Now that I’ve been a mom to a child outside of my body for eight and half months, I’ve been doing some thinking about what’s changed. Other than everything. Lots of aspects of our lives are remarkably different from what they were a year ago. We ate dinner at 7 o’clock last night, after the kid was in bed, and could barely get over the fact that there was no crying or violent banging of the high chair in demand of puffs. Sleeping in is when the baby decides to stretch his sleep to 7AM; tripping over an ill placed toy is a frequent occurrence.
I think the thing that has struck me the most is the change to the rhythm of my life. I have always set the pace for myself. And that pace is fast. I like to move–physically and mentally. I cram as much into a day as possible, walking fast to get there and reading quickly to get to the next novel. I always have; in fact, I cannot remember a point in my life when I did not have somewhere to be or a complex day to plan.
Until now. To be fair, I still have places to be and a desire to be there on time. I go to work and church. I have meetings and classes to teach. But I do them on a different rhythm than I did before I had my kid. Where my days were hyper structured to make sure that nothing fell through the cracks, they are now fluid. Today I want to respond to my students, go buy milk, organize some paperwork, do laundry and replenish the baby food supply, but it doesn’t matter what order it happens in, or if I’m being honest with myself, at all. (Other than the baby food unless I want a thoroughly displeased baby tomorrow, and the replying to students because that’s my job.) I find that when I try to move too fast, chaos ensues. Instead of making things “easier” it makes them stressful. And if I moved through my day at the pace I did before my child came, I would miss so much joy. I use to be a multitasker in the extreme, but I would rather just play with my baby than try to read a novel while keeping him entertained. There are always points in the day when I find myself holding a baby and trying to cook or sitting a screaming infant on the floor so that I can do something with two hands. But that is life. My life. With its new rhythm.