Much to my husband’s chagrin, I love social media. I’m an over sharer by nature and therefore social media is my jam. In fact, little known fact about me – when I lived in Abbotsford when Twitter was just becoming a thing, I made it onto a list of “Top 50 Most Influential People on Social Media in the Fraser Valley”, which basically meant “you use Twitter regularly”. Anywho, I digress.
As much as I love social media, I struggle with it. I’m a serial comparer. (Is that even a word?) and I feel, if I’m not careful – Instagram and Facebook make it worse. I can be happily going along with my day, week, life, content with everything in my life and I suddenly see a post with something I consider better than my situation and it suddenly causes me dissatisfaction. Like as if someone else’s joy, possessions or other things subtract from the happiness of my own. It’s terrible. I’m working on it. (I’m sure there is one person that can relate..please..) But that isn’t the point.
A few weeks ago, I took this picture:
Now, given the Christmas tree, the colour of my now blonde baby’s hair and her tiny size, you can see the length of time it’s taken me to write this post because it’s now March and this picture was taken before Christmas. Eep. Hashtag: RealLife
Either way – Lovely? Picturesque? Let me tell you the events surrounding that post. Finn was three weeks old, I would cry every evening before bed because I was dreading the craziness of night time. I almost wanted to pay people to stay longer in the evening because I knew eventually they’d go home and I’d be awake in the middle of the night by myself with this tiny human. I longed to sleep laying vertical in my own bed, maybe even at the same time as Jordan. That would be an added bonus. Instead, I spent most nights propped sideways, sleeping (not really, more like dozing) on the couch between unpredictable feeding patterns. She wouldn’t sleep in her own bed, only in my arms. Up and down, down and up, three minutes of sleep, then feed, then thirty minutes of sleep and feed, then maybe twenty minutes, then an hour. It was so all over and I was so exhausted. To the point when the doctor asked me about our routine and said “how often is she feeding?” and I answered “Whenever she cries” (clearly I am going for mom of the year). I would count the hours down till 5:30-6:00 because I knew that’s when she’d settle for a couple hours and I could wake Jordan and he could spend some time with her and I could sleep before he went to work. (PS Jordan isn’t a deadbeat – he just runs a lot better on a full night’s sleep, so we made the decision to let me be up all night because A) I had the milkshakes anyway and B) Everyone at work plus me would like him a lot better if he had sleep.
Anyways, the point being, it had been a particularly rough night, I managed to get an hour or two of sleep in the early morning and Jordan had gone to walk the dog and this was a rare moment of sanity. Short lived sanity. Soon after this, she began to cry again. I remember getting in the shower when Jordan got home and took her for a bit and I cried. This is hard, I miss my husband, my body aches, my baby is unpredictable, is this going to be forever? I was frustrated -how come it’s hard to do anything? I had all these goals of things I was going to do ( I know right? New mom syndrome) I was going to be so intentional with my time. I was going to write, I was going to bake, eat healthy, workout! But now, I can barely get the kitchen tidied in one go without my new little friend demanding my full attention. Why can’t I put you down? Why do you need me all the time?
Then suddenly I had an epiphany. I had a baby, not a blog post.
This precious time was flying by. In Canada we are so blessed to have a year’s worth of maternity leave time but that was just the thing – maternity leave. Not personal development leave, or get the chores done leave. Maternity leave.
Simple Definition of maternity
: the state of being a mother
This is the only time in my life that completely reserved and fully devoted to being a mother solely focused on one little person. To being awake in the middle of the night because we could sleep during the day because we have nowhere to be and that’s when we nap best.
To hold my baby close and gaze wondrously at her luscious lashes for longer than what would be considered productive time management because we have the time.
To put aside my personal interior design preferences and embrace the tacky toys because that’s helpful for my baby’s development. The more obnoxious the colour, the more transfixed and captivated she is by it. If she loves it, I love it.
To make dinner in 6 stages because my baby is having a fussy day and just needs to be held.
To let my laptop collect dust and not get to blogging because it’s hard to nurse and type at the same time (It can be done..but it’s awkward.)
To have to pass on a coffee date or an evening thing because baby needs a quiet night at home.
This is the season to put my baby first. Those other things are not my priority right now. Don’t hear what I’m not saying. It’s important to know your limits and make self-care a priority. Happy marriage, happy mental health = all around happier environment for baby. But my priority in this short 365 days, is to love my baby.
As for the comparison, life these days isn’t all perfect photos of smiley babies in designer duds and moms that have flawless style in their perfectly styled homes. Sure I like our nursery, but our lovely neutral nursery is peppered with cartoonish toys that keep her entertained for hours – because she loves them. We wear our cute clothes out, but we go through three outfits a day so we wear even the tackiest of outfits at home, because that’s real life. It’s easy for me to assume everyone around me has it together and is having an easier time. But then again – what are the photos I post? Happy babies and happy moments and..I’ve seen the state of my own kitchen on a regular day.
I promise to gently remind myself on the hard days when I want to run away from home (which are drastically less than the lovely days thankfully) that my baby doesn’t understand my love for all things clean, scheduled and picture perfect. My baby understands that she needs me. I am her world and that’s all she knows.
After all, my greatest achievement in life will not be a trendy blog, a clean house or a perfect wardrobe. My hope and prayer will be children that know they are loved far beyond material possessions and social status. That they were the priority over the dishes in the sink and the Instagram posts.