Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Joys of Non-Scheduling

I am still new to mamahood and constantly reevaluate every decision I make. Sometimes I feel comfortable about my choices and then randomly freak out, reread everything I can find, send inquiries to other mamas, even panic. At close to five and a half months into this journey and looking back there are some things I am happy I stuck with, believed in, or went with because...I just did. One being, I have not rushed to put my baby on a 'schedule'.
Random vintage clock-radio stock photo. Because I love mid-century modern.
Many people pressured me to put my baby on a strict schedule RIGHT AWAY. Loved ones, strangers, colleagues--all matter-of-fact as if an immovable itinerary would mean the difference between a healthy or sickly child. Thus, I melted down a bit when the reality of life with a newborn set in. Everything. was. perfect.chaos. I use the term perfect as in 'as it should be'. For my baby, a schedule was something loosely interpreted as a pattern that took time for me to recognize--mostly because it didn't really exist at first.

It took friends and my pediatrician's advice to 'allow' me the freedom to choose NOT to train my child to stick to arbitrary hours of the day. In many ways I was blessed with a baby who took to the concept of night time rather quickly, and who ultimately adjusted to my present lifestyle. One of my pediatricians told me that for the first three months it is mama's job to listen to the baby's schedule and needs and that hopefully at some point after that the two of us would strike a balance. My darling friend Unique (one of my mama sages) kept reminding me that Addison did have a schedule, I just had to recognize it as hers and not what I wanted/expected it to be.  I eventually relaxed.

Mind the terrible photo-it's purpose is to show Addison out past most baby's bed time.
6/25/11 Lumen Art&Film Festival
The hidden truth-- I am still conflicted. There is a part of me who is fascinated by people who can schedule well--I get excited over the productivity that can occur in a day when all is planned, I get giddy over cute routines and rituals....but then there is the other part of me, the more natural self that hates schedules, who finds routines mundane, who likes to sleep whenever, go wherever, do whatever--whenever, or not. Two stark extremes. One person. Either way, I've been learning to just go with what feels good and natural. However, as my leave is coming to an end and our lives will be forced into a relatively strict set schedule I longingly hold tight to mine and my babe's effortless symbiosis. Addison naturally likes to go to bed late and thus wake up at what I consider a reasonable hour--just like her mama!! Some of the joys of non-schedules for us have been:

  1. My baby and I have struck our own unique balance that works for our present lifestyle.
  2. Our routines can be adjusted easily.
  3. Addison goes with the flow like her mama and thus this makes it easier for us to freely socialize
  4. Her naps are at intervals of the day rather than set times--which means she will nap when she needs to (though napping is still NOT a breeze...it gets better).
  5. I've come to understand Addison's schedules and needs as they pertain to mine.
  6. Addison follows cues that I set up to indicate night time, quiet time, nap time etc.
  7. There is a sense of freedom behind watching her be.
  8. There is less overall stress. The days are whatever we make them. That makes me feel more 'free'.
6/24/11 Discovering string lights after some jazz at a local
coffee shop alleyway show. Luckily this is not abnormal NYC parenting.

Really the key is finding what works for you and your circumstances. Find what feels good so that you can enjoy life and mostly enjoy your yummy baby. Watch out for my other half when she writes about the joys of schedules!

No comments:

Post a Comment