Balancing Change & Control in Diabetes: Let Go of Hyper-efficient Micromanaging
The first year of mommy hood is one long, humbling lesson. As soon as you think you've gotten something figured out, your child moves into the next stage of development and you've got to start at the beginning again! For someone that thrives on predictability and consistency, the ups and downs of being a parent definitely takes some getting used to.
For example, Sienna has been a wonderful sleeper. By about nine weeks old, we could count on her sleeping 9-10 hours straight at night. Wow! It was great. Lately, she'll have great sleeping weeks (about 11 hours straight) and good sleeping weeks (waking once or at the most twice). Typically, when she's not sleeping great, she's also not eating very much during the day. We think it's related to teething. I'd gotten pretty used to having a sleeper who'd go to bed with little fuss and wake up giggling, allowing all of us to have a wonderful night's sleep. When she started waking more during the night, I was frustrated. I'd try to figure out what was waking her or how I could ensure she'd sleep better, whether that meant more milk at bedtime, giving her a bath, withholding the pacifier, whatever occurred to me on any given week. I've slowly come to realize that this unpredictability of a baby's sleep routine is normal and something I have to embrace.
The key to my change of heart is twofold. First, I realized that this time in our lives is finite. Sienna is already seven months old and it's gone so fast! Now, when she's up in the middle of the night, I try to see it as a chance to spend some quality time with my baby (which can be tough when you're half asleep yourself!) I know that a year from now I'll be yearning for these baby days, so I should enjoy each moment with her while she's small.
Also, I've discovered that my ability to micromanage doesn't serve me equally well in all areas of my life. Babies and children don't respond well to strict schedules and inflexible routines. The skills that have helped me achieve many of my goals in life simply don't apply to raising children. Actually, being organized, efficient, and structured in my daily routine helps to get the chores done, dinner made, and errands run, so that I can relax and have fun with my family. The secret is learning how to switch from that highly efficient mode into a calmer, more "go with the flow" attitude when I'm interacting with Sienna. I don't want to have the same attitude toward reading her a bedtime story as I do when I'm steaming my breast pump parts.
As I think back in my life, I try to pinpoint why and when I developed the need to be in control. I think needing control and not liking to change are linked for me. I remember being upset when we got a new car or a new couch when I was young. Change disturbed me from an early age. But, I think getting diabetes also triggered a more intense desire to control my experiences. Being diagnosed with such a life changing disease, completely out of the blue, certainly had an impact on me. To the extent that I feel in control, perhaps I can keep such dramatic events from touching my life. That's the basic irrationality behind thinking you have control.
However, diabetics need to have control, right? That's what we call good diabetes management: being "in control." My ability to effectively manage my blood sugars (especially to the extent required by pregnancy) feeds that part of me that needs to have control. So the question is, what came first, diabetes or the need to control? I guess at this point in my life, it doesn't really matter. Now, I need to learn how to lessen my dependence on the illusion of control.
When it comes to diabetes, being "in control" is still very important. But, I need to come to terms with the fact that most other areas of my life can't be controlled the way my disease is, particularly when it comes to raising children. I really don't want to be a micromanaging mother. I want to be relaxed and have fun with my family, rather than always worrying about what needs to get done or what's happening next. That brings up the whole idea of living in the moment, which for a "controller" like me, is a challenge.
But that's another post entirely...
Interested in reading more posts about motherhood and diabetes? Read these!