Folks, I have a confession to make. I am not the parent that I thought I would be. Veteran parents…. go ahead and chuckle at my expense. You know you want to. Okay. Done? Ahem…
I think everyone has a romanticized vision of what motherhood will be like. For me, this included a schedule, which my sweet little angel would follow. Of course there would be disruptions, but they would be few and far between. I would be one of those moms who could set a watch by her child’s sleep cues, and all would be right with the world. And then Little Lion was born.
After spending a week in the NICU, he came home with us on a perfect schedule. We woke him up every 3 hours to eat around the clock. We changed his diaper. Then he immediately went back to sleep (if he wasn’t already) peacefully in his crib. Clearly, we were professionals. We had succeeded as parents! (ha. ha. ha.)
Five weeks later, we hit our due date, and LL decided to start acting like a normal newborn. All bets were off, and we were back to square one.
My perfect vision collided abruptly with reality… having a baby on a schedule was H.A.R.D! Turns out, getting and keeping a schedule would require me to not leave the house for 2 weeks.. Eh, no thanks. Maybe when he’s older.
And yet, that perfect vision has continued to float around in my mind. Good moms have a schedule (right?)… I want to be a good mom, so schedule I must.
I have written many potential schedules in the last 6 months, sure that this one would naturally just work. THIS time I would stay home for a whole week and make sure it happens! Then 2pm on day one rolls around, and I throw up my hands in frustration, load LL in the car, and head to Target because I cannot stand to be in my house for one. more. minute.
So I determined that the problem was the season. His struggle must just be a summer problem. All that traveling — surely that is why my child still isn’t on a schedule… right? Once the summer is over I will be content to stay home every day and will be able to make sure all goes as planned.
In the car, on our way home from the beach, I wrote it all down again. This schedule was perfect. It was the stuff dreams are made of. Surely this one would stick. On Sunday, LL slept like a champ, right on cue. I had to wake him up from every nap (what a wonderful sign!) and he greeted me with huge grins each time. Jackpot! I typed up this schedule of perfection, printed it out, and hung it on my fridge. I had plans to go shopping with a friend (one with whom I had talked extensively about how schedules just didn’t work out for me), and kindly asked her if we could move the time so that it didn’t interfere with LL’s scheduled nap time. Because she is a good friend, she only laughed at me a little. I brushed off her doubt… this time it was going to happen. Maybe it didn’t the 276 times I had already been through this, but this time was for keeps!
On Monday morning, LL was ready for his first nap right on time at 8am. We read some stories, I tucked him in (in his bed, not in the swing!!), and like the perfect angel that he is, he rolled over on his side, closed his eyes, and it was snoozeville.
I smugly walked out of the room, excited to tackle my morning to-do list. (You all know what is coming…right?)
30 minutes later, a high pitched scream crushed all my hopes.
Why on earth did I feel like a complete failure? It was the schedule. The stupid schedule. The pretty blue piece of paper on the fridge that screamed, “Good moms have babies on a schedule. If you were a good mom, you could do this.”
It is official, friends. I am not a schedule person. I called my friend a second time and moved our plans back (she laughed harder this time), and we went about our unscheduled business.
If you ARE a schedule person, I applaud you. I envy you. I kiss the ground you walk on.
But it just isn’t in the cards for us. And that is okay.