As a new mom, I wondered many times if my baby was mad at me, but I never stopped to think about how he might be interpreting my emotions. For the most part, I gave him my undivided attention and showered him with love and affection. And on those days when I was angry about something, I never considered that he may be able to know I was upset. But babies are more in tune with their mothers than they get credit for, and many parents may overlook the habits that makes your baby think you're mad.
You don't have to be an octogenarian to be set in your ways. Without realizing it, you fall into habitual patterns of behavior that can send a message you may not intend. For a baby, picking up on and deciphering those messages isn't a foolproof process. Lines get crossed and, without meaning to, you can lead your little one to believe that you are mad. The truth is, sometimes you may be mad — and that's OK — but it's not clear whether or not baby thinks the anger is directed at them or someone else. For a glimpse into what your child may be thinking, consider how these six habits influence your baby's perception of your mood.
1You Are Distracted When They Cry
Let's be honest, it's not always possible to drop everything when your baby is crying. But making a habit of taking too long to respond to your little's cries may lead them to think you're mad. According to Psychology Today, when babies cry they are looking for comfort from their caretaker. So on those occasions when they feel ignored their brain begins trying to figure out what could be wrong.
2You Have Resting Bitch Face
You may have a sour look on your mug when you're not engaged with people or in an activity, which causes baby to wonder why you're upset. As Parenting magazine explained that babies can discriminate different facial expressions between two and six months, and research has shown that when a mom has a blank expression, her baby will attempt to inspire a smile by grinning and cooing.
3Your Voice Is Flat
When I'm overtired, I sound like a robot whose batteries are about to die. Since new mothers experience their fair share of exhaustion, it's possible that you won't sound like a cheery Mary Poppins all the time. But your tone of voice matters. Babies pick up on the sounds and expressions you make and can respond accordingly, as Parents magazine explained. On those days when you're not as perky, your bambino may think you're mad.
4You're Stewing Over Something
Just because you're not mad at your baby, doesn't mean you don't get mad about other things. Moms are human too, and sometimes you when you get worked up, your baby picks up on that vibe. As What To Expect's website pointed out, your baby not only senses that you're angry, but can mimic those same emotions as well. You can't fool your baby with a fake smile, she can tell when something has you pissed.
5You Argue After Hours
You and your partner may think you're fooling your baby by waiting to sort out your disagreements once they're snoozing, but research shows that even the tiniest of tots can't be fooled by that move. As Smithsonian magazine reported, "parental bickering appears to have a visible effect on babies’ brains—even when the little ones are sleeping."
Although babies are able to pick up on tone of voice and facial expressions, they don't yet have the capacity to understand the nuance of sarcasm. Speaking sarcastically to your baby can send mixed messages, and instead of getting a good chuckle, your "joke" might make them think you're mad.