We all have Shark Music – Welcome to the Club. The goal is not to get rid of it, but to begin to observe when it arises and how it impacts our responses in relationship. The following story is a parent’s reflection on observing her Shark Music.
Having a very upset baby in the middle of the night is a familiar experience for parents around the world. Bleary eyed and desperately needing sleep, you do your best to comfort your little one, often in the half darkness. This was me and my husband a few nights ago. It seemed to go on forever. I rocked and sang, cradling my daughter to my chest as she wailed in discomfort. After a half hour or so, my husband took a turn and soon our little girl was back to sleep in his arms.
As we settled back into bed, I found myself very irritated at the two of them. I had a strong pang of anger and hurt as I rolled away from them both and went back to sleep, feeling alone and unloved. It wasn’t until later the next day that I recognised my reaction for what it was – Shark Music. In those moments, as I watched our baby settle in my husband’s arms after I had tried and tried, I felt rejected. My baby liked him more. I was no good. I was on the out. These are familiar sentiments to me, but ones I have come to learn are a product of my own history and not coming from my baby. Of course, it makes sense that sometimes, when I am exhausted and a bit overwhelmed (like I was that night), I can’t be as soothing as at other times. And, there are other times that it goes that other way and our baby settles in my arms after my husband has tried and tried.
And, of course, I am glad that my husband and our baby are connected and that she feels soothed by him, just as I know, he often feels soothed by me. In the light of day, I am glad to know that recognizing this as Shark Music stops me acting on feelings that come out of pain from long ago, even if it takes me some time to figure it out.
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