If you have friends with babies, you have probably heard of being a “slave to the schedule”. What people mean by this is typically their baby’s eat/sleep schedule, and they the parents must follow it with more rigor than the baby ever will.
Schedules can be good for children, just as they can be good for adults, but when you are so determined to have your baby on a schedule that you forgo having a normal life or taking advantage of an opportunity, that’s when things get questionable. Your child’s well-being is important, but your well-being and your husband’s well-being must come first.
When we first became parents, many people were so surprised at how we were out and about doing our normal routine shortly after Lilly was born. To be honest, I did try to get her on a schedule, and that lasted about a day. Once I realized that she really was too young to understand a schedule and could sleep (or not sleep) practically anywhere, that’s when I decided to continue living my life, and the schedule for her would develop. I would go to the gym, to Greek class, running errands, outside, inside – and we would break for feedings at times and she would take naps along the way. Having a kid does change your life, but it shouldn’t dominate or determine your life. I think that John Piper explains this well in his video “Soul Care for Exhausted Young Mothers”, when he says,
“Children are designed, intended by God to be submissive and to be obedient to their parents. They are not intended to dominate the house, dominate relationships, dominate when company comes over. And it is important for them to learn this early, because if they think they are the center of the world, it will be hard to break them of this destructive illusion later on. Practically, that means that the child doesn’t so rule your schedule that you don’t have time for what you need to do for your own soul. He does not need your ever-present attention. You can show him lavish attention and provide him with all the affection and touch he needs without training him that you have to respond every time he has a peep in his crib. God loves us so lavishly, and as part of that love he makes sure we know we are not the center of the universe. That is what love does. Let your child become secure not in your ever-present hovering, but in the certainty that you always return in love.”
Your child will take as much from you as they can get, which will be however much you will give them. Plan to not let your child run your life, and you both will be the better for it.