Monday, July 25, 2011

Mommy Monday: Getting Back on Track

Happy Monday! So, I already missed a few days (can't say I didn't warn you!), but I was doing more important things like having play dates and spending time with my parents. Anyway, I'm back now with a few thoughts for Mommy Monday.

I previously wrote about trying to be more flexible and not worrying too much about our schedule. We had a few weeks in a row that were just those kinds of weeks where it was really hard to stick to our schedule (VBS, wedding, travelling, etc.). I hoped these weeks would teach me a little bit about being flexible, and they did, but they also taught me the importance of being consistent.

I would love to say after we got past those few weeks, we got home, got back on our schedule, and things easily returned to normal. However, that is NOT AT ALL the way things went. Instead, the next few weeks were hard. Really hard. And frustrating. Really frustrating.

My typically happy, easy-to-handle, low-maintenance baby was suddenly my fussy, difficult, not-so-happy baby. It was all because our schedule was off, his naps were inconsistent, and his nighttime sleep was not good at all. Even though I was hoping things would instantly go back to the way they were, it actually took a lot of hard work and patience (NOT my strongest quality).

I am happy to say things have finally returned to normal, and my happy baby is back! Here are a few things I learned throughout this process:

- BE CONSISTENT - This was the most important thing I took away. Yes, it is ok to have days where you don't stick to your schedule. In order to get back on track, though, you have to be consistent...even when it's not easy. There would be days Will wouldn't want to nap at all. He would fight it as hard as he could. The more I gave in, the more difficult it was to get him to nap the next day. When I finally decided to be consistent (despite his protests), putting him down for a nap got much, much easier. I had to endure a couple of hard days, but having a baby who goes down for regular naps is well worth the effort. He is happier. I am happier. The world is a better place.

- DON'T STRESS IF THINGS DON'T GO EXACTLY THE WAY YOU PLANNED - This one is hard for me. I like to have a plan, and I like that plan to work exactly the way I want it to. Unfortunately, babies don't always do everything they are "supposed" to do. Some days I would want Will to nap for an hour, and he would only nap for 40 minutes. I would get so upset and so frustrated, even though he was waking up happy and didn't seem to be tired. After much stress, I decided just to quit worrying about it. Turns out, he really does know how long he needs to sleep most of the time. Somedays he needs a longer nap. Somedays shorter ones work just fine. The important thing is to pay attention to if he seems well rested no matter how long he actually sleeps.

- FIND A BALANCE - As with most things in life, I think this is key. As much as I would like to sometimes, I can't stay at home all day every day just so Will can nap and eat at exactly the same time. Honestly, I would go crazy! However, dragging Will out of the house every day with no consistency doesn't make sense either. I try to protect his schedule as much as I can, while also trying to be flexible here and there.

All of this is a work in progress. I'm sure this is much easier for most people, but for me, it truly takes a daily effort. I SO wish I had that easy-going, laid-back attitude I see in other people, but I don't. I am a high-strung, control freak, perfectionist, and it takes everything I have in me to just RELAX. Isn't crazy that it requires so much effort for me to relax!?!

This is something I've struggled with my whole life, but being a mom has taken it to a whole new level. Being a parent definitely reminds me of all my imperfections on a daily basis! But I wouldn't trade it for the world.

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