One day at a time.
Such sweet little words.
Never have they brought such perspective and relief as now; juggling the energy of an adventurous three-year-old son with the three-hourly feeds of a three-month-old daughter.
Do you know, this ‘one day at a time’ philosophy has brought such immense peace despite all the uncertainties of taking a newborn home; despite sleepless nights, reflux, colic, the endless washing and becoming a target for the three Ps (poo, pee and puke!).
In the midst of those frazzling, early-hours-of-the-morning scream sessions, when I’ve wept with frustration and fatigue, I’ve been able to sooth the brain spasms with phrases like, ‘tomorrow’s another day’, and ‘one day at a time’.
As a side note: fellas – when your significant other is having a meltdown because the baby just WILL NOT SETTLE, you might be interested to know that a baby’s cry triggers the release of the hormone prolactin in mums. Prolactin (aka ‘the mothering hormone’) gives us the urge to soothe baby, and meet his or her needs. We go a little crazy if that doesn’t happen in a timely fashion!
When we moved house last year I packed all the baby books – those with invaluable information about routines, sleep patterns and such concepts as the Wonder Weeks – into a very clearly labeled box which was stacked into that one easy-to-find place.
I have no idea where it is.
So I have bumbled through these past three months without a word of advice from the experts. I’ve had a natter with friends of course, tried this and that, but my mantra of ‘one day at a time’ is the real sanity pill.
The main lesson has been to lay off placing high (or any) expectations on myself. One day may be unexpectedly fruitful, but is just as likely to be followed by a day when I don’t emerge from the house lest someone spot me in my chuck-embellished dressing gown.
It’s not good enough to just relax though. I need to give someone my cares – or perhaps they will never be addressed.
So I do as Jesus says in the Bible (Matthew 6:25-34): “Do not worry… but seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
If I were to creatively paraphrase verse 31 so that it spoke directly at mothers, it would go something like this: “So do not worry, saying, ‘Who will do that mountain of dishes?’ or ‘Will it be baked beans on toast for dinner again?’ or ‘Is it actually possible to function on two hours sleep?’”
I truly believe Jesus would say some of those things to the worry warts amongst us. Worry only adds stress, and stress has no positive function.
Jesus concluded, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Living one day at a time is Biblical.
And when we’re in that space, life is simple, refined to this moment and this breath and this action.
For me, ‘one day at a time’ thinking releases me to enjoy this baby girl and the precious firsts of her life.
First published in The Examiner Newspaper for Keeping the Faith column on Monday September 1, 2014.