I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13
Babies are fun! They are hard. But they can be fun.
It’s been one of those mommy-ing days when you just throw the lofty goals like meal times and naps out of the window, and you charter new territory in hopes of at least making a memory out of the mix.
I’ve had several of those days lately
Just the other day, following a sleepless night, a runaway dog expedition, and a 45 minute bumper to bumper car ride serenaded by a screaming baby, I wandered around the wine store with my baby on my hip and realized upon getting to the register that my breast was out of my shirt.
Embarrassing. Exhausting. Laughable.
Perhaps only other sleep deprived and nursing mamas might sympathize with that experience.
Today started out really good. I got her dressed, I fed her, I drank a warm cup of coffee, and I ate breakfast. I did the dishes and the laundry. I let Baylor out and was appropriately dressed when greeting the neighbors. The day was going better than planned! In fact, I had accomplished more on my “hope-to-do” list by 10AM than I thought I would all day.
We went to the park and went on a run. We did some errands. She did awesome at the store. I watched other parents in the parking lot wrestling their wee ones into their car seats. I felt a twinge of survivors guilt.
But then the afternoon came. And with it my inconsolable, wild, overly tired baby. As she screamed and cried with no known cause, I sat in my car a bit frustrated by the situation. I began pondering the endless advice I had received from strangers, friends and family: “I should have napped her. I should have worn her. I should have fed her. I should have played more with her. I should have let her cry it out. I should have…”
The Lord hushed my mind and spoke to my heart. He drew my attention to how shame-ridden my thoughts were. He told me he did not want me to be a shame-driven mommy.
The “should have’s” and “should not have’s” are shame based. They cease at His throne as I draw near to Him. It’s so easy for me to house my mind in shame when I hit these hard moments of parenting. But shame is contagious – and I do not want myself or my little girl to fall prey to that way of thinking.
He reminded me that He delights in me as a mommy. He delights in the fact that I am brave enough to make decisions and charter new territory for adventure’s sake. He wants this parenting gig to be fun. And He has hidden jewels for me in these trenches – the ruthless moments of screaming and crying.
Today, as I stared out at the mountains and fall surroundings, He reminded me that life is bigger than naptimes, meal times and schedules. As I heard him say this, I loosened my grip a bit. So as I prayed to God in my car, I shrugged my shoulders and said, “It’ll be okay – no big deal.”
And as I loosened my grip, we both became happier. And all things were added to me (Matthew 6:33).
She just fell asleep covered in baby food and wearing only a diaper. And now I’m laying in dog hair on the floor, thanking God that life is bigger than schedules, messier than baby food, and more fun than I ever imagined it could be.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. James 4:13-16