The Tenuous Art
I had big plans for after Annika was born. Because I’d done this baby thing three times before, I just assumed that life would go back to the way it once was, forgetting completely that babies change everything.
There was, of course, a small part of me that new it would be tricky these first few months. But I was only thinking of it from the vantage point of being fatigued. I figured that I would just live tired for a little while, but that’s no big deal, right? I mean, I can do tired.
I also knew that a little more would be required of me as a mother. Whereas the older three can all bathe and dress themselves now, and are relatively independent in the day-to-day tasks of life, I knew that having a baby would be a set back in some of that mothering freedom I’d come to enjoy.
Friends, I forgot completely that babies require just about every ounce of your strength from sun up to sun down, and even a bit of the moonlight hours as well. I mentioned in my last post that Mother’s Amnesia is a real thing, and I had it to the hundredth percent.
I forgot that an eight pound human being needs almost constant care, and that the fatigue nearly obliterates your brain cells. I didn’t just ignore that little fact, I TOTALLY FORGOT IT.
Which makes it laughable that I thought I could just go on with life as it once was, completely uninterrupted.
I don’t say any of these things to complain. In fact, I am about as content and joy-filled as I possibly could be. I am absolutely, madly, deeply, and fully in love with that baby girl, and holding her in my arms feels like a blessed privilege. The weight and warmth of her little body against mine make every sacrificed moment worth it.
But I am also overwhelmed. I feel both sentiments in equal measure.
We are slowly falling into somewhat of a routine these days, and for that I am grateful. She wakes up only once at night, and she is figuring out how to nap during the day. These are good things, and they are gently giving way to more structure in my days. I haven’t yet figured out how to make it to the grocery store, and the house is in a perpetual state of disarray, but no one has starved and we aren’t in need of intervention from the TV show Hoarders just yet, so I think we’re in good shape.
This is just the tenuous art of motherhood that slipped my mind fully. Somewhere between Landon growing from toddler to preschooler, I forgot that life with young children is a beautiful hard.
In addition to the daily crazy, I have a career to nourish now that I didn’t have when my other three were babies. I love what I do, and while I’ve scaled back considerably in the last year to focus more on my family, I still want to nourish and grow this part of myself that I feel God has led me to. So I’m learning and practicing this tenuous art of motherhood and life and creativity.
I’m remembering and I’m growing, and I might be eating a little too much chocolate, but there has to be room for too much of something right now, and the chocolate is at my fingertips.
I’m happy, and I’m busy. I’m overwhelmed, and I’m content.
This is life right now, all rolled up tight in a mess of wants and needs and not enough sleep. There are moments when I want to run away, but they are far outweighed by the feeling that I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Maybe you’re there, too. Maybe you forgot, or maybe you didn’t and you’re simply in that joy-filled overwhelmed phase of life where it seems impossible to accomplish all that needs to be accomplished in a 24 hour period of time.
I’m here to say I get it, and I stand in solidarity with you. I wish we could get together and share a cup of coffee and a plate of chocolate together, but that would somehow require both of us to leave the house. So instead, I raise my mini-Hershey bar to you and offer a proverbial pat on the back.
We’ve got this, friends – this beautiful, messy, hectic crazy life.
Now excuse me while I go take a two minute shower because I hear the baby stirring and I am DETERMINED to wash my hair today!