Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lessons, Part 2


Another thing that was surprising was how many times I had to hear certain pieces of advice in order for them to stick.

One example was when people would say that my main job was “to feed the baby” or “keep the baby alive” or something similar. It took me weeks and weeks to be able to adjust my daily expectations.

One day at a time...
The problem is that I kept thinking my plans were fairly modest and reasonable.

Was it too much to ask to be able to brush my teeth before noon, take a shower every once in a while, cook a simple meal? Everyone was saying “no (new) mother can do it all.” Well, I wasn’t trying to do it all. I thought I had planned pretty simple activities, and they were still too much to handle.

I have to admit that social networking played a role here. Mothers, I’m not blaming you, but the newborn photo shoots are hard to look at! Not the photos themselves, but the idea of it. You got the whole family dressed and dolled up and maybe even out the door to a studio somewhere, and the baby behaved himself, and then you probably even printed some up for a Christmas card. I know there is more to the story, but that’s what I see when I look at the finished product. Just a moment of weakness for me.

I wrote up a list of important yet manageable tasks and put them on the refrigerator. I still didn't always do them and I still wanted to do big projects like unpacking everything from our recent move. But the list was supposed to have a sort of authority, commanding me to STAY ON TASK.

It took a long time to realize that there wasn't a deadline for this kind of life. Well, you CAN be too late to perform certain acts of love, I suppose. But the dishes will still be there tomorrow. 

4 comments:

  1. I totally relate here! 2 years into this mothering gig and I still have to remind myself that "there isn't a deadline for this kind of life." Like yes the family will survive if the laundry is overflowing, the floor has cheerios all over it and the dishes go undone for yet another day. I think what really tripped me up in the beginning was this crazy obsession the world seems to have with finding "balance" in your everyday life...I realized that with babies & young children in particular there is no such thing as balance. The pendulum is always swinging, and life is always unpredictable. But so, so blessed. Have you ever heard that song "Desert Song" by Hillsong? I think that describes how I feel. Some days I'm in the desert "in weakness, in trial and pain" and then some days I get stuff done and am in "the harvest where favor and providence flow," knowing I'm filled to be emptied again. I daily have to remind myself that my status as a "good" mom doesn't depend on how much I've checked off on my to-do list or how well I fit in with the rest of the mom bloggers of the world.

    And can I say an "AMEN" to the frustrating nature of social networking when you're just trying to get by with an infant! Sometimes I'm just flabbergasted at the things some moms on my facebook and blogger are able to do in their everyday life, with an infant! And I think the stinky thing about social networking is that we put these expectations on ourselves that women definitely did not have 100 years ago. And then you have the mommy wars and all of that where people just can't agree to disagree on frivolous parenting issues.

    What I want to end with is this: You're doing a great job. You have a happy, healthy baby and a happy husband. You're serving the Lord. Being a mom to an infant is plain hard work, and it's AMAZING how much time it takes just for basic things. And the Lord knows how hard it is to be a mom, I am so thankful He shares our burdens and understands all difficulties. It will get better, I know after M turned 1 things were a lot different and I was kind of able to get back to the to-do list junk I'd put on hold for a year. But here I am pregnant again and the to-do list is back on hold haha! Oh life.

    You're doing a good job, Elizabeth! ((hugs))

    (sorry I am SO long-winded!)

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    1. Thank you so much, Kendra! I'm going to look up that song. I think part of what I was trying to communicate is that it's such a never-ending cycle of doubt and confirmation! Finally being at peace with God and life and then some little bug creeps in again and starts making trouble. And in the back of my mind I'm thinking, "We JUST went through this!" So glad people like you have gone before me.

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  2. I know what you mean. It seems like whenever I am home I am accomplishing NOTHING. But, especially now that I know the critical importance of nurturing, and holding and care in the first days, weeks, months and years of a baby's life, I am almost obsessed that Monnie never be "left". Now, I know that Aidan slept soundly in his cradle, when he was this age, while I did my housework, cooked, sewed, etc. I do not remember AT ALL this feeling of being "pinned down" to a chair. And, Monnie is as "easy" as Aidan, it is just that I have this new idea that she MUST BE HELD, and as I want her to bond with me, and I am at work a lot, when I'm home it is ME who must hold her.

    I will say that the little "wrap" that straps her to my chest does help a bit - otherwise no one would ever have dinner.

    This time does go quickly! (That is the one thing people told me that I didn't really understand....) One of these days soon, he'll be a "big boy" and won't want mama hugs, let alone to be held.

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    1. I think it is important that they tell you that you "can't spoil" young babies. Yes, when I pick my baby up I imagine that I am "breathing" life into him (though not in a weird mystical way like it sounds).

      I used to hand him off a lot when he was little because he wanted to eat so often and I was the only one who could do that, so never wanted to just hold him because I was afraid he would want to eat again. But now I enjoy the cuddles.

      When I "wear" him on my front, I find it hard to do kitchen tasks. But I am able to wear him on my back now and he'll put up with it for 30 minutes to an hour so I can get a few things done.

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