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I Chose My Hair Over My Crying Baby

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Guest blogger Gina: I was running late and had to finish getting ready, but my baby wanted my attention. I chose to finish my hair.

mom blowdrying hair, baby crying

Every weekday when I get ready for work, I spend time with my one-year-old. She keeps me company as I get dressed, do my hair, make my coffee, check my email, etc. I talk to her the whole time and try to include her as much as possible. She's young, but we have a little system that seems to work.

Yesterday I was running late, my husband had already left and the nanny hadn't arrived yet. I still had about three minutes of blowdrying left to do. My baby started fussing -- she wanted me to pick her up. The clock was ticking and I knew the nanny would be there any minute, so I went ahead and finished my hair.

The baby walked out of the room and met the nanny at the door about a minute later. When she found my daughter there fussing the nanny said, "Nobody is paying attention to you?" and picked her up. I was in the next room and heard the exchange. She was right. I wasn't paying attention to her.

The question is, do I have to give my child attention every time she wants it? Part of me, of course, would love to. Part of me knows that in reality that's impossible to always achieve. And part of me wonders if catering to her every need instantaneously is the best thing for her in the long run anyway.

I am suffering from a great deal of mom guilt about the whole ordeal. I'm thinking that next time I may just wait the extra five minutes for the nanny to arrive and risk being late for work. But what if the five minutes turns into a half hour? It won't be good for my child if I lose my job, so we'll see.


next: Daddy Dozen: My Kid Needs a Costume!
90 comments so far | Post a comment now
maria October 13, 2008, 8:41 AM

You can never get back the minutes you waste doing ordinary things and let your child wait for you. You should have put down the hair dryer and comforted your baby. Did you ever think of one day just going to work with your hair not being perfect. Your children grow up so fast dont miss out on anything if you can. Oh and by the way, comforting your baby does not spoil them when they are older.

Gina October 13, 2008, 9:06 AM

Look, as long as your child was not wet or soiled or wasn’t hungry then 3 little minutes to yourself will not bring the world to an end.

I am so sick of those parents who think that their lives have to end when they have a child. All this does is create narcissistic children who grow into narcissistic adults. If the child can’t even figure out how to play with their toys without a parent being there, then the child is not being given a chance to develop their own imagination skills.

When my children cried, I would check their diapers. If they were not wet or soiled and I knew they were not hungry, sleepy or injured, then I would talk to them trying to sooth them without picking them up. If it was obvious they were just crying for attention but I had something that needed to be done, they were put in their playpen and I would continue to talk to them while I went ahead and completed the necessary task. And I think my children turned out pretty darn good. One is a Marine who will be home from the desert soon and one is in college studying to be a Chef.

So stop worrying if you child cries for a few minutes, it is not going to kill them.

Allie October 13, 2008, 9:07 AM

Wow! There are some very mean comments on here! My lord! Most are very nice and supporting. I don’t think you did anything wrong. I know how it is to be pressed for time and the need to get work on time bc if you clock in 5 minutes late it counts against you. Your little one will be just fine. I catered to much to my 2 1/2 year old son and now I can’t even go to the bathroom without him crying outside the door. And lets put this in perspective. You were blow drying your hair, I usually stand outside the door so I can see my son in the living room. It’s not like you went inside Pizza Hut to get your pizza and left your new baby unattended in the car!!! ( I just saw a mom do that!!!! Now THAT’S SUPER BAD!) Don’t beat yourself up!!!

ROGO October 13, 2008, 9:14 AM

Oh My Goodness….It’s okay to finish the regime of the morning! As a mom of two, I have always made sure I was clean & presentable as my children are… and I didn’t neglect them..EVER!!!! It’s okay to finish blow drying your hair! Don’t feel guilty. I do envy you though….being able to afford a nanny in this day & age! I am sure if your child required emergency care, you would have stopped the blow dryer! “Fussing” isn’t an emergency!!!!

Caryn October 13, 2008, 9:24 AM

Try doing that with multiple children. :) You have done nothing wrong! Don’t stress. I see my job primarily as a life preserver. My kids are still alive— sometimes I ignore their crying when they are in a safe place, so I can finish something. You were correctly differentiating between a dangerous situation and a whiny baby situation. You can’t please everyone all the time!

Angie October 13, 2008, 9:40 AM

You were right to finish your hair. I had a 14 month old when his brother was born. Anytime the older one wanted attention, I was “Miss Johnny on the spot.” Well, when little brother came, the problems started. The little one always needed a bottle or diaper change right when big brother wanted attention. Big brother would hit the little one since he was getting the attention. Unless they are TRULY in need, let them fuss a little. It didn’t hurt you as a kid to cry it out once in a while.

Angie October 13, 2008, 9:46 AM

One more comment and this is mostly for all the other comments making you out to be the “bad mom.”

Ask yourself a few questions…
1. Is your baby happy?
2. Is she taken care of?
3. Are you happy?

Every once in a while, every mom second guesses herself. DON’T! You’re doing your best and raising a child is a learning experience. Have fun everyday and remember, there’s always tomorrow to make it different. I don’t think your child is going to remember the one time she fussed for 2 minutes while you finished getting ready for work so you could support her.

Vicki October 13, 2008, 10:05 AM

Didn’t the mom say that she was getting ready for work? I agree with everyone who says that it won’t hurt for a child to wait a couple of minutes. That is what is wrong with kids today, they DEMAND everything NOW!!!!!!!!And we are likely to give in. I don’t think the nanny stays there when mom is home, so you people who say “give in” you will probably have the kids that everyone dreads to have around because they are brats.

Karen October 13, 2008, 10:23 AM

As long as you know your baby is safe & there are no hazards around, yes she can wait for three minutes until you finish your hair. I think that there is a certain amount of guilt that we go through as working mothers. We want to be there for our children, but we know that we have other responsibilities, too. I think that the nanny’s comment was inappropriate, though. I think it’s important to keep the mother, child, nanny boundaries in place. She can’t do better than you being a mother.

Chrissylou October 13, 2008, 10:44 AM

I can hardly believe this is a source of guilt. There is not one mom alive who has not let her children cry to finish up a task. And all you perfect moms who have written negative comments should think of their own situations a bit more honestly. Yes children grow up fast, that doesn’t mean you have to spend every moment entertaining them, I have 4 children my oldest is 21, the youngest is 8. You don’t loose precious irreversable time because you dried your hair, you have a lifetime of great experiences ahead of you. They will remember more, the times you shared when they are older.
Another thing concerning self entertainment. It is a great skill to teach them and helps to develop a healthy imagination. I loved to stand outside their rooms and listen and watch their creative play. Now my children are wonderful creative writers and involved in plays and the arts! And the best thing is now I am a grandma and get to have baby fun all over again, My daughter thinks that I did a great job with her and asks my advice almost daily for advice!

Anonymous October 13, 2008, 11:27 AM

A nanny?, she is the one raising your child, ahh how proud you must be. I raised my kids, homeschooled them and ran a business from home. Reason why? My kids were my number one priority, and damn sure my hair was NOT!

carol October 13, 2008, 11:28 AM

One day you will look back and wonder why fixing your hair was so important to you. The children grow up so quickly and believe me the co workers will not remember what your hair looked like but your children will remember all of the special times that you had with them as will you.

Jessica October 13, 2008, 11:43 AM

Oh, for the love of god, you looking like a fright isn’t going to help matters, it certainly won’t help your career, and it won’t help your self-esteem. Get over this guilt and live your life. Are you telling me that mothers who lived 150 years ago were picking up their kid in the middle of the cooking, sewing, churning, washing and baking they had to do? Kids will be fine if they are left alone to cry for ten minutes while you take care of yourself and your own needs. The last thing the world needs is another mother who looks like a homeless person because she is afraid to put her kid down for five minutes.

blurb October 13, 2008, 11:48 AM

Oh please - if the “baby” is old enough to go to the door and greet the nanny she’s old enough to entertain herself for the 3 minutes it took to finish your hair. Besides, when your daughter saw you weren’t going to stop what you were doing to pick her up what did she do? Did she go into full tantrum mode? No. She walked out of the room. Stop the guilt or she’ll pick up on it and make you her personal puppet! And finish your hair when you need to! In fact, buy your daughter a little baby hairbrush set so she can do her hair while mommy’s doing hers.


Susan October 13, 2008, 12:00 PM

First and foremost, you sound like a good mother. I know that when my son was that age I did jump every time he cried, and he still has a hard time entertaining himself(he’s 25 yrs old now)! Did not with my daughter, and she is much more well adjusted (she’s 22).
However, I do wonder if so many of us really NEED to work out of the home? If we look back to history, when there were many more well adjusted children out there, there was always a parent (yes, usually mom) at home. Now, we THINK we need 2 cars, or a 4 bedroom house, or other un-neccesary things…whatever happened to the simple life? When the children mattered more than having those things? If you can re-adjust your life to being more simple, then do so. Life is too short to stress out over whether we give our children attention, or not.

Anna October 13, 2008, 12:39 PM

QUOTE:”I spend time with my one-year-old. She keeps me company as I get dressed, do my hair, make my coffee, check my email, etc.”

There are 7 I’s, me’s, and my’s in this 26 sentence quote. There is only 1 she. Do the math.

Barbara October 13, 2008, 12:41 PM

I was a nanny for many years giving undivided atention to the kids, so much so that they began thinking I was Mom! I now have two kids of my own and stay at home. Whenever they want some attention I stop what I’m doing and play with them-house work etc will still be there when my kids are all grown up and doing their own thing.For those of you who like ‘comfortable lifestyles’ quit whining about having to work so you can afford your vacations 2-3 times a year and your big gas gusler cars and take care of your kids!!!!

Anna October 13, 2008, 12:42 PM

Sorry, 26 WORD one sentence quote.

Keira October 13, 2008, 2:30 PM

Your child has to learn patience. Just because they want attention, does not mean they need it. By all means do not completely ignore your child, but honestly 5 minutes while you fix your hair will not kill them. If you don’t teach them from the word go that it’s not all about them, when they get older or you have more children, life will be hell! My DD was #1 for 6 years before her brother showed up and I really regretted pandering her so much - the adjustment was terrible for all of us! Your job does come first bottom line. If you are not working and cannot support your family, you are screwed. It’s all about balance and your kids have to learn that there are going to be times they will just have to wait.

Summer October 13, 2008, 3:30 PM

I cannot believe some of the comments left on this page. Many people responding just sound spiteful and jealous that they don’t have a Nanny.I can also read between the lines and figure just who is raising America’s future criminals. The baby will not suffer unduly playing by herself for a moment while you finish dressing..wait till next year when she starts screaming” Mommy no go to work!!!!” Then the guilt will set in.
When my son was three months old, I gave him to his grandfather( clueless about diaper changes) and took off for an hour. I continued to allow other people I trusted to have my son an hour here or there, and now I have a happy, active toodler who is comfortable going off to school, staying overnite at Grandma’s, and always has a big kiss for Mommy.


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