To schedule or not to schedule… that is the question.
Our babies have primal needs that we as parents need to attend to 24 hours a day. It is the job of a parent to read and fill these needs nonstop. Are you tired yet? Yes, the plight of a new baby exhausts you and whom ever you are blessed to have help you, but the needs change, and so, adapting to them is what everyone does. It’s what makes the boat float instead of sink. There are several ways to stay afloat on this new journey. You can help your baby adapt to your life, you can adapt to his/her life, or you can find the middle ground and make a whole new life with everyone’s needs in mind.
The marsupial mother was always very appealing to me. Before I had my daughter, I really aspired to be a mother that carried my baby everywhere on a cloth made sling that cradled her and I as we walked through life. Whenever I saw these mothers, I envied them. These are the children that have joined in their parents’ already existing lives. Their temperaments are of course, similar to their parent’s, which is the main reason for the comfort level to do so. It is also apparent that the schedule of the baby adapts to the schedule of the mother/or caregiver in this case. While the obstacles, however, do not avoid this dynamic, they do become more of an on-the-go schedule in the end.
Becoming a stay-at-home mother, after teaching for almost ten years, I figured it might benefit everyone if I ran the house a little bit like a classroom. I needed it to help with the large amounts of time I now had “free”, during the day and it helped with my new mother anxieties, which I definitely had. A “schedule” was what I was used to and the clock and I were tenacious friends already. The hospital had her on a nice little schedule that she seemed so content with. I’ve always enjoyed and found comfort in things that already work and tend to hold on to them for dear life. It was only because of my daughter’s temperament that this seemed to work so well. She was a vocal and outgoing infant from the beginning, so the structure fit her like a glove of many wiggly fingers. It was wonderful and for the most part eased us both through a wonderful first six months or so. We may not have gone anywhere from the hours of 2 to 4 for an entire year, but let’s face it, I enjoyed the nap times just as much as she did. Staying in the house for the much anticipated nap was a compromise I made quite easily.
As she grew and developed each month, it was clear to me that she preferred a schedule, and when obstacles or life happened and we were not able to stick to said schedule, we may have had to pay for it with fussiness and irritability on both of our parts. The babies that are scheduled and the babies that are not will always have their “moments” of crankiness…just like their parents, and this can and will, occur in public and at home whether a schedule is in place or not. It is nice, however, to know that the “waves” we experience allow for choices along our journey to stay afloat.