As a first time mom, it’s so easy to second guess myself and my actions. There are a million books on parenting, on infant care, on nutrition and sleep cycles, etc. And while, yes, I want Bennett to be healthy and to get the good sleep that he needs, I worry about getting into a routine of implementing habits that don’t come from my own heart in any way, shape or form. Lately I’ve been praying to the Lord to have a heart motivated by love. First, I want to love Him. But I also want to make decisions that reflect a heart that’s motivated by love for my family, both my husband and my son.
I feel guilty when I think that someone might criticize me for letting Bennett fall asleep on me too much, or perhaps carrying him around in a carrier while I do the dishes might develop a dependency that makes him seem weak and needy one day.
But the problem, if it’s a problem, is that I LOVE when Bennett falls asleep on me! And I LOVE looking down at that sweet little face taking in all the noises as I clang things around the kitchen.
For the majority of my life I’ve been such a rule follower. For so long I’ve only wanted to be objective and make long-term, wise decisions, learning from others’ mistakes first before making my own. And now I’m discovering that this is the first time in a long time that I simply want to bask in the joy of taking pleasure in a moment, not worrying about the ramifications that might come from “over-loving” my son.
Now I’m sure that everyone would tell me that I can’t love Bennett “too much.” I’m also sure that people could argue that “technically” I’d be loving him well to teach him to be self-soothing and not develop the expectation that every time he cries, I’ll be there in a flash.
(Yes, I’ve discovered the “I-Wanna-&-Don’t-Wanna-Sleep-At-the-Same-Time” cry and the fake cry, too.)
But I don’t want to “technically” and mentally love my son. I want to love him right now with the heart that I have right now, with a big, slobbery, fascinated love. I don’t want to love him in a calculating, planning sort of way. I want to relish this time that he can fall asleep on my chest and on my shoulder and in the recliner and on the couch because one day, inevitably, we’ll be in a place where he sleeps in his own bed and is too embarrassed to be seen hugging me.
But for some reason, I feel like if people know how unstructured we are right now that they’ll be raising the red flag of warning and concern.
Is it possible to err on the side of big, sloppy, gushy love without spoiling?
For the first “Dear Abby… er, Abbie,” click here.