Wednesday, June 3, 2009

on baby time

When you have a baby (and maybe any size kid - I don't know yet), it's not so much that you don't have time for other things. You do have tidbits of time, but they are interspersed among baby-focused activities to where often tasks are left half completed. This is already a problem for me in general life - not finishing things - and it's exaggerated now.

Also, a person has to be really flexible with when they do what. For example, if you've got 5 things to accomplish on your list today, first off you better change it to 2. If one item is "cleaning up the last three days' worth of dirty kitchen," don't plan on a straight stretch of time to work on it. You'll do a sink full of dishes, stop to change a diaper, notice that there's spit up all over the baby's outfit and she needs changed, realize you're running low on laundry and had better start a load, etc. etc. You'll come back to the kitchen an hour later and get the nagging impression that you've been working on this one thing all day long. Another aspect of the flexibility is space. You may be cleaning up the bedroom, but if the baby needs a nap, boom. That project is now officially OVER. Or, on hold, rather. So you've got to be okay with changing courses.

A helpful reminder to me as of late, from the book, "God Among the Shakers" is to take joy in my work, whatever it is. Those people were/are INTO work. My lands. Back in the 1700's when the Shaker thing was first shakin,' thanks to a quirky lady named Ann Lee who decided to start up a whole new religion based on communal living and no sex (more on this later), they allotted only 6 hours a night for sleep! Otherwise, it was work, worship, be together, eat, and some reading. I wouldn't last long there on 6 hours of sleep. And they have since changed that particular rule. The point is that they viewed work as a sort of communion with God, to be done peacefully and purposefully, not frantically. Hello! And they still do, the 8 of them that are left.

A passerby might see someone mowing the lawn or folding laundry or fixing a meal. Straight forward enough observation. But nobody knows the spirit underneath what that person is doing, and if there's joy and thankfulness in it, it can be worshipful. And isn't that what we're after? At the end of the day, is it really that vital how much we got done, or is it more important what the day added to our soul, how well we felt, how we connected with God, with life, with those around us?


tamie said...

Right on, baby. Please post more about the Shakers soon!

Anonymous said...

Wow!! It must be so hard for you the new person in your life other than your husband that you've taken so care of for me!!But at least you only have one!!With Katie and her three babies!! How can she do it! All the wonderful
Moms in the world! Thank You!!

melissa said...

Yep, you nailed it. Life with baby. It gets easier, I promise! And then another one comes and you start all over again...

Christi said...

I think that's one for me to print off and read every morning before I start my day. I have been working on this lately. That last paragraph especially - that's what I want my kids to see in me.

lori lls said...

Tamie, I really do keep intending to write about those characters! They are so fun.

Barb, I don't know how moms do it with more than one baby! They are heroes, every one of them, and hopefully users of their support system if they've still got the sanity left to reach out.

Thanks, Melissa! I am starting to think about that coming time...and with less dread than I initially did now that sleep is more settled. :)

Christi, better nail it to your stick.