The Power of a Plan (Day #14)

No, this isn’t another post about my annoying Game Plan (yes, right now my game plan is annoying me.  Probably because it is kicking my ass).

This post is about the calming power of plan-making.  Not to be confused with plan-following, which is a different beast entirely (and one with which I am decidedly less familiar).

Last night was not a good night for Lil Mil.  It started off great – she and I went to bed early and slept well for three full hours, a not impressive but still respectable stretch of time in Life with a Newborn.  At 12:15, Lil Mil woke up for her first nighttime meal.  The timing couldn’t have been better.  The previous two nights, she’d slept for 4.5 hour stretches, so I, being the mommy novice that I am, took this to mean that she’d established a routine.  I liked this routine.  It worked for me.  I felt less tired just thinking about it.

So last night, when Lil Mil woke up at 12:15, I was psyched.  I figured she’d eat, then we’d both go back to sleep til 5.

Not so much.

She ate alright, but sleeping wasn’t on her agenda.  Instead, she decided to scream, thrash around, throw up, and claw at my face with her dagger fingernails (which I should have cut a week ago but am still too scared to touch) for three solid hours.  At 3:09, I finally woke Husband.  I passed her off to him then promptly passed out.

Needless to say, I wasn’t in the sun-shiniest of moods when I woke up this morning.  I wanted to be, but the sleep-deprived version of me doesn’t do sun-shiny.  She defaults to sullen and crabby.

By 9 a.m., sullen and crabby had become weepy and depressed.  I felt helpless.  Overwhelmed.  Exhausted.  I had this whole day off ahead of me, and nothing I wanted to do.  Scratch that – there were plenty of things I wanted to do:  go to the gym, see a movie, take a pilates class, go to the Barneys warehouse sale.  Just nothing I could do with my new travel buddy.

So, for a good ten minutes, I stared at my reflection (and my doughy soft midsection) and felt sorry for myself.  And then…

A plan started brewing.

The whole no-writing-on-Sundays rule meant that I couldn’t do anything novel- or blog-related today.  But there was no ban on doing things baby-related.  In fact, that was the whole point.  I was supposed to use my Sabbath to rest and enjoy my family.  What better way to do that than to sleep-train my three-week-old?

Oh, yes.  After a sleepless night with a fussy, gassy, inconsolable newborn, I decided that today was the day that I would become a baby wise sleep nazi.

It was a terrible idea.  And yet, at the mere thought of it, I was me again.  No longer weepy.  No longer depressed. Not even sullen or crabby.  I had a plan!  My day suddenly had purpose.  I might not be able to handle Motherhood, but I could certainly manage this one discrete task.

And so, eleven minutes after I descended into the Land of Self-Pity, I emerged reinvigorated and empowered, ready to tackle my day and my plan.

Did I succeed?  Not even close.  At the start of what was supposed to be Nap #3, Lil Mil cried so hard that she made herself puke.  Naptime came and went, which threw the whole schedule off.  By 4 p.m., I’d abandoned the plan entirely.  Or, at least, opted to save it for another day.

(Sidebar:  I might not have much experience with plan-following, but I’m a very skilled plan-abandoner.  But that’s the stuff of another post).

So my little peanut remains, at least for now, schedule-less and routine-less.  But I’m okay with that.  The fact that I abandoned the plan doesn’t change the fact that its creation served a very particular and very powerful purpose. It reminded me that although I may feel helpless, I’m not.  And although I may question my ability to do this Big Thing, I am still capable of handling many small things.

Or, at least, planning to handle them.


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