Mom, Interrupted

When I gave birth to my first child, more than one person commented how calm and natural I was with him. I wasn’t stressed or worried about people holding him or coming to visit. I didn’t ask people to wash their hands before picking up the baby and I didn’t fuss over his every sound and movement.

Part of that stems from the fact that I am an anti-germaphobe. Seriously, I kind of have to make myself worry about germs because honestly, that stuff just doesn’t bother me. (But I draw the line at my child licking ketchup off of a McDonald’s PlayWorld floor – which has happened. I’ll give you one guess as to which child it was.)

Part of it, though, came from the fact that motherhood did come naturally. I wasn’t fussy and worried about every little thing with my first child. From the moment he was born I felt completely at ease with being his Mom.

At least that’s what I thought, anyway.

Now that I look back on those early parenting years, I have to shake my head and chuckle at my obvious insanity.Was it obvious to every one else?

Don’t answer that.

I was Nazi Mom when it came to eating and sleeping. I had that child on such a rigid schedule that nothing was permitted to penetrate the iron walls of my control. I planned our entire day around Sloan’s eating and sleeping schedule and I refused to let anything interrupt that.

And today I have a first born who thrives on predictability. Coincidence? Doubt it.

Poor kid.

The problem with my tight little ship (yes, I know – there’s more than one problem with it) was that I was totally closed to spontaneity. I was completely uninterruptible.

If someone called and asked if I could watch their child while they ran an errand or went to the doctor, many times I hesitated. Having someone over would mess up the routine. Sweet Jesus, NOT THE ROUTINE!

As Sloan got older, and more babies came along, I loosened up a little, but I still did not love having our routine interrupted. I was also terrible about inviting other children into my home. I didn’t like it. Having to parent my child with others around made me crazy, so I avoided it.

I was so terribly selfish about my routine and schedule back then. While I often claimed to have a welcoming home, I did little to live that.

Until I met my friend Suzanne.

Suzanne was always willing to have my kids over – all three of them. Despite the fact that Tia and Landon were very young and required more time and attention, Suzanne would constantly offer to have them in her home. She picked them up for me. She fed them and played with them and loved on them. And I watched in awe at the way she allowed her day and her time to be interrupted without complaint.

My friend Bethany was equally amazing. If I had anywhere to be, she was always the first to offer to keep my kids. Even if they were sick, despite the fact that she had little ones herself, she’d wave her hand and say, “Who cares?” and urge me to bring them anyway.

Tia met her best friend, Noelle, on her first day of preschool two years ago. And I had yet another amazing example of someone willing to have their day and schedule interrupted. Noelle’s mom, Jennifer, had such a desire to foster good, healthy relationships between her children and their friends and she was rarely alone with her children. She constantly had someone else’s child with her, and Tia was one of the kids privileged to experience Jennifer’s love and grace.

Those three women weren’t the only ones who modeled to me what it meant to be interruptible. I had many, many friends show me how to be a true servant in this role called Motherhood and with each example, I found myself slowly but surely loosening the grip on my rigid schedule.

I’m still learning to be interruptible. I want my kids to know that they can invite people into our home and that I will welcome others with a warm greeting and not a frustrated sigh. I want to be willing to drop what I want to do so that I can foster and build healthy relationships for my children. I want to be Mom, Interrupted and to fill that role with a smile on my face and, every once in awhile, a plate of cookies in my hand.

I want to bless other parents and other children the way those women blessed me.

What about you? Are you interruptible?