Raleigh, NC is blessed with a large number of talented, hard-working Christian students. Approximately 30 rising 3rd through 8th graders presented Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Jr., the Musical this past weekend as part of Gibbons Summer Spotlight Musical Theatre Camp. The costumes, set design, choreography, acting, and music were all fabulous. These diligent students made their families proud as they delivered professional quality performances on July 22 and July 23 of 2011.
While the audience thoroughly enjoyed the colorful, high energy performances, at least one mother chuckled as she saw parallels between her experiences as a first time mom and the themes and characters presented in this musical. One 7-year old Christian Raleigh resident in the audience had read Lewis Carroll’s original book Alice in Wonderland, earlier that week and commented after the performance, “The book was really bizarre, but this musical version was so entertaining.” Indeed, the adventures of a first time mom can be both bizarre and entertaining at the same time. Some of the key themes in Alice in Wonderland (AiW) include:
- The need for adaptability as one matures into adulthood
- Size change
- Playing games and learning the rules of the game
- Absurd behavior
Success in Wonderland and in motherhood requires adaptability. Alice begins her journey into Wonderland curious and tearful like a child, but by the end, she has matured into a confident woman who understands herself well enough to stand firm against Wonderland’s crazy “logic”.
Many first time mothers plunge into motherhood with curiosity coupled with the confidence that everything will go exactly as planned. They think the baby will easily fall into the textbook prescribed schedule and that life will continue as before except with Norman Rockwell moments neatly arranged within each peaceful, organized day. However, as the first time mom stumbles down the rabbit hole into the world of newborns, she may find herself weeping like a baby from postpartum blues and feeling completely overwhelmed. The infant may cry constantly and will likely confuse days and nights. Like the White Rabbit in AiW, the new mom constantly checks her watch and announces, “I’m late!” for the next feeding or diaper change. A new mom who was perfectly punctual before motherhood may find it nearly impossible to arrive anywhere on time because the baby inevitably blows out a diaper as she puts him into the car seat. It usually takes some time for a new mom to realize that she must allot an additional 30 minutes just to load the baby and all the baby’s gear into the car.
As a result of all the late night feedings and constant demands that a new baby brings, weary new moms sometimes feel like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. They feel dazed and confused and sometimes struggle to remember who they are. Some sleep-deprived mothers will momentarily forget their own name or birthday. They regularly lose their keys yet obsess over rules as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum did in their song, “How D’Ye Do and Shake Hands”.
Like Alice, first time moms also experience sudden size changes. They grow rapidly during pregnancy and then shrink after delivery. Being adaptable and accepting these size changes, some of which linger long after delivery, as a blessing instead of a curse are key to surviving the wonderland of motherhood. To be used by God in the miracle of bringing new life into the world is a marvelous privilege that must not be despised.
Just like Alice experienced in Wonderland, first time moms find themselves playing all sorts of silly games. A sensible woman will make ridiculous facial expressions to get her baby to smile. She will play games with stuffed animals or rattles to keep her baby awake and then act out imaginative fairy tales at bedtime to help her baby fall asleep. Playing games will continue to be a huge part of the parenting journey, and in many cases, mothers must keep learning new rules because children like to change the rules quite often.
Almost everyone that Disney’s Alice met in Wonderland had some strange piece of advice for her. This advice often insulted Alice because it suggested that she needed to become someone she is not. Similarly, first time moms are constantly given parenting advice by friends, family, books, and even strangers in the market place. Through the journey of parenting, a first time mom will eventually learn how to filter through all this advice and apply only what works best for her unique family.
Becoming a first time mom does sometimes feel like a journey through Wonderland where behaviors are bizarre, chaos abounds and nothing quite makes sense. However, as Alice discovers in the end, this Wonderland is more like a fleeting dream. First time moms will adapt and grow more confident through the process. They will emerge from Wonderland stronger and wiser than ever before.
Completely unlike Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, however, new moms experience the most overwhelming love imaginable in that precious child as they journey through the wonderful land of motherhood. New moms must never wish that crazy time away. Life may seem out of control at the time, but those first few months with that baby are filled with wonder, awe, love, and amazement. Christian moms should give thanks to God for entrusting them with that precious gift and cherish every moment with that child because it will soon feel like it was only a fleeting dream.