The Smallest Working Mom Mental Victory

Working Mom Victories

I’ve written this post a thousand times in my head. I think, I want to stay present here and I want to remember this forever. But then I get distracted by the dishes, Adeline needing another rocking to go to sleep, work tasks I’ve yet to do for the day, the ice cream in the freezer.. the list goes on and the post fades away in my head.

But tonight I’m choosing to write.

Wednesday nights are some of my favorites because it’s the end of Adeline needing babysitters for the week. Tuesdays are my longest days in the office – they usually end up being 9 or 10 hour days after office hours and worship team practice that night. Wednesdays are my second office day and the only day we usually get an actual sitter for Adeline. Those mornings are the hardest because the last thing I want to do is drop her off and drive away after I spent all of Tuesday away from her.

But Wednesday nights are the sweetest. I don’t have to fight the temptation to stress and wish the moments would hurry if she doesn’t go to sleep right away because the next day holds nothing pressing. I can soak up the snuggles, the way her head fits into my neck and her sweet little fingers that sometimes stick out from the swaddle sack and hold my fingers. I can breathe in the fresh scent of clean baby and it’s the easiest night for me to stay present. The anxiety of a Sunday morning feels far away and most of my work tasks for the week are already finished. All that usually remains is more practice hours, and on Wednesdays they feel totally doable during my remaining days.

It’s these moments in the fading evening light of our bedroom that I feel overcome with gratefulness. I can’t believe God gave us this sweet little gift that I didn’t know I always wanted. I can’t believe I get to be her mom and I get to struggle with the tensions of work and motherhood and homekeeping and following Christ diligently and loving my husband well. Sometimes those burdens feel heavy and completely unattainable, but I’m trying to live in those tensions and press in to what I know is true. In this season, God has called me to all of those things. And he’s already given me the grace to walk through it with him.

So all at the same time I’m practicing gratefulness for my job that stretches me and requires much of me, while also soaking up these moments with her that are speeding by too quickly. I’m tempted to think I can only do one or the other when things get hard, but thank you, Lord, for the reminder tonight while I rocked Adeline to sleep that with him I can do both. Be present. Be present. Be thankful. Give yourself grace.

You can check out more photos of Adeline’s nursery here.

Out of Whack (prioritizing struggles for this new mom)

Reprioritizing as a new mom

I do this annoying thing all the time where I get all high and mighty because I think I’ve got this motherhood thing down. I did it during pregnancy, too… for example, I thought I must just be an amazing pregnant lady because I wasn’t getting all swollen and huge… until I did.

You’d think I’d learn my lesson, but those thoughts have continued right on into motherhood. I think, I’ve really got this bedtime thing down and then this happens. Or I think my daughter must be the best baby ever because she’s never fussy and I can take her anywhere… and then she cries through an entire meal at a restaurant, or while I was frantically checking out at Target, or she suddenly decides she hates the car and screams during every single car ride.

So, of course, I felt like I had this motherhood gig down until I started work again. That little piece of humble pie I’ve been served has certainly done the trick! I am a hot mess. My first week back to work I ended up canceling all of the friend hangouts I had scheduled on my days off because my days off aren’t really days off anymore. Since motherhood happens all day every day, my work from home hours are no longer so scheduled or limited to certain days of the week.

I am incredibly grateful to have a job that I love with flexible hours and that allows me to work about a third of those hours from home. The problem, though, is working from home. It takes on a whole new meaning with a baby who has a lot of needs (AKA food, help falling asleep, diaper changes, someone to play with her and oh yes, general care). My hours worked from home that were once “only on Thursdays” are now split up into 15-60 minute chunks all day every day in the form of sending emails while nursing and scheduling, planning, and practicing during naps, etc.

With all of these changes, I sat in bed the other night and realized I needed to press the reset button on my priorities for this season. My Scripture reading has been spotty at best, I sometimes forget to kiss my husband goodbye when I head into the office (but never Adeline, of course!), and I can no longer schedule multiple friend hangouts on “days off.”

But instead of measuring a day’s success based on the status of dirty dishes and household clutter, I need to turn the pyramid upside down and rethink those measurements.

Instead of measuring a day's success based on the status of dirty dishes + household clutter,… Click To Tweet

My New Daily Priority Pyramid:

  1. God – Have I spent time in the Word today? What are three things I can thank Him for today?
  2. Jacob – What is one small way I can serve him today?
  3. Adeline – Have I talked to her, played with her and enjoyed her without my phone nearby today?
  4. Work – Did I accomplish the “must have’s” today? Am I on track to reach my hours this week? Is the house at least in a livable condition (are there clean dishes and clean clothes)?
  5. Friends – If I can’t connect with a friend in person this week, how can I make a point to serve her? At least send a quick text to let her know I love her and ask how I can pray for her, write a quick card, etc.

After typing those out they seem ridiculously simple, but in the minute to minute of my day it is so easy to let them slide through my fingertips! Would you say a quick prayer for me today that God grows me in discipline in this season and I make this pyramid flip a priority?

How can I be praying for you? Are there priorities in your life that are out of whack? I encourage you to take a minute to consider what is most important to you and ask yourself if that is actually lived out in the reality of your day to day life.

3 months: What I hope I never forget

3 month old baby

– the way your sweet smile slowly spreads across your lips and into your eyes when you see us smiling down at you

– the way your lower lip pouts out and your cheeks puff up when you finish nursing and are drifting into dreamland

– your little wrist rolls

– the way your fingers fold around mine while you sit in your car seat or on my lap

– when you lie down for tummy time and raise your little head like a pro, swinging from left to right to check out your surroundings

– how you love it when we wipe your drool from your face, giving us a big grin every time only to replace it with more drool

– the way your little body teeters from side to side when you do your “superman” during tummy time. I am anxiously awaiting your first roll over!

– your talkative coos, groans and prolonged murmurs. You love to participate when others are talking around you!

– your morning stretches – you still love to stretch like nobody’s business when you first wake up! You make yourself as long as possible with your arms and legs straight as boards, squish your little chin down and totally change the shape of your face! It is hilarious and adorable.

– your lower lashes have started growing! It totally surprised me the other day because I hadn’t even noticed they had started, but they are peeking out! Your upper lashes are still amazingly long and curled… So pretty!!

– you love smacking your lips and sucking on them with your tongue. You’re always sucking on your lips!

– the way you push up on your legs when we hold you to our chests while we sit down. You love to stand on your legs and show off your strength!

– you still hate being in the car, but I think we’ve finally figured out you just don’t like being alone in the backseat! If mommy sits back there with you, you are so much more agreeable.

– you’ve started grasping objects and I love watching your fingers open and close while you discover.

– your preferences have changed so much since you were born! At first you liked being held cradle style at all times, then chest to chest on our shoulders and now you still like the shoulder position, but when we are sitting and holding you, you prefer to face out to see what’s going on!

Adeline, we still think you’re the bees knees. We love watching you discover the world around you and spend soooo much time repeating your funny baby sounds and faces back to you. We are so thankful to be your parents and can’t believe how quickly time is passing already. You are such a happy baby!

Returning For Me And For Her

Baby Girl Chunky Rolls

It’s been a while since I’ve showed my face in this space. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to show up – I really have. But to be honest, I have so many thoughts and emotions swirling inside me that the effort of sorting them out completely overwhelmed me, so I ran the other direction.

But now I’m sitting in bed with my second cup of coffee, listening to the steady sleepy breaths of Jacob beside me and little Adeline in her bassinet and I’m feeling so sentimental. We took her for her first sick visits at the pediatrician this week because she had conjunctivitis (pink eye). The last couple of days she has wanted to snuggle and only sleeps on us – the poor thing. But despite feeling under the weather, she is still discovering so many things!

Earlier this week, I laid her on her belly for tummy time and the little nugget blew me away! She raised her head up so high, like she’d been doing this for years, and at the same time lifted her legs in what I like to call the “superman.” I realized with a little momentum she will roll over any day now! She is also so talkative with her baby sounds these days. She loves to make sounds when we are talking, as if she is trying to be part of the conversation, too. She has started touching her thighs when she’s on her back and it won’t be long before she reaches down to realize she has feet!

She still loves sucking on her fists and when she isn’t doing that, she is sucking on her lips with her tongue. It’s funny to see her preferences change over her short little life so far. She has started to love facing out when she’s on your lap so she can see what is going on around her, and every time she is in a “sitting” position she tries to lean her weight forward…. more proof of her strengthening neck, shoulder and back muscles!

It seems like these developments happened all at once when I wasn’t looking! It really is going by so quickly, and I realized this morning that I’ve hardly documented it at all! Sure, I’ve written in her baby book calendar as she reaches these milestones, but I haven’t journaled or blogged many of the details or shared my changing feelings as a new mom.

I sat here thinking I could hardly remember her newborn days, and it has only been 3 months! I started panicking, wanting to savor those moments and realizing I hadn’t written many of my thoughts from that time… Which is why I’m here. There is so much of this motherhood journey that has already changed me, and I don’t want to miss out on remembering when those changes happened. Nor do I want to miss out on remembering Adeline’s discoveries and changes as she grows so quickly through the years.

Thankfully I shared what I hope I never forget a couple months ago, but I plan on sharing more regularly… both about Adeline and about me. While I’ve truly been living in the moment and savoring all of those moments over these months, I want to have the written memories to spark the ones in my mind once 3 more months pass and my current feelings become hazy as they are replaced with the new phase of life we are in.

So here’s to returning to the art and discipline of writing. There’s a lot I haven’t told you.

The power of Words

Your words have power

I had my first emotional breakdown since Adeline was born this past week… and it wasn’t pretty. Starting work again has thrown all the routines and knowledge about motherhood that I thought I had right out the second story window. (see this post for proof.)

I took Adeline to the office with me on Wednesday and we ended the morning super fussy and flustered. She was hungry on the way home, so she was crying… which then got me crying because I knew she was hungry and I also felt like I’ll never get a handle on this working mom thing.

I felt like I wasn’t giving anything 100%. I wasn’t giving Adeline 100% or work 100%, which translates also to feeling like a failure at everything. So when I got both of us, the car seat and my three bags in the door (we’re still crying), we nursed and I just straight up cried ugly tears. I let them roll, apologizing to Adeline for making her feel insecure about getting food and telling God that I just can’t do it all. I can’t cook, clean, care for and mother my daughter, work and still have a drop of myself to give to my husband every day. I just can’t.

But it feels like I should.

It feels like I should be able to do all of these things to the same extent that I did them before Adeline, but I’m pretty sure I’m putting that “should” on myself. I worry my coworkers are bothered by Adeline’s needs while she’s there, I worry they won’t think I’m adequately present, I worry she doesn’t feel like her needs are met like they are when we’re at home (she 9 weeks old, I really don’t think she’s making these comparisons…), I worry my bathroom will never be cleaned again, I worry I won’t sufficiently get myself playing guitar well enough to lead again, blah blah blah.

There are so many worries in that paragraph!

All that to say, after I cried it out, I remembered I had an unopened envelope of encouragement cards from my baby shower. The sweet hosts asked the guests to write me notes of encouragement, and then they sealed them up for a future day when I’d need those words.

Yesterday was that day, and boy did I get my crying in for the month! This time, though, they were happy tears. Tears full of remembering the truth that God is in this with me, tears of feeling loved and built up from women speaking truth into my insecurities, tears of reading about the gifts God has given me called out on paper and witnessed in real life from these ladies.

Words have such power.

Use your words to encourage those around you... you never know how deeply those words can hurt or build up!

Thank you for using them to encourage me when I needed it most.

I encourage you today to think about someone in your life you can encourage. Send them a quick text or give them a call and speak some life into them. Call out and affirm their gifts that you’ve witnessed, thank them for ways they’ve loved you or shown up when you needed them, etc. You have no idea the weight and power those words hold. Let’s be a community who look to uplift and encourage each other!

Your words hold power. Let's be a community who is quick to build up the people around us. Click To Tweet

The nighttime dilemma (AKA God help us all)

Babies who don't sleep

And by “dilemma” I mean the fact that nighttime keeps coming back around every day… And I never know which baby I’m going to get: baby who sleeps for several hours at a time or baby who only sleeps in my arms and cries when she so much as touches her bassinet.

You know that feeling you get when your alarm goes off and you think, how is it time to get up already?! Man, the night flew by!

Well, I ever so vaguely remember those feelings and long for those days. Because when I get refuses-to-sleep-baby, the night feels like a never ending nightmare and I’d do anything for it to be 7am again.

I truly think my daughter can sense that feeling of accomplishment when we think we’ve successfully put her down to sleep. As soon as I start mentally congratulating myself for the Olympic feat I’ve just conquered, she stirs.

It’s like she knows.

So now I try to delay my excitement, as if she can actually read my mind. I know this is absolutely crazy, yet I can’t stop myself from doing it anyway. In fact, I’m writing this as I lie in bed – I just put her down – and when I realized my body started relaxing in triumph, I tensed back up. She can sense the relaxation!!!

Dang it. She’s awake again.

Related Post: Adeline’s Nursery

Related Post: Adeline’s Birth Story

Related Post: What you REALLY need for your new baby (a minimalist approach)

The Nighttime Dilemma - thoughts on bedtime with your baby