The Mission of Motherhood
Today was one of those days. Felicity is experiencing a bit of a growth spurt and she went from 3-5 hour eating intervals to every two hours last night. In other words, I got no sleep.
When the alarm went off, I couldn't move. No sleep at this, ahem, later in life stage, is no joke. The brain already works in slow motion between the hormones and my age but when you add no sleep to the equation, a simple task like getting out of bed - yeah, that's not happening.
This is the kind of day when I stay in my pj's so that as soon as this sweet baby goes down for her morning nap, I can go with her.
However, like most plans with a baby, it didn't happen as planned. When nap time came, the only one ready for sleep was me. What ensued was a moment of panic. If she doesn't sleep now, I won't get a nap before Max gets home. After that, the big kids will get home, I'll need to get dinner ready, go to the game, come home, get everyone to bed, and then it will start all over again.
And just like that, life seems insurmountable.
She did, of course, eventually tucker out. Luckily, because of the weather, Nelson was working from home. I jumped into bed and prayed sleep would come quickly and multiply in the 45 minutes before Max arrived. I awoke to the big kids coming home at three. When I checked my phone for the time I saw the message from Nelson that he had taken Max to work with him so I could sleep.
Ah, it's amazing what a few hours of sleep can do for a bit of perspective.
I'm going to admit that I'm struggling just a bit with this whole having a newborn changes your life thing. I had forgotten how much time it takes to care for a baby. Somehow I thought that once the challenging pregnancy was over, life would get back to normal.
That thought pattern has been my problem. I tend to not give myself much of a break. Napping while a newborn sleeps? Ain't nobody got time for that. That's time for laundry, cleaning, writing thank you cards, and maybe, every once in awhile, taking an actual shower. I'm supposed to be supermom. I can pop this baby out and go seamlessly back into my super busy life.
Late nights, early mornings, and many hours in between to sit and feed a baby are not exactly conducive for leading an otherwise busy life. We're not even talking about the time spent changing diapers (and clothes), bathing, or keeping up with the amount of laundry such a little thing can produce.
My theory is that God makes mothers forget all the hard parts of pregnancy and newborn care so that we continue to perpetuate the human race. He's a smart one.
Tonight I was praying. As of late, I do most of the talking in my prayer times because if I get quiet and still before the Lord, I'm out before He gets a word in edgewise. Tonight though, I wanted to hear something from Him...anything.
What I heard was "This is your mission." That was it, but it was all I needed. You see, I've been on many a mission trip and I know exactly what He means. When you're on a mission, you are singular in purpose. There are always many, many things you could be doing, but you don't consider those because they are not the task at hand. Life goes on without you but you don't care or think about it much because you're doing what you're called to do. It's work that is important because it's yours.
Motherhood is like that. Because it's been awhile since I've experienced this part of the work, I needed to be reminded that the mission is still the same, the tasks have just changed. Life with an infant is very different than life with a 13, 10, 9 and 5 year old. It's wonderful for sure, but different...very different. Once I accept that, this part will get easier. I should remember that infancy is fleeting and things won't always be this hard, I mean, different.
Regardless of what anyone else is doing, my mission is caring for these sweet souls and right now one of those souls just needs more care than the others. If I put up some blinders to what everyone else around me is doing and just live in the moment - my moment, I will not only do it better, I'll appreciate it more. I won't always be in a state of being so needed. As a good friend reminded me tonight, the days are long, but the years are short.
Max is so big, I have to wake him up when he falls asleep on the couch because I have a hard time carrying him up the stairs. Two months ago, he was my baby. Last night, as I carried Felicity up the stairs, I caught a glimpse of her bouncy chair sitting beside the dining room table where she had "joined" us for dinner and I almost wept. There it was - the perfect picture of how different life is, and, how wonderful. Just like that a new member has come into our lives and become one of the family. What a great blessing. What a sweet soul.
So if I don't answer when you call, or text, or ring the doorbell it's not because I'm ignoring you. It's probably because I'm feeding, burping, changing, rocking, bathing or talking to the baby. Babies take a lot of time but in no time at all are no longer babies and I don't want to miss one minute of it.