March 27, 2014

What new motherhood taught me about life

So many cute babies being born to my friends this spring. Their googly pictures on Facebook have me thinking about what new motherhood taught me about life:

Take it one day at a time.

Because there is no formula for success during those first few weeks of parenthood. Parents of newborns are not in control, and any false notion of control (Babywise be darned) will only drive them mad.

New parents must take one diaper at a time - open, wipe, apply Desitin, wrap and seal. Before they know it they have a fat crawling child in soft leather shoes who takes two regular naps, and dinner is once again at 5:30.

I am here to report, nine years later, that it, too, shall pass. Your baby will one day stand as tall as your shoulder, wash his face with acne soap, and memorize the details of WWII. Just remember the lesson you learned when he was colicky, because it transcends: take it one day at a time. There really is no formula for success. We can do no more to manipulate our lives than we can the behavior of a newborn. Maybe we can control the temperature of our morning showers (unless you live in Asia like me) but we can control little else.

For me, that is a freeing realization.

When you are cooking the morning oatmeal, focus on the oatmeal. Never mind all those things that are weighing you down which you can do nothing about. Cook the oatmeal. Serve it with a smile. Enjoy it. Clear the table and wipe it down. Kiss the top of your daughter's uncombed hair. Now you're ready for the next thing, and nothing more. Do that thing and do it well, and then move on to the next thing. It works, my friends, it really does.

In fact, if there were a formula for success, "One day at a time" just might be it.