Progress not Perfection

Baby crap. There’s just baby crap, everywhere! What was once a chic stylish home now looks like buybuyBABY vomited all over it, gagged on it a little, and then vomited it up again.

Why do I keep saying vomit? I don’t know, maybe because it’s just a big part of my life now. There’s just so much baby vomit…so, so much. There’s dried baby vomit on my t-shirt as I write this post.

The days of my home looking magazine worthy are long gone. Those who know me, know I used to keep a pretty clean and stylish home.

My crystal candle holders, fragile vases and stylish decor pieces have been replaced with burp cloths, butt pastes, diaper genies, and anything and everything made by Fischer Price. They should sponsor me-just saying.

My self-care has taken a hit also. My biweekly pedicures have turned into every few months. I’ve had a pain in my back for the last couple weeks and am desperate for an appointment with my chiropractor. Luckily, I’ve been able to work in the gym a few days a week, but other than that, that’s where my self-care stops.

I’ve realized the desire for my home and appearance to be “perfect” are no longer realistic. Those clean clothes sitting in the laundry hamper? That can wait. The crystal light stain that’s been in my fridge for the last couple days…yea, that can take a hike. My hair that’s been in a messy bun for the past 5 days…well, if I pray hard enough maybe it will magically untangle itself.

Who can relate?

Before baby, these kinds of things would have been taken care of fairly quickly, but these days it just doesn’t seem feasible; at least for now. Mainly because I’m too tired or as soon as I start one task, another one comes up.  Before I know it I’ve started 3 different tasks and by the end of the day, I haven’t even finished one of them. Honestly, there have been days when I need to ask myself “Did I brush my teeth this morning?”

It’s easy to get wrapped up solely in taking care of our little ones and not ourselves. As a mom, we are always putting our children first, but sometimes, it’s okay to take care of us, too. Finding the balance of being ourselves and being a mom is hard. I’m 5 months postpartum and am still figuring out how to balance the two successfully.

Before I became a mom, I had a career in higher education. I worked at a Medical School in the Admissions department and was involved with our Diversity and Inclusion department to promote diversity in the medical field. The work was meaningful and I was a champion for students who dreamt of becoming doctors one day. I miss sitting in meetings and pitching ideas, presenting and seeing the end result of a project I’d spent months working on. I had a boss who was an amazing mentor and together we worked alongside a team of fabulous, fearless, feminist women. I went from diplomas on the wall to baby talk all day. I love being home with my son, and am so grateful for the opportunity, but like any job, it has its challenges.

For a lot of stay at home moms, some struggle with the desire to go back to work, social isolation, irritability, the feeling of not accomplishing anything, or the feeling of “losing” yourself.

For a lot of working moms, some of the challenges are having to get ready in the morning, drop your kid off at daycare, work all day, grocery shop, cook, bathe your kid.

Being a stay at home mom is hard and being a working mom is hard. Both jobs are hard and whether you are at home or at work it can feel like there isn’t enough time in the day. In the early stages, we are just trying to find our “new normal.”

If I’ve learned anything these past 5 months it’s that being a parent requires flexibility and adaptability.

Let’s look at these two words.

Flexibility-the quality of bending easily without breaking.

Adaptability-the quality of being able to adjust to new conditions.

We learn flexibility and adaptability immediately after our baby is born. We can no longer do what we want whenever we want. We are forced to adapt to our new normal as soon as we hear that first cry.

Scheduling a few hours a week to be by myself has really helped me ease into my new life as a mom. Sometimes I go to the gym, take a bath, run an errand, or just hang out upstairs. Having that “me time” really helps with my own sanity and also helps Micah learn flexibility and adaptability as well.

So, how can we let go of the need for things to be perfect and adjust to our new normal?

Here are some things that I am giving a try:

Scheduling some me time

In order for me to be a good mom and happy wife, I have to make time for myself.

Making peace with where I am

In order to feel satisfied, I have to acknowledge and accept where I am in life. If I make peace with where I am, I know my journey will feel much more peaceful and satisfying.

Reflect

I try to think deeply about what really matters. I do my very best to be present when I’m with Micah. I try to take my time and really cherish the special moments. I bask in his sweet baby smell, I kiss his little fat pillowy feet, I nuzzle my face in his chubby neck and give him kisses until he can’t stop laughing which usually results in adorable hiccups afterward. These are the memories I will want to look back on and remember.

Transform my outlook

I try to create realistic expectations for myself so that I can feel accomplished. When it comes to housework I try and do a little bit of something every day. One day I may focus on washing the laundry, another day I may Swiffer the floors. I try to work smarter not harder. Eventually, once I find a rhythm for myself, I will become more efficient.

Let go

This one has been the hardest for me. I try to let go of whatever it is that I think is expected of me. I just do the best I can each day. Some days I feel accomplished and others I feel like I’ve done nothing. I know every day won’t feel like an accomplishment. Some days I may just take care of Micah and I have to remind myself that what I am doing is enough.

Know that I am capable

I tell myself that I am both worthy and able. When things don’t go my way it’s easy to get down on myself. When I find myself criticizing myself I try some positive self-talk. I think of all of the things I am doing right instead of where I think I am lacking.

Adjusting to my new normal will not happen overnight. I know it takes time. I love being Micah’s mom and my life is so much better because he is in it. I don’t think anyone can “master” motherhood. Motherhood isn’t fixed its fluid. There’s always going to be a new “something” we are forced to figure out, but if we stay true to who we are and focus on the good, I believe we will see positive results in our journey of motherhood.

Being a mom is hard work, there’s no doubt about that, but it is one crazy beautiful ride.

Xoxo,

Jacqueline