Everyone always says your life will never go back to “normal” after you have a baby. That your new “normal” will be filled will sleepless nights and pretty much being housebound with a tiny little human. While these sentiments are somewhat true I have always felt that a baby should enrich and add to your life – not take away from it. However, I’m not blind to the fact that some of our “normal” family activities would have to be changed as we transitioned in the first few weeks of this little one’s life and that life as we knew it before would be forever different. Not in a bad way, not always in the most perfect way, and definitely not “normal” by any means. .
My Sundays for the past 7 years have always been predictable – my “normal.” I have been singing at our church’s contemporary teen mass in the afternoon/evening. I have always said that once I no longer feel needed or that I am giving back to my parish in a constructive way that helps them worship I would stop singing but so far I have yet to feel that. Even after dating someone in the band, even after turning that dating relationship into an engagement and a marriage, and even with a baby.
This past Sunday was our first Sunday back in action after having Madeline and taking off for Easter. To say it was an experience is only the slightest of understatements. I can honestly say I don’t remember the homily, the readings, and the prayer intentions for the week. I remember the flow of the mass, the songs, the spit up, and the rushing around like a new mama chicken with her head cut off. About half-way through mass I heard the little cries coming from our stroller and my heart started to race. Here we go mom-mode. I lifted up the car seat cover to see my bright-eyed girl gearing up to wail if I did not feed her STAT (she has her mother’s hanger that’s for sure). So I whipped out my nursing cover and we started to do our thing when the screaming cries started. A few days prior we had started this fussy business. No hunger warnings, no little noises – but boom. eyes open. FEED ME MOM. Now normally, I would have no problem with my kid crying in church, I feel like children need to be a part of the mass just as much as the rest of us and would have stayed put had she not started crying and spitting up on my navy blue shirt at the most silent part of the mass (which happened to be during a sweet girl’s first communion…woops!). So out we went to the Narthex. I heard the band continue to play, I heard the priest say the Eucharistic prayer, and there I was… sitting outside of the church, in a chair by myself, with my baby, a mom… a position I always wanted to be in but a place I never thought I would actually be. I finished feeding her and we ventured back in for communion and the last two songs. It was then that I realized – this is my new normal. This is the juggle that is our life right now and I never felt left out or alone. I was right there with my church, as involved in the mass as a new mother can be. While being spit up on and feeding someone during a homily never happened in my life pre-baby… it all felt right. It felt “normal.”
I’m sure any seasoned veteran moms reading this are probably thinking that this is only the beginning. Oh boy, do I know that. This is just one of the first new “normals” we will be experiencing as we become members of the parenting club. I just hope that I can keep this focus and flexibility in this time and on the days that I can’t (today may be one of these days – the littlest person decided to throw an all night rager last night…) hopefully God will give me the grace to remember, if even just a little bit, how so very good this life is. Now excuse me while I go and try to accomplish some things in my new “normal” sleep deprived state.