Though newborn Henry is different from newborn Jacob, there are some things that are simply part of life with a newborn. The most challenging, for me, is reminding myself that being a mom is enough. I had a trouble with this for a long time with Jacob—I was about to leave my job and launch a freelance business—and I struggled with it again with Henry, especially at about three weeks in. I always want to do more, accomplish more, have something else to show for myself, whether it’s work, cooking something, or writing something. I don’t expect this of any other woman who’s recently given birth, but, I think like many others, I set a different standard for myself.
I have better perspective on this situation this time around, and realize I need to see at least the first three months postpartum as a rebuilding season. This is a unique and blessed season of life, and one in which I must set different expectations for myself.
At that three-week point, I found myself thinking: Why am I not back to wearing pre-pregnancy clothes? Why am I not interested in blogging or getting back to freelance work, when I used to love those things? Why am I so tired, but trying to do more and more, like Jessie on Saved by the Bell, when she takes caffeine pills?
Oh right, because I had given birth three weeks prior. Of course I wasn’t in the place I used to be. I felt like I should be because we continued to be on Jacob’s toddler schedule, and that felt like normal. When John was home for the two weeks after Henry was born, he had to remind himself of the same thing. We kept forgetting how young Henry was and how little time had passed since the delivery. Of course I couldn’t walk the fifteen minutes to the doctor’s. Of course I didn’t want to sit at the kitchen table for dinner. I was still recovering, still finding my balance. That’s okay. That’s how it should be.
I’ve found the peace that comes with accepting that, and six weeks in, life with my little guys feels right. When people ask how I’m doing, I can tell them honestly that as long as I don’t try to do much other than keep them alive, happy, fed, and well rested, we’re doing just fine. It’s when I try to sneak something else in that it crumbles.
Life these days often feels like a run-on sentence: I have a toddler who asks for help, then tells me I’m doing it wrong, because he’s trying to learn and I’m trying to get things done—in large part because I have a baby who wants to eat when he wants to eat, wants his diaper changed when it’s dirty, no matter what else is going on.
The days pass so quickly, are so busy, that I need to remind myself to reflect and realize where I am. Really, I like that this time is busy. I love looking at our family. I love that I am blessed with a lifestyle where I am married to a wonderful guy, have awesome kids, and get to do work and hobbies I love. There’s so much to be grateful for. I’m not doing everything I was six months ago. I’m not entirely the same person I was six months ago. But that’s okay. That’s good. This is rebuilding; this is how we get to the next place.
Like Ferris Bueller says, “Life moves pretty fast; if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it!”