My name is Lauren, and I am a super planner. I love lists and have spreadsheets for everything (a running joke with my family and friends). I plan everything- our family trips, Christmas shopping, weekly meals and everything in between. Over the last few years, my strategic planning and preparation have had some fierce opposition, challenging me to have flexibility, to relinquish control, and to embrace the uncertainty of life.
Lesson 1: You Can’t Plan for Me,
After getting married in 2016, my plan was to start trying to have a baby so I’d be a mom by thirty-five. Well, there was no baby at 35 or 36. While we were trying to conceive (TTC), my husband would often say “you can’t plan everything” – words I now know to be true but hated hearing at the time. TTC is like a masterclass in letting go and releasing control. It was uncomfortable, painful, stressful and frustrating. Several years later, I now know this was my first lesson from my son. Before he was even a ball of cells, he was sending me the message, “You can’t plan for me.”
Lesson 2: Ready or Not, Here I Come
Once finally pregnant, I cherished the journey and even got to plan my own baby shower (hooray!). I was healthy, happy and loving every minute! On August 18th (social post as evidence), I finalized our babymoon and began planning for maternity leave. I spent an entire morning making lists for freezer meals, marinades, and spice mixes to make before my due date in October; household items to stock up on; and, of course, my hospital bag.
On Monday, I went to work after a productive weekend. At around 2:00 my water broke, and I was admitted to the hospital immediately. I wasn’t ready. My hospital bag was quickly pulled together by my hubby, and my mom ran to get me postnatal necessities that I hadn’t purchased yet (they were on the list!!). There were no freezer meals or spice mixes, we were running low on household necessities, and we canceled our babymoon. At only 34 weeks, my son was born, spending 17 days in the NICU and forever changing my world. Thanks, Lucas, for a crash course in letting go.
Lesson 3: Embracing the Chaos
Once out of the NICU and home, I quickly learned that babies operate on their own terms. You learn early on that your best-laid plans (or adorable outfit) will undoubtedly result in a blowout or that your plan to relax with a book will end with an all-nighter! My son teaches me about having flexibility and embracing the uncertainty that comes with each day, each hour. I push aside my lunch packing routine to rock him to sleep, pause my meal planning to sit and play, and put my to-do list on the back burner for a dance party.
Over time, I’ve created routines for us (they do work most of the time) but I’m also learning to settle into the uncertainty of each day. I’m not great at it all the time, but I’ve found that it gets easier to accept that plans will shift and schedules will adjust. As moms, all we can do is our best. Some days I get out the door on time (maybe even early). Others days? Well, there’s the need for one more graham cracker, one last sip of milk or another hug. Mamas, take the extra hug and have another sip of coffee too. The flexibility, the relinquishment of control – it’s so totally worth it.