Monday, February 1, 2010

How Babywearing Saved My Sunday

Last week was a tough one for me. Whether it's the reality of two small children in my home or the piles of snow and sub-freezing temps that got me down, I'm not really sure. I do know there was a little more crying than usual (from me, not the kids!) and I caught my husband eyeballing me in an unusual way more than once.
"What are you looking at," I'd ask.
"You just don't look like yourself," he'd answer.
These kinds of exchanges made my heart sag almost as much as other parts of my post-baby body.

We struggled through the rest of the week. It took me two full days to plan meals and make it to the grocery store with kids in tow - I'm going dairy-free, and it means an overhaul of my current recipe repertoire. Friday was jam-packed, with a lunch appointment, a second trip to the store for a forgotten item, and new church friends over for dinner. With an extra set of adult hands at home on Saturday, we tackled mountains of laundry and began our newest long-term project: a whole-house purge of the extra stuff that makes our not terribly small house feel teeny tiny too small for us. While it felt good to have some forward momentum and accomplish a few things, I still felt a little like I was spinning my wheels.

And then came Sunday. Sundays are my favorite day of the week because we go to church. I get dressed in something other that sweats, get to talk to people other than my toddler, and generally feel like a grown up. But as our minivan raced towards Randall Road (we were late, as usual) and we tried to make a plan for the logistics of the worship service, I began to feel overwhelmed. I was singing in the choir, Mike was ushering, and both kids had sniffles and wouldn't be going into childcare. How on earth would we pull this one off?

One big part of the solution came from inside my diaper bag: my new ring sling! As Mike disappeared to perform his ushering duties, Aaron and I took a seat with Susannah sleeping in her carseat. When she woke up a few minutes later (darn!) I tucked her into my little green sling, and she went right back to sleep (yay!). I made arrangements with the kind Mrs. C, sitting next to us, to keep an eye on Aaron for the time I would sing with the choir, and off I went, a sleeping Susannah snuggled on my chest.

I didn't think much of it, taking my baby up with me to sing with the choir (she slept through the whole thing, by the way.) If anything, I worried that others would frown at the potential distraction. So the reaction I received after the service surprised me a bit. "That was the coolest thing I've ever seen!" one woman gushed at me. I got more than one hug with thanks for "being such a good example for other young mothers." And an awful lot of gray-haired ladies made their way over to me to smile at my baby and touch her fluffy head. You would think I'd done something truly extraordinary from all the attention.

And maybe I did.

Trusting my mommy instincts in a world full of "advice" on how to raise children.... extraordinary. Choosing to parent in a way that's comfortable for me and my baby, regardless of what others think... extraordinary. Doing life in a faith community that affirms these choices, embraces my children, and allows me to participate fully... very extraordinary.

Getting a shot of self-confidence that I can succeed as the mama of two... very, very extraordinary.


Mary Rudolph said...

Hearing you talk about how you are feeling life with two very little kids sounds so exactly like me!! It's hard and overwhelming at times. Nothing ever gets accomplished and it's easy to get down on yourself! I still feel like that many days! But yet we find joy in the little things :) Today, for me, with all three of us not feeling well, was hearing Jacob say, "I ya you", which was the first time saying "I love you". It'll make me smile all day!

Sarah said...

Mary, that Jacob is just precious! God is so good for giving us exactly what we need for each moment. Glad to be in the "mama of two" club with you!!

Rebecca said...

Wonderful. :) Glad you got a shot of encouragement just when you needed it. Love you!

Sittintall said...

Way to go. The fact that you even remembered your sling is commendable. I have felt this way so many times (still do). Feeling like I can never get ahead, worried about what other people think, feeling down because I have set my kids in front of the tv for the umpteenth time and wonder who will judge me. But in the end it's just between you and God. And I know for a fact you are doing a very great job. Keep on truckin!

Janny said...

Sarah, What a great story. I love how you were able to "wear" your baby while singing in the choir. You sound like such a great mommy to me. Keep up the good work and keep trusting you instincts. They usually tell you what's best for you. Don't worry about what others think.

Michael said...

Tolerating your husband...extraordinary!!!
(BTW...our Italian lead usher's comment to me about your sling wearing: "As long as she's not breast feeding up there...that would be something wou;d'nt it.")