When my husband went to work, I felt jealous.
Since the first day that I started working, 9am on a Monday morning has had a certain feeling associated with it.
Every inch of me itches to DO—I want to whip through some emails, write out my to-do list and cross something off of it, organize my calendar, sit down for a team meeting. It’s like I’m flooded with the desire to be productive and feel the sense of accomplishment. Often, this feeling would start creeping in on Sunday evening, as I’d start running through what the upcoming week would look like.
Fast forward to week four of maternity leave. My husband is leaving for work on Monday morning and as I kiss him goodbye, I say “I’m jealous.”
You see, while I know I will have my hands full all day long, I also miss the feeling of being able to tick things off a to-do list, and to even have the control of my own time to actually create a list to begin with!
There’s a deeply satisfying feeling that comes with getting down to inbox zero, and I have yet to achieve quite that same feeling, no matter how many diapers I change.
I start feeling a bit antsy and the FOMO feeling creeps in.
Raising a human being has got to be the most humbling, trying, rewarding, challenging and joyful experiences we can go through. I really do believe it’s the most important work that we can do, and that the impact will be deep and long-lasting. We are, literally, shaping the future.
However, the days can feel long, and often, our only immediate reward is knowing that the babe’s bum is nice and dry in his new, freshly changed diaper.
There is something incredibly humbling about knowing that you, your body, your heart, your presence, are all that the little human in your arms needs. It can also at times feel exhausting. You feel ON, all the time. Even when he’s sleeping, it’s hard to stop yourself from watching the monitor, or creeping into his room to check that he is indeed breathing, or pulling out your phone to take pictures of those sweet little eyelashes and pudgy knuckle dimples.
(And as I’m writing this, I may have just ran into my son’s room and done exactly that—see, I told you!)
During this time of constant giving, it’s important to remember that we need to give to ourselves, to refuel and fill up our own tanks. As the days are long and moments of rest are few, treating ourselves can feel near impossible to do. These treats don’t need to be big or long though—what’s important is our intention behind them, and spending just a little extra moment on taking a breath and recognizing their purpose.
A few blissful treats that I have found that help me shift my energy are:
Light a candle and rest long enough to watch the first few flickers and smell the scent filling the air around you.
Pop that cold tea or coffee back into the microwave and sit down on the ground with your hands wrapped around the hot mug and having just one, delightfully warm, sip, feeling it fill your belly with warmth.
Put on lipstick—it’s hard to not feel extra alive and beautiful with a little red. Bonus: use natural, organic lipstick and when you kiss your babe and leave kiss marks on his skin, you’ll feel extra good about it.
Text a girlfriend, giving her the highlight reel of your day (if your day is anything like mine, it might be a series of poop emoticons!) and ask her for hers. You’ll feel a little more connected and a little less alone.
Step outside and breathe in the fresh air. If it’s raining and you have a private area, go outside in just your bra and underwear. It will feel riske and energizing and exhilarating. Rain drops on your body. If it’s sunny, ditto. Nature’s healing. Kinda like skinny dipping—either in the rain or in the sun, soaking it in. I recommend a cup of hot cocoa or glass of pinot gris after.
On your next walk with babe, pick some wild flowers or branches, and stick them in a mason jar with water when you’re home. Insta-transformation of your space.
I’m slowly realizing that this season too shall pass. But it’s a very demanding season, and a time of profound change and transition.
But I am buoyed by the deep sense that although it can be hard to measure, this work matters—more than anything.