Friday, June 30, 2017

My Job Today

It's pretty late, Henrik is sound asleep, and I should be taking advantage of this opportunity to go to bed and get some much needed rest, but here I am. Typing away my feelings. It's therapeutic though so I suppose that makes it worth sacrificing sleep. And if it ends up helping at least one other mom out there, it'll definitely be worth it.


Picture because I like him.

A few months ago, I was really struggling. Henrik wasn't a newborn anymore and was suddenly much more difficult. Chris and I were having a hard time "figuring him out", for lack of a better phrase. We were trying to get to know him and his needs better (still are) and felt like we weren't providing what he needed very consistently because we didn't know what the heck we were doing (still don't sometimes). He wasn't being super difficult or anything, we were just still in the trial and error phase of playing around with sleep/eating schedules and learning his cues.

This was making me feel very overwhelmed because literally all my time and energy was going into trying to make this baby happy. There were so many non-baby things that were piling up and it was starting to give me a lot of stress and anxiety. I had thank you notes to write, blogging obligations, cleaning, laundry, errands, emails, and a million other things that I didn't seem to ever have the time for. As soon as I would get Henrik to sleep, I had to use that time to shower or make dinner or go to bed. And his naps during the day were too short to really fit in anything else. I didn't see how I could possibly get any other things done.

I told my mom about my stress and how I wished I could just have two days of no baby interruptions to get these tasks finally off my to-do list. Obviously two days was not feasible, but my parents offered to watch Henrik for an evening so Chris and I could each get a few tasks done. We picked a night and finished several projects that had been hanging over our heads and it felt great.

When I went to pick up Henrik, my mom and I ended up chatting for a bit. She said that years ago, one of her friends had teenage kids and then a baby. She was likewise very overwhelmed with all of her different obligations and finally had to say to herself that today, her job was to be a mom and that was all that mattered. She just kept repeating that phrase and it helped her keep her priorities straight and not get worked up when something on her to-do list took weeks to finally get crossed off.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, that has become my new mantra and it has made a HUGE difference.

"Today, my job is to be a mom."

I repeat that sentence to myself many times throughout the day and it is a wonderful reminder of what I should be focused on. It helps me stay in the moment and just concentrate on Henrik and being a good mom to him and providing for his needs. Getting other things done right away just doesn't matter as much.

(Of course, like with any parenting related advice, this must be used in moderation. I still make sure I am providing for my own needs as well as my husband's. It's all about balance.)

This mantra has helped me take off a lot of the self-inflicted pressure I was struggling with. I realized it didn't matter if that pile of laundry didn't get folded today, or if my bathroom wasn't as clean as I'd like it to be, or if I didn't answer that email right away. What matters is focusing on Henrik and being the best mom to him that I can be. Spending time smiling and playing with him on the floor is more important than running that errand. Holding and nursing him to sleep when he's upset is a better use of my time than doing the dishes. Singing and dancing with him matters more than cleaning out my car.

I know these days with just him are fleeting. Someday, we'll have another kid (I hope) and my attention and efforts will be divided again. It will be great, but different and challenging in other ways. I want to make sure I make the most of my time with him now even if it means other things temporarily take a backseat (like taking outfit photos for the blog haha).

Now that I have learned to relax more and not put any more pressure on myself than necessary, I have been much happier and less overwhelmed. I'm a more patient mom and wife (although definitely not perfect).

Don't get me wrong, though. There are still hard days and I get overwhelmed from time to time. But I just try to repeat my mantra and work through those feelings of stress and let things go. It's gotten a lot better the last few months and I'm really grateful for that. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to stay at home with Henrik and be his mom.

That's my new job. And I love it. 




Happy that: Henrik went to sleep easily tonight. 
And that: It's a holiday weekend!
Looking forward to: Spending time with my family. 
Days Until Christmas: 178

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