Unplanning

There are a lot of things moms (and dads) do that we don’t talk about because we’re afraid to sound like we’re either bad parents or crazy. But as I talk to more and more parents there are some things that many of us share and I think it’s important to say them out loud so that we don’t feel like we’re alone or “falling behind” in our child-rearing.

Here’s one. I am not very good at planning activities for my baby. It took me a while to realize that for my sanity and for Alzette to get enough activity I needed to plan ahead of time to have one event scheduled for each day. I’m getting better at this, but a lot of days Alzette and I are just hanging out at home. Sometimes going to the grocery store counts as our big activity for the day. Sometimes we just meet up with another mom and baby at the park, or I invite one of my friends who love playing with Alzette over to hang out for the afternoon (this is crucial adult conversation time for me!).

The other day all that I had planned was a walk to downtown to run errands and a stop at the library for Alzette to play around in the board books section. But then it started raining and I lost all motivation to do anything. I fed Alzette breakfast, put real clothes on both of us, and that’s about as far as I got. I paced back and forth and then finally called my friend who is a grad student to see if she wanted to spend a rainy day with us having some lunch and chats. I tried to act chill but really I was heaving a huge sigh of relief when she said yes.

Before she arrived I folded the laundry, picked up the toys, tidied the kitchen, made some lunch, and fixed my hair. I even discovered that I now have enough hair to make a small ponytail. It’s amazing what you’ll do or find when you give yourself a few minutes. And having a friend stop by is sometimes all the motivation you need. Alzette had a great time, playing with us and being part of girl time. She wore herself out and took a long nap that afternoon. Often, being a good parent just means embracing the unplanned.

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