Give It Twenty Minutes

Advice from the trenches, for the new mommies who, at times, lose their minds.

Feel the blood pressure rising in your temples?  Do you hear the baby wailing unreasonably after everything, EVERYTHING good and pleasing has been done for her?  Feel the rumble in your own empty belly?  Check your breathing: is it shallow, quick, and devoid of very much oxygen at all?  Okay.  This is the time.  Now, ready?

Look at the clock.

Found it?  Good.  Note the time.  Count ahead twenty minutes.  That will be your checkpoint.  Hold the battle line of sanity until that twenty minute mark on the clock. Check back in with the situation then.  Make no life-decisions until after that time has passed.

There is something magical about this twenty minute thing.  It’s like reading the future.

When I became a new mom, 100 years ago, my mom gave me this advice.  I would call her sobbing, with every single thing going wrong at that very moment.  We were late to the appointment.  Baby had to nurse at a weird time.  Baby bit me.  I hadn’t eaten since my morning coffee, and was crashing after the caffeine.  Baby spit up on my clean shirt.  Baby pooped.  While changing her, I got poop on my second clean shirt.  I yelled at the baby, making her cry.  And on and on…

So she told me to look at the clock.  In twenty minutes, things would be better.  I completely didn’t believe her.  But I tried it.  And it seemed like a fairy of peace and contentment flew overhead around that twenty minute mark.

It was the darndest thing.

But, I have learned to trust the twenty minutes.

When everything is falling apart, look at the clock.

When pregnant, a belly kick-fest doesn’t last longer than 20 minutes.  Nor do fetal hiccups.  A baby’s emotional state is quite mercurial, and can be usually soothed within 20 minutes.  Blood sugar levels take about that long to rise after eating.  And within 20 minutes, I can usually asses the reality of a situation, and come up with an alternative solution, ie, change the scenery, go outside, have a snack, call a friend, find a new activity, go for a carride, declare a dance party, ask God for help.  Our mental and emotional states can change dramatically in 20 minutes.

You’re doing a good job, mama.  Now, take my advice and trust the clock.  objective time can’t lie.

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Steph Lenox thinks women need tools to build the unique lives God designed them to live. She suspects there is a way to feel better - a deep peace, and an abiding love - that is both a gift from the Lord, and a skill to cultivate and share. To this end, she loves sharing her emotional tool box with moms in these intense little years.

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