I approached pregnancy and impending motherhood like I approach most things in my life. With lists. Lots and lots of lists.
It has taken me 34 years to finally admit I am more than a little bit “type A”. I like to think of myself as a free-spirit, go-with-the-flow kinda gal. And, in many ways, I am. But, in so many more ways, I am a perfectionist, a worrier, a planner.
I had it all worked out. I packed my schedule with projects during my second and early third trimesters. I would make the most of my time before my time became all about diapers and breastfeeding.
Then, I’d wind everything up with plenty of time to get ready for baby. In the meantime, I would make lists. Lovely, calming lists.
The Friday I wrapped up my last big gig before my due date, we had just about nothing ready. But that was fine. I’d planned for it. We still had four and a half weeks till his due date to prepare.
And even if he came a week or two early, we’d still be fine. We had lists. I’d aggregated our lists into a shared Google spreadsheet, for goodness sake!
A few days later, my son decided it didn’t matter what the schedule said, he had other plans. Following a sudden and very quick labor, my husband and I found ourselves holding our newborn baby exactly one month to the day before he was due.
When we brought him home from the hospital, our apartment was a wreck. His basinet wasn’t due to arrive till the next day, the gifts from my shower were in piles in the hallway, and the closet was a disaster from where I’d left it mid overhaul when I went into labor. (Yes, I was organizing the closet when I went into labor.)
And do you know what? None of that mattered. At all. He was just as sweet and beautiful and happy and we were just as exhausted and head-over heels in love with him. It made zero difference the state of the closet.
My son is teaching me to let go of the plan.
It took me three hours to eat breakfast yesterday. My to-do list is longer than ever and some days my most realistic ambition is to take the clothes out of the dryer. Newborns and planning don’t go so well together.
I still over schedule and obsessively write lists. I still make plans and get frustrated when I fall short of accomplishing them. In fact, I was going to mop the floors today until my son decided he wasn’t okay with being more than 2 feet away from me all day.
But, as I sit here with my month-old baby snuggled to my chest, the calendar flipped to his due date, listening to him coo in his sleep, I am reminded it’s not the plan that matters.