Our Rookie Year
I remember it so vividly. It’s about 10pm and I am standing over my 3 week old baby’s bassinet. I am frozen. I have just laid him down, he’s fast asleep and I can’t make a decision. I can’t decide if I should turn on the rocker to the bassinet or let it be still. While I could laugh and chalk this up to the indecisiveness of my Gemini nature, this dives a lot deeper. This is a frozen with fear moment that a year later, I still remember.
As I stood there, the following thoughts went galavanting through my brain:
What if I turn on the rocker and then he gets used to it, and when I put him in his crib when he’s older he doesn’t sleep because cribs don’t rock back and forth!?
What if I don’t turn it on and he can’t fall asleep and then he wakes up in 5 minutes, and this goes on for hours on end and I never sleep ever again in my whole entire life!?
What if I start the rocker and then for the rest of his life he needs to be rocked to sleep by me until he gets married, then he needs his wife to rock him to sleep and then she hates me because it’s a weird thing to have to rock a grown man to sleep!?
What if I don’t turn it on and 37 years from now he’s in a therapist’s office talking about how he would be a more well adjusted adult if his Mom used the rocker on the bassinet when he was a baby!?
This went on for a solid three minutes, all the while I just stood there staring like a sleep-deprived, fearful, first-time, never-done-this-before-in-my-whole-life Mom. Hubbz comes in and gently asks if I need anything. I reply that I am afraid of breaking our tiny human because I don’t know if I should turn the rocker on or not.
While all of these seem like irrational thoughts, I can assure you, in that moment they were not the least bit irrational. I was a new Mommy who was paralyzed with fear that I was doing it so very wrong. I was parenting out of fear of messing up my kid. I was parenting out of fear that I was going to royally jack something up. I was parenting out of fear that people were going to judge me for doing it wrong.
Our son turns 1 today.
To this day I can’t remember what we ever decided about that bassinet, and you will be happy to know, I didn’t break our tiny human! He’s a well-adjusted, happy, thriving, very strong (in strength and will) little boy. At some point in this past year a gradual change happened. I am unsure of the moment but somewhere along the way, I stopped parenting out of fear and started parenting out of love. Instead of parenting with fear driving my decisions, I began parenting with love leading the way. I realized that I don’t have all the answers and on this side of Heaven, I never will. Things are going to happen in life and I am going to screw up as a Mommy. For those moments, there’s grace.
Hubbz and I watched a parenting conference through our church recently (you can watch the first session free) and it talked about the purpose of parenting and who we are as parents. The only way baby boy is going to learn about grace, forgiveness and love is by what we show him. Children learn by what they see and experience. While this seems super #basic, it’s one of the most profound statements about parenting. As my sweet baby boy grows into a one year-old, I have to lay down the need to make it all appear perfect and more than that, I have to lay down the need to make it feel perfect in my heart. Sometimes being a parent doesn’t feel good. It’s telling him “no” when he wants to have his way (because I have this deep yearning to spoil him but I know that’s not healthy for him), it’s being firm in that “no” when he shows his temper (Lord, have mercy, he got his Mama’s strong-will and loud mouth #mykarma), it’s walking side-by-side with your husband and letting him lead as the head of the home (ummm super-duper hard for me because #ilikemyway), and sometimes it’s doing all of this while being deprived of sleep and/or personal time (Ugh. Just Ugh. #ugh).
As my baby boy finishes his first year on the planet, I think back on this first year as parents. We laughed, we cried, we said a lot of what the ‘effing ‘effs. Sometimes I questioned what I was doing and other times I felt like I had it under control. I am going to venture to say that while marriage is hard, being married with a kid is even harder. There are so many more variables that you literally have zero control of. We learned baby poop cleans nicely off leather seats and there is such a thing as phantom baby puke… All of a sudden it’s just there without warning. According to our son, bath time is the best time to pee. Speaking of pee, Apple watches are apparently pee-proof (though I wouldn’t purposely test that one). There have been ups and downs, disagreements and high-fives… Sometimes these things happened all in the same day. We are far from having it figured out but I believe in my heart we make the best team. Somewhere along the way we got very clear on our commitment to the endgame of a happy, healthy, God-centered home. It’s something that requires dedication, intentionality and so much prayer.
Almost a year ago, I stood paralyzed with fear over over the bassinet of my 3 week old son. As we wrap up this first year, I am certain that we got here only by the grace of God. Even when it seems hard, and we don’t have all the answers, He is working his infinite plan and it is so unbelievably good.