Around 4 weeks postpartum I was at an indoor play place with the girls and another mom, who I didn’t know, asked how old Ella was and I said, “2 months!” and then I was like, “wait, no, wishful thinking haha. She’s only 4 weeks.” The other mom got what I meant by “wishful thinking” and asked how it’s been going with a little laugh.
I love so many of the moms I meet when out and about. I love how within a minute of talking we’re sharing details of postpartum bleeding and the toll newborn life can have on your marriage. Motherhood is such a cool thing to bond over. It’s like we know we only have 2 minutes to talk before we get interrupted so we just dive right into the helpful conversations as quick as possible.
Realization one: It is tough to bond with a baby who screams so much. Ella is a way more cheerful baby than Jo. It’s been nice. Last week Ella slept 10 hours straight at night. I didn’t even know a 2 1/2 month old baby was capable of that! IT WAS AWESOME!
My constant prayer during the first year of Jo’s life was, “please Lord, help me like being a mom. Have me learn what I need to learn and make this easier.” Now, with 2 kids, I really enjoy being a mom. Early on with Jo I think I was grieving my old life where I got to work and create work-related things as often as I wanted (art, the course, blog posts). I believe there is purpose to the sacrifices we’re introduced to as mothers. God uses motherhood to refine and change.
Since Ella was born I haven’t had to pray much for God to help me find joy and purpose in motherhood, because I really love being a mom to Jojo and Ella. I really love having a toddler. However, days I’m alone with Ella, I’m like, “so, little tiny baby, we’re just gonna, you know, sit here and you’ll eat and sleep and that’s it.” There’s just not much going on with a baby but there often still isn’t a lot of free time because there’s not a lot of predictability when they’re that small. I much prefer the toddler life, tantrums and all. Funny story: When Jo has been tantrum-ing lately she’s started yelling at me, “go away, go away!”, which I find hilarious because she can’t string that many words together yet, but she’s managed to very clearly string together “go” and “away” haha.
Lately my prayer has been one of gratitude instead of desperation with, “thank you Lord for such a great capacity. For the capacity to handle so much as I learn how to mother these two girls.” But somedays (and this brings me to realization two) I’ll have moments where, when so overwhelmed when caring for an infant, I get why parents have shaken their baby. Man, it’s hard to be a parent. Motherhood is constantly humbling. I have many moments when my children feel like roadblocks to getting anything productive done and I wish it was easier to shift my brain to their care is the only thing that needs to get done. For me, some of those feelings lift once maternity leave is over and I have dedicated time to work child-free. I’m so grateful for the flexible career I have and that I can adjust it based on the needs of our family at the time. The plan is for me to work 13-20 hours each week, which works well for us.
The other day, while having a meltdown to my mom about a situation, she was like, “I think you need some perspective beyond the baby attached to your boob.” Yep. I feel like working makes me a better mom, gives me some perspective, and getting to be a mom makes me a more grateful business owner. They compliment each other nicely.
Being alone again
For me, one of the greatest moments, second to the moment when my child is taken out of my body and placed on my chest, is the moment when I’m in my home alone for the first time again. We get so little alone time in our homes as moms and it’s a disorienting feeling when you’re home and there’s no one to tend to. When I had my first alone-in-the-home moment last week after 2 1/2 months I sat and took in what a whirlwind the last couple months had been. It felt like the first time I’d come up for air in a bit.
I don’t really know what the plan with immaEATthat (the blog or instagram) is. My private practice is going well and I enjoy working with clients and, thinking longterm, I think it makes the most sense for our family for me to continue working with clients one-on-one. Since Jo was born I’ve felt a need for more of a work life and personal life separation, but I didn’t know what that would look like. I think it means a lot less frequent posting schedule and not having the girls on IG much, which is what has been happening since Jo was born, but I don’t think I ever officially said. I wanted to just mention it here for you who read the blog regularly (YOU who I’m so grateful for!), that for the foreseeable years to come I believe my posting schedule is going to be super sporadic. If you like reading my posts, joining my email list will be the best way to know when I post, since I don’t want you having to check the blog randomly and being disappointed there’s not a new post.
It’s hard to have commentary on your life constantly and that’s my biggest reason from stepping away from sharing on IG. I was journaling recently about how the work I do should support my family, Andrew and my girls. God has given them to me to care for. The commentary from other people doesn’t help me support my family.
My body is nearly as functional as I need it to be
The other day I was doing a MommaStrong and while doing mountain climbers I felt/heard a pop in my abs so I immediately stopped and took a couple days off movement outside of activities of daily living and all seems fine now. So that was a bit of a setback, but overall I almost feel as functional as I want/need to be (i.e. I can go on walks with the girls, can ride our bikes to bible study, can throw Jo up above my head, can do airplane with Jo, can do the weighted ropes in our garage, can do mommastrong videos, can have my sleep interrupted for 12 months and miraculously still function haha). I saw an advertisement for MommaStrong the other day that said, “because you don’t need a 6-pack, you just want to play with your kids without peeing yourself” lol. I’m really liking MommaStrong still.
A constant reminder for me is that I don’t need my body to look a certain way to be able to take care of myself and my family. Focusing on doing things that help me be as functional as I need to be to care for myself and others is a better goal.
Reframing what my brain defaults to…
There have been a couple times I’ve felt blah in my body, whether it’s a stomach roll I notice while nursing or my still-getting-used-to-them stretch marks on my belly, and when I’ve taken a moment to think about what my brain is automatically going to it’s, “eww that feels gross and disgusting.” But if I put more thought into it, that’s not what I think of my body. Lately, the times it pops into my head, I’ve been replacing the word “disgusting” with “motherly”. That fat roll and those stretch marks are what motherly looks like on me and being a mom is a role I have great admiration and respect for and I’m not going to ruin the experience of motherhood by hating on the vessel I’ve been given to do it in.
I remember being on a trip with my best friend growing up and while her mom was carrying their newborn baby she tripped and fell on her face…holding her baby up above her head, so the baby was unhurt. I think I was like 12 years old and it left such an impact on me. That is what a mother’s sacrifice looks like. How truly awesome. If my body needs to look different to make that sacrifice, I’m okay with that…even if I’m still getting used to it.
I hope your life is going well and you’re enjoying the upcoming transition into fall. Any moms or moms-to-be out there relate to or find support in what is written above?