Wednesday, February 26, 2014
When I was planning my maternity leave, I had some lofty aspirations. Really lofty. I was finally going to have so much time on my hands to do all those things I wanted to do, but never could, because I was always working full time. I would sew, and learn to knit, and cook everyday. keep the house spotless, take lots of cute photos of my baby, take him/her out to play groups, meet lots of other new moms and make a ton of new friends.
After all, a newborn just fed and slept. Right?
Fast forward to the first few days after baby's arrival and I found myself adjusting to this new person in my life. My amazingly supportive husband did what he could to help in that one week he had off of work. The following week, it was just my baby girl and I. I loved being home with her, having her all to myself, soaking in her newness, her every little movement. I couldn't believe this little person had developed inside of me and was now here. And so real.
Soon my days were a blur. A never-ending cycle of breastfeeding, changing diapers, laundry, rocking her to sleep, taking her in and out of the wrap, trying to keep her asleep. All while still trying to function as a human being - remembering to drink enough water, eat on time. Had I brushed my teeth that morning? How many hours has that tea been sitting in the microwave?
I looked forward to 6pm when my hubby would walk through the door and immediately take over the baby, without question. So I could go shower... eat...sleep...whatever I needed or wanted to do. I needed to do everything, and nothing all at once. I felt overwhelmed by my need to meet my own expectations while struggling to accept the reality that my pre-baby plans for my maternity leave were not going to happen. Not anytime soon. What was wrong with me? Why couldn't I do this? I was an organized, efficient person! A lot of days, the only time I actually changed my pj's was when my baby spit up all over me. And most days my biggest accomplishment was rocking or wearing my baby to sleep. I felt like I was failing!
My husband never once wondered why there were dirty dishes on the counter, or why I was still in my pj's from 2 nights ago, or why the bathtub hadn't been scrubbed in over a week. He only cared if I had eaten. If I had napped when baby napped. According to him, my only job was to take care of our little girl. And myself.
It did get easier. Eventually. We all found a rhythm that worked for us. We got into a routine. I let go trying to do it all during nap times, trying to be my idea of the 'perfect mom and wife'. I stopped trying so hard to do what I thought I *should* be doing, and focused instead on what I was doing - being there for my baby.
I DID learn to knit --- when she was about 16 months old. I DID get around to sewing --- trainers for her since she was potty learning around that same time (16-17months). I cooked every few days, cleaned the house when I could. It was never spotless, but it was safe for my baby and comfortable. I DID take a ton of photos of my little girl ... memories I am so grateful to have been around for. I DID NOT ever get to take her to play groups or meet other new moms. At least not in real life. I did, however, meet a few new moms online in 'mommy groups' on Facebook. I am still friends with these amazing women.
In terms of living, we made lots of changes that have helped us achieve a happy balance. We live with my inlaws now, so we have lots of help with the little one. Hubby switched careers, so he is actually home a lot more. I am blessed to have a wonderful family that supports my creativity and my passion of knitting and sewing (allowing me to actually start up a home business doing so).
I still catch myself struggling to find the time to do all the things I want to do. But I no longer sweat it. I no longer look back at my day or week or month, and look for a tangible accomplishment. I get anywhere between 0-5 hours a week to work on my projects - personal or business. I know this. I am ok with this. That is my only "me" time.
My little girl is almost 3 years old now. She is a smart, independent, confident, loving, witty, funny, passionate, opinionated, compassionate, gentle, thoughtful, amazing little girl! *That* right there. That is my accomplishment for the last 3 years of love, laughter, tears, joy, frustration, highs, lows and everything in between.
My little girl is growing up fast. And won't always need me as much as she does right now. She may not remember me struggling to keep the house in order, or churning out so many handmade items a week. She *will* remember that her mama was always there for her.
Because really... I have finally understood this. That at the end of the day, there is no "my" time. My time, my dear child, is yours :).