It has been almost a year since I last blogged. One of the last times I wrote was the day before my due date, and I was unpacking in my head and heart the truth that I was not in control of anything that was about to happen to me – when I would go into labor, how long I would be in labor, what labor would be like, whether I would have a baby boy or a baby girl. In the past year, I have learned even more intimately that I am not in control, and I haven’t blogged once because I only blog when I have something to say, and I’ve been too busy living and learning to have much of anything to say.
Today marks one year since the birth of Baby Brick, and I wanted to share a few things that have been on my heart, and just a few things being a momma has taught me.
What I’ve Learned…
1. I can’t do this alone (It really DOES take a village)
Living ten hours away from family with a baby presents some unique challenges. I’m not complaining about not having family close (though I miss them every day). I recognize that we have made a choice to live here in New Orleans – BUT that makes getting out regularly for date nights, getting a last minute sitter, going away for the weekend, and such a lot more challenging. Thankfully, we Bricks are blessed with such an amazing group of friends who are like family. I don't know what we'd do with out Ashley who watches Elizabeth every day while Matt and I are at work. It is a gift to have peace of mind every day knowing that our girl is not just taken care of but loved on. Elizabeth also has so many babysitters (Ashley, Anna, Mary, Sara, Sarah, Torie, Rachel and Lucy just to name a few!) who have been lifesavers on many occasions, and who have loved her as if she was their own. And I am so glad to be building this network of friends who I feel safe leaving my girl with for hours (or sometimes a couple of days) knowing she will be clean, fed, snuggled, played with and loved on. This gift of community can’t be understated, and as a mother, I can truly say I don’t know what we’d do without y’all!
2. I can’t have or do or be it all (and I don’t really want all of it all the time)
After a much needed and much appreciated 6-month maternity leave, I headed back to work. To be honest, up until Elizabeth was a couple of months old, I wasn’t sure if I would want to go back to work or not. But around Christmas time last year, I really felt confirmed that I was supposed to go back to work. I didn’t take this decision lightly. But I honestly do feel called to spend time in the workplace, building relationships, loving and encouraging my coworkers. As a recovering perfectionist who expects herself to excel at everything, learning to manage my expectations of myself in all realms of my life has been a learning process. I told a friend last week that I’ve realized that I’m not as good at many things as I was before. There is the same amount of ‘me’ to go around and more people/activities/things sharing in the pie, so just doing sheer math one can deduce that there would be less of me to give to each person/activity/thing. I am so thankful to be surrounded by a loving husband, supportive coworkers, and understanding friends. There are days when I feel like I’m failing at one or all of the things on my plate, but I’m trying, and I’m starting to learn, really learn, that you can’t have it all, but you can have pieces of all of it. That’s what I’m going for in this season.
3. Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing (Learning to Be Present)
Between Matt’s job and my job we are busy people. In the past month, we’ve probably had four nights at home with no meetings to attend, or work to do, or people to have over. And while we love doing all those things, it has become increasing apparent (perhaps due to the sleep deprivation that has built up since Elizabeth stopped sleeping through the night two months ago) that sometimes we just need to BE. Sometimes we need to say no to hosting people, no to meetings, no to laundry, no to errands, and just enjoy the quiet moments at home. This has honestly been one of the hardest lessons for me. I have people-pleasing tendencies and often over-commit myself. A couple of weekends ago, I signed us up for 2 events on Friday night, errands and grocery shopping Saturday morning, a birthday party in the afternoon, one-year photos in the evening, followed by dinner with some other friends. Needless to say, that was too much, and by 2pm on Saturday, Elizabeth was sleeping through the birthday party and I was a hot mess in the kitchen having a panic attack because I overcommitted us and then realized too late that it was all too much. So, through trial and error, I’m learning - learning to SLOW DOWN, to SAY NO to some good things so that I can SAY YES to the better things. Our time here is fleeting and I don't want to miss out on these little and big moments.
So, there you have it. My first attempt at unpacking a few of the thousands of lessons I’ve learned over the past year. All of this feels a little raw. My heart honestly feels a little raw still from all of the changes and all of the newness I’ve experienced. But I’m holding on to what I’m learning, giving thanks for grace along the way, and trying to extend more grace – especially to all the mommas out there.