Although I didn’t mention it in the last post, the crazy-bad case of poison ivy I got a couple of weeks back that left me unable to pick up the baby, wash my face, or do any other menial task, is still hanging ‘round. It’s been one of the more miserable experiences of my life, but I can’t say that it has been all bad. I’ve learned a thing or two in the past weeks since I’ve been sidelined from baby duty, and I think it was about time that I did.
I never thought that having a skin rash could teach me anything—other than that skin rashes really, really suck …. er, the fun out of life—but I’ve finally been forced to confront something about myself: I am a control freak. Or, rather, I was a control freak before the poison ivy hit, and Tom was forced to take sole charge over the baby for a solid week.
In the past week, I’ve learned an invaluable lesson about baby care and parenting—there isn’t only one right way to do it. Is that a newsflash to any other moms out there? Or, was it just me?
I’ve always been a particular kind of person. The way I do anything—from vacuuming the floor to hosting friends and family for dinner—I do a certain way because I believe it is the right way to do that particular thing. I don’t do shades of gray. Black and white is my modus operandi.
The right and wrong perception I have about how to do most anything wasn’t so bad when I was single. It was a little more irksome when Tom and I got married. Once our little mister came along, it was downright disastrous.
I had definite ideas about most everything concerning the baby. I would put his diapers on a particular way, leaving just enough room for his little belly but not so much room that there would be leaks. I would fill the bathtub a certain way, adding just the right amount of water at just the right temperature. (I, of course, knew what the right way was from reading the handy-dandy “How to Bathe Your Baby the Right Way” book. Ahem.) When we began feeding Jacob solids, bites were always of a certain size, never any bigger or smaller. The list goes on.
My black and white approach to baby care often made receiving help even more trouble than doing it myself. Anytime anyone helped take over baby duties—namely Tom—they wouldn’t do things exactly the way that I did. So, I would stand behind them, commanding every step of the way. In sum, I was your average, run of the mill, crazy control freak nutjob.
But, I am happy to report (and so is Tom) that I have reformed, and I have poison ivy to thank.
Not only did Jacob survive a week with things being done a different way than I would have done them, he seems every bit as happy and healthy.
As a mom, realizing that, when it comes to taking care of the baby, your way isn’t the only way can be a bit of a shocker, but it’s a freeing realization. Since Jacob was born, I had convinced myself that the way I did things was the way that he liked them to be done, the way that made him the most comfortable and the happiest.
But, after a week with Dad doing things completely differently, Jacob is not only alive and well, he’s as happy as a clam. And, around our house even with the poison ivy raging, that makes three of us.