I love to-do lists and calendars and schedules and routines and anything that allows me to predict how my days are going to go. It doesn't matter to me what the routine is or what is planned during my day as long as I know ahead of time how much time something will take or what needs to be accomplished. Knowing this about myself, I gave myself a grace period after Max was born to throw out the to-do list and schedule for quite a long period of time to relieve some of the pressure of day-to-day life. But Max fell into the rhythms of life fairly early and it appeared that we were through "the thick of it" with our newborn. Or so I thought...
As any mother will say, babies are anything but predictable. Once you get used to a particular stage or way of being, they change it up on you. (Even as I write this Max has woken up and nursed quite earlier than usual!) In a post I wrote when Avila was a baby titled "The theme of motherhood" I documented my realization that motherhood is largely about acceptance - acceptance of the ups and downs and confusing times raising a child can bring. And this theme is hitting me once again as I learn to accept and move forward with this new stage Max is in.
You see, because I don't do well with change and then change happens I very easily get frustrated. (Something I hate to admit...) And because of my history with Post-Partum Depression it is very crucial for me to get my frustration under control before it escalates into something greater. Knowing that 3 months of age is when my PPD presented itself with Avila, and that we are approaching the 3 month mark with Maximilian, I know I have to take a calculated and careful approach to how I deal with the unexpectedness of life with a baby.
The other morning (after Max woke up from 10 hours of blissful night-time sleep without eating) I prepared myself and told the Lord I would be calm if it took him a long while to get back to sleep (which Max wanted to do) after feeding. It was 6am and while nursing and praying a rosary I told the Lord I would not look at the clock and not freak out until at least 7am- giving Max an entire hour to eat and go back in his crib. After eating and falling asleep and eating some more, Max was finally passed out in his bed at 7:02am. And then it struck me - whatever we give the Lord, he is always asking for just a little bit more.
God can do anything - he can make babies sleep and make schedules work and answer any prayer in our favor. But sometimes, even in the midst of trial and difficulty He asks for more - not because it's a test or because he wants to make the Christian life hard, but because He knows we can give it. And by giving a little bit more it will change us in ways that nothing else can. During this week of ups and downs I have learned (through some tears) to once again embrace the challenges of motherhood, not to mention the challenges of a Christian life. Instead of dwelling on how much easier things could be if only God waved His magic wand, I look to the blessings that are truly in front of me - a healthy family, 2 beautiful children, and a husband who would go to the ends of the earth and back for me. I look to the triumphs of Max thriving and sleeping tons and tons at night and my focus begins to shift from what I don't have to what I do. And I praise the Lord for asking more of me because I know it will make me a better wife and a better mom.
Moving forward from here, I have a plan: to pray more and let Max snuggle close to sleep (well, only until he's 4 months old - then he's cut off!) to not put any pressure on myself to get things done and to rely on the help of those around me. And in the midst of it all, I will praise the name of the Lord, for
"The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!"