Jan 25, 2017

The Lie of Productivity

I am living in the world of Tiny Baby.

Oh, yeah, he's cute.

But he's gassy. And fussy. And babies like that need mama to hold him. And nurse him. And hold him when he's screaming. And nurse him till he falls asleep and then sit there with him for two hours.

I can remember my first baby being like that. I sat on the sofa for hours, devouring 1300 page Tom Clancy novels and knowing I needed to be cleaning or cooking, but he was my first. I felt entitled to just sit there and soak him in. I would feel terrible when my husband came home from work, and I would say to him, "If I moved, he would wake up! I tried to lay him down, but he just wakes up again!!" (This was before I learned about swaddling and in the hey day of "Back to Sleep". I've since learned swaddling is Heaven-sent and lots of babies don't die if you put them on their stomachs!)

I felt so bad because I felt as if I didn't have a "productive" day. I really couldn't get anything extra done on top of the minimal things I needed to get done. And it was TOUGH for me to deal with! My dear husband THRIVES on how much he gets done, and he is constantly thinking of the next thing or the next day and projects. He admires people like himself, too, so it was really difficult for me because I felt like I was letting him down.

Fast-forward fifteen years and seven more babies later: this #8 boy-child of mine is just like his big brother. I don't know what's going on in those guts, but it is NOT conducive to Mommy getting stuff done!!  I think because I was so active up until the end of this pregnancy, too, it made a huge difference. I was "getting it done", and then I wasn't.😩 Also, there are just a *few* more plates I'm spinning with 8 children, homeschooling, public high school, co-op, Sunday school, etc., etc., etc.!

Why do I place productivity so high? Do I place it TOO high? Am I so proud in the way I want my house to run, to look, to smell that I lose sight of what's most important??  I'm sure many of you know what it's like to hold that tiny baby in your arms not really wanting to put him down because you know he'll be so small for such a short time, BUT BUT BUT dinner needs to be made, laundry, kids are outside with no shoes and it's 52 degrees!!

Yin yang. It's such a difficult dichotomy to have to live. A house FULL of stuff to do, and trying to pretend it doesn't exist so you can enjoy your baby time or toddler games or painting nails with your tween or listening to a story from your teenager about the crazy people on his bus.

I want to give you pearls of wisdom here. I want to say this baby has made me realize XYZ and now I'm sharing it with you to make it all better. I will say I think that Satan is behind the idea that productivity is the most important goal (or acting like it is) for a mother.

I'm a tired mama. But I love it. Would do it again in a heartbeat. Not easy, no, no, no; but I love the journey of self denial. Over and over again. It's hard to do patiently, but it feels so good when you get it right.

Even just once.


  1. Thank you, Kim... this is me right now, and my first (11th!) baby who has colic of any sort (GERD) Add to that a high schooler and all the grade and middle schoolers down to toddler, and YES!! I feel like I can't keep up even though I cut out so much.

    I think we are kindred spirits... my babies also tummy sleep and it's such a wonderful thing, all mine have been wonderful sleepers and easy babies until this one. :) She's a sweetheart though at 8 weeks with her smiles. Thank you for the reminder to take a step back and just let it be, let it go. Perhaps I need to be a bit more laid back once again and just breathe. :) You know, that baby head? :D

  2. Oh, Natalie, just the fact that you would use the words 'kindred spirit' makes us kindred spirits!!

    I've actually had quite a few of mine with yucky bellies. They just won't poop!! And when they do it's not constipated poop or anything; I just don't know. I DO know they eventually grow out of it, so - yes - it is a phase. But it's not an easy one! And I also KNOW it could be worse, but that does little to actually get dinner on the table. :P

    My other kids have been great, though, despite all the grief I give them when I'm hangry for lunch at 2:30pm and everyone hides because they think I'm going to make them come read some history book together.

    I just wanted someone to make me a sandwich....while I figure out where we need to be reading in our history book!! Lol!!


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