I feel like over all, I was well-prepared for the changes that having a baby would bring- the sleepless nights, the feelings of both joy and frustration, the thoughts of “what did I get myself into?” and the concept that everything in life would change. I was not, however, prepared for my concept of time to change drastically. Time is such a strange thing- and I am convinced that when a baby comes into the picture, time simply goes out the window. Right now I live between feedings, naps, diaper changes, play time, and a tiny window where I can do something for myself- sometimes an hour, if I’m lucky. I never realized how much time I used to have…that I no longer hold in my possession.
This morning I had every intention of getting up like I have been, at 6:00, feeding the baby, trying to get ready myself, and heading to church (an hour away) to see a friend of mine preach. When I woke up at 7:00 instead, wondering why the baby hadn’t woken up to nurse yet, I realized that we would not be making it to church that morning, and since Corey needed to sleep after being up most of the night, I would probably not make it to my own congregation for worship either. Then, between morning baby routines, lunch, making dinner for tonight, and taking care of the dog, I had only an hour or less to either: A) shower, B) work out, or C) nap in order for Corey to be able to go to an event he had planned to attend. Showering was the wise choice! Never did I imagine I would have to make these choices. Once again, time had escaped me. Or rather, time went toward taking care of our child, which obviously is the most important thing right now.
But here is something that a lot of new parents will not say out loud: this transition and realization about time is VERY hard. I speak honestly when I say that this very realization has brought me to tears several times during the past few weeks. I realize that there will be days like this where I will not get to do something for myself. There have been days that start before the sunrise and I’ll look at the clock hours later (which feels like minutes!), the sun is going down, and I have no idea where the day has gone. Time is really nothing at all. And this is the most challenge realization of all: that your time is no longer yours. Or has it ever been? And if it is ours, time is perhaps the most profound gift that we can give away, whether it is given to our child, spouse, friends, vocation, or even to ourselves.
And so I’m learning to appreciate and value time more and realize that it is so fleeting. Most of the time, it goes very fast, and sometimes it goes slowly. I’m learning that time is out of my control, yet it is also mine to give, and for others to receive (for better or for worse). I will certainly keep this in mind as I return to the life of a pastor when my maternity leave is over. Time management will take on a whole new meaning for me. I used to be so great at managing my time…and now I have a lot of learning to do.
PS…How did I find time to write this post, you may ask? I found a few minutes while the baby is in the carrier on my chest…multitasking at its finest!