I Will Never Sleep Again and Other Parenting Truths
All those times I said I was tired in my life, I was wrong. I never knew tired before.I cannot believe all the parents who have gone before me have not throat punched me during one of my complaining sessions. Young people, please stop saying you are tired. "I stayed up until 3am watching Blue Bloods! Oh my God, I am SO TIRED." You are not tired. Making foolish evening choices like I do, perhaps, but you are not tired.Three weeks into parenthood, I am learning that I will never sleep again and our house will forever be cluttered with kid stuff. I am learning a few more important things actually worth sharing...I have never loved my husband more.His face when he saw our son. The tears in our eyes when we kissed right after he was born. The way he rocks and swings and shushes our baby to sleep. His patience, his care, his service. Coffee. He makes coffee. He is all man and I am thankful he is all mine.There is no shame after all of THAT.I don't fart in front of my husband. I know it's rare; this is my choice. Then, I had a baby. And Cody watched me have this baby. For nine months, I told him "Northern hemisphere SOLAMENTE!" In month ten, I surrendered, since it's his birth experience too and really, I didn't even care because giving birth is a miracle and we were overcome with emotion, snot, tears and a gorgeous baby boy. Post birth, however, there are situations a lady would never put herself in. For example the following items: Ice diapers, giant stretchy panties that resemble dish towels, stool softeners (because, trust me), and several items we will never discuss again. Focusing on stool softeners, I have been forced to fart in front of my husband repeatedly because nothing can be held in. All must lead up to the second birth: Pooping after labor. Maybe this is what God really meant by naked and unashamed... Nevertheless, there really is no shame after all of THIS.Take one day at a time.Every day is different. Some days, there is more eating and sleeping than others. (I could shout when our baby sleeps four hours straight... But I don't, because I want him to keep sleeping.) Infants are learning day from night and their schedule is unpredictable. Nursing is on demand because that's what helps them grow, learn and trust when they have a need, it can and will be met. When I am holding my son, nursing him, changing his diapers, laying him down for sleep, I think about God. One of His names is El Shaddai, which means "God Almighty" or "All sufficient God". Shad means breast in Hebrew and this reveals God's ability to provide all sufficiency and nourishment. I nurse my son every few hours and I marvel at the patience of God (imagine supplying your 10th feeding in 24 hours... at 4am). God never grows weary. Never. When I am restless, anxious, and difficult to calm, He is available to nourish and supply, always. It's hard in my finite mind to imagine never growing weary. I feel Him whispering to me, "Come lay at my chest like your son and receive all you need from me." He is giving me grace to love, serve and nourish Levi and He is imparting more of who He is into my heart. When I have a need, I trust, it can and will be met.Showers are overrated.Showers, brushing teeth, wearing real clothes, lotion, perfume, face washing, deodorant.... Vanity, all is vanity. I did do my hair twice so far, and oddly enough, I keep shaving my legs almost every day. I know, I am just as confused as you are. Maybe it's all I have left?Mall walking is not just for old people.That's right, mall walking is for me. Since my abdominals split down the middle to accommodate a baby in my belly, I can't do the workouts I love for the first 2-4 weeks and honestly, the first week, walking to the bathroom might as well be a Jackie Joyner-Kersee sprint. Crossfit and Pilates, please hold. Hello laps in the mall! Food, coffee, Zara, AC - what more do moms of newborns need?I am not what I do. I am who I am.I have had a job since I was 12 and a half. Like most of you, I like putting my hand to the plow, the sense of purpose and achievement. If you've known me for 30 minutes, you know I love church, ministry, people and outreach. I wasn't sure how I would feel on maternity leave from work and ministry. Turns out, there is a beautiful ministry right here at home.This precious time will make me stronger for whatever the future holds. I am living what I am always preaching: The mission is where you are. I look forward to returning to my role on staff. For now, I am receiving heaven's gentle reminder, "Hey Ash, you are not what you do."What are you learning where you are? Care to share a few things?PS Wanna laugh some more? Enjoy this blog from a Dad on Scary Mommy called "the 7 Stupidest Questions I've Heard about my Baby". I literally laughed so hard, I cried.