Seven weeks ago, I welcomed my second baby boy to the world. We call him Theo. He excels at baby skills: Sleeping, eating, filling his diaper, and staring out into the world with wonder. He is a beautiful blank slate of humanity.
I’m stopping in here briefly to tell you about maternity leave, being a mom to two small humans, being sleep-deprived, and staying soft for a while.
PARENTING TWO TINY HUMANS
We’d done what we could to prepare for two kids: My husband Robb had taken over bedtime duty months ago, and he’d shouldered the bulk of physical activity (building pillow piles, running around local parks) when I was hugely pregnant. We talked with our son about the baby coming soon, and what we’d name him, and how to treat babies (GENTLY!). We’d made all the household accommodations too: Crib ready, dresser stocked with clean baby clothes, diapers stashed in convenient spots.
Our oldest has been, on the whole, easygoing and loving toward his younger brother. Sure, I’ve had to say “Don’t lick your brother!” a couple times, but what parent-of-two hasn’t used that phrase or something similar?
But we’re tired. I’m breastfeeding, and therefore on call any time a certain tiny human demands. Robb takes point on toddler tantrums and playtime, and I’m trying to keep the house in a state just shy of “a tornado passed through here recently.”
My brain is mush, which is mostly due to sleep deprivation and slightly due to watching a lot of Halloween songs on YouTube with my toddler. (Yes, already.) And also slightly because I spend most of my time with a tiny, nonverbal, squishy baby.
So I’m not getting my normal adult interactions, and I’m watching A LOT of Netflix. (I’ll talk more about that soon.)
Fortunately, I see my family often, and I’ve tried to chat with friends periodically. And a new neighbor-friend is also home with a newborn, so we’ve begun to take walks around the neighborhood on sunny mornings, with our babies in strollers or baby-carriers on our chests.
I’m confident my brain will feel like “mine” again someday, but for now, I’m letting things be mushy. I’m staying soft.
By staying soft, I mean physically, mentally and emotionally. I mean letting my body heal from pregnancy, labor and delivery. (I like the philosophy that it took 9 months to grow that baby, so why not expect to take *at least* that long to get back to a “normal” body for myself.)
I’m acknowledging that my hormones are running wild. It’s OK to tear up every time I see a clip of an actress talking about her father during an award speech. It’s OK to feel tears randomly well, just out of a sense of wonder at the world. (For me, this is unusual, as my standard emotional state is somewhere around “very zen” or “meditative trance” or “part Vulcan.”
I’m staying soft toward myself, too. I made plans with a friend to go to a book-reading, but by late afternoon that day, I realized I was exhausted and didn’t want to lug a newborn to a public event. I melted onto the couch and watched The Voice for the night. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging the need to stay in!
My personal goal (set early this year) was to get more writing published. That’s on hold, and I’m trying not to fret over it. My professional goals for my day-job are on hold too, until I wrap up maternity leave and ease into working every day.
I’m acknowledging that this is a time to be tired, to focus on feeding my baby, to rest, to set aside creative aspirations.
So that’s where I am right now. Soft, tired, full of love.
What adjectives would you use for your life lately? 🙂