Now I’m really going to confuse you. At the risk of sounding completely contradictory, I must revisit my “unbalanced season” I described in the post Knowing Your Limitations. Remember when I talked about holding my new baby around the clock, only breaking for the occasional shower and pot of boiling water?
OK, good. Let’s talk about that for a minute.
Yes, it is true. From the time Noah came home from the hospital at the age of 6-weeks (after nearly dying at birth) until his sudden and unexpected death at 9-months, I held him every second I could. Ignoring childrearing experts and moms more experienced than me, I rocked my baby to sleep every single night of his life. I allowed him to sleep on my chest for the first 6 months. I didn’t hire babysitters or use church nurseries. Jon and I took Noah everywhere with us. I can only remember one date night during that period—when my parents came to visit (I remember instructing my mom—mother of seven—how to hold his head!). Other than that, it was all Mommy—All the time.
OK…I did let Jon hold him sometimes. But other than that, it was all Mommy.
I was fumbling my way through the transition from full-time-career-chick to full-time-mommy-chick. And a brand new mommy-chick, at that. I didn’t have a clue about balance. I didn’t have a cleaning schedule or another mom with whom to trade childcare duties. I’m certain my house was dirty and my laundry undone. I wasn’t much of a cook and I didn’t really socialize.
Sounds very unbalanced, eh?
But was it?
Consider that we didn’t marry until I was 25-years- old and we waited 4 years to have our first baby. Consider also, that unlike almost all other parents I know, I had to wait six LONG weeks to bring my baby home from the hospital. I had YEARS to spend alone-time with my husband, organize my home and have lunch with my girlfriends. By the time Noah came home from the hospital, all I wanted to do was be a Mommy.
Looking back at that time, I honestly wouldn’t change a thing. Not one single moment. When I buried my sweet baby in 1998, one of the very few comforting thoughts I clung to was that I never missed a single minute with Noah. I never wished I would have held him more or let him cry-it-out in his crib less, because I always chose holding over crying-it-out. I never beat myself up for choosing vacuuming over rocking because I always chose rocking.
And you know what? I honestly don’t remember my dirty house, the state of my laundry or how many minutes of cardio I did a day—and I don’t care.
When I watched my baby pass from this life to the next, the thought never once crossed my mind that I wish I had spent more time cleaning or shopping or ironing or working out or writing magazine articles (blogs weren’t invented yet).
Nope. Never once.
You know what memories are permanently and artistically crafted on my heart? The worship songs I sang over and over and over to him. The path I took walking around my house while trying to sooth his colicky cry. The hours I spent reading the Bible aloud with him across my legs in our big, brown recliner. The scent of his hair. The color of his eyes. The sensation of him in my arms.
I had no idea I would only have 9 short months with my first child. Not a clue.
But God knew.
And God, in is mercy and grace infused me with more wisdom than I realized at the time. Far from being “baby-wise” He gave me the blissful ignorance of doing everything “wrong.” Too much holding, and too little of everything else. God’s infinite wisdom led me there. So unbalanced, yet so balanced at the exact same time.
My season of unbalance segued into a season of grief, followed by the birth of my baby girl. Which, for all intents and purposes, became another season of unbalance. At least for the first year and a half after her birth.
More rocking, holding, singing, walking, reading, rocking, holding, singing….
And just like with Noah, I have absolutely no regrets about the first 18 months of Rebekah’s life.
Eventually, God started leading me toward responsible babysitters and date nights, ministry opportunities and friendships. It didn’t happen overnight, but rather slowly over the years as my family grew and I healed and matured.
Dear Reader, if you are looking for a key to balance, look elsewhere. The key to balance—if there is such a thing—is not to copy someone’s methods. The key is to cling to God, realizing only HE knows what our days and weeks hold. Only He can poke and prod us toward balance—whatever that means for our season or our day.
Listen intently to the voice of God concerning your season and your priorities for that season. And then obey whatever God says—even if it looks terribly off-balance to everyone else.
Are you confused yet?