncing her against my breast, so tired I felt like I might fall over. I was frustrated and feeling sorry for myself. Why me? Why won’t my baby sleep? What’s wrong with me? Then it hit me: this isn’t about me. Not everything is about me anymore. Meebs isn’t doing this to punish me or purposefully deprive me of sleep, she’s not doing anything to me; she needs me. Ah, so this is what motherhood is about. And all at once I felt calmer, had more stamina and possessed more patience than I ever thought possible.

Like the other day when Meebs threw her sippy-cup on the floor, again, landing on my foot, breaking skin and bruising one of my toes. I was so close to losing it. I stopped myself just before I launched a screeching f-bomb, remembering that she didn’t do this intentionally to hurt me. She just likes the loud sound and doesn’t know any better. It’s my job to teach her why she shouldn’t throw things. I can’t do that if I make the situation about me. So, I continually remind myself that it’s not about me.

Truthfully though, sometimes it takes a tad more than mantra-chanting to conjure up this patience, like when Meebs decides to “help” when I’m changing her poopy diaper, and suddenly what was a contained mess becomes a head-to-toe outfit change for us both. The last thing you want to hear yourself say is “where the hell did that piece of poop go?” Sometimes a stiff drink and soak in the tub are in order. Then, it is all about me.