still a newbie
after a whopping 10 days of motherhood [note – this post was written in advance, but not much has changed!], i am confident in only one thing: i still have a LOT to learn. i’m figuring out annabel’s patterns + preferences, learning what will help her go to sleep and what will get her to focus on feeding for more than 3 minutes straight [she can be quite the snacker sometimes]. however, not to be overlooked is figuring out the patterns and routines that will work for ME. it sounds selfish, but i know that being able to provide the most loving care for annabel depends on maintaining my own energy + sanity, too.
i recently finished reading bringing up bébé, a memoir on french parenting tactics, and was impressed at the focus french mothers had on (a) maintaining some semblance of their own lives and (b) keeping life in their marriages. i do think there is a happy medium to be found between the two extremes depicted in the book [the overbearing hyper-paranoid american helicopter mom vs. the french bombshell maman exerting her strict discipline in sky-high heels]. but one point i appreciated — even now! — was that mamas need to take care of themselves, too.
here’s what this means to me, as well as some of my goals for the future as annabel and i build more regular routines together [i hope!]
- getting out of the house at least once a day. i have to admit that thus far it has been very easy to just let the day go by without ever leaving the confines of our comfortable apartment. in small doses, the peace and quiet is great, but i think i need at least SOME kind of contact with the outside world every day! we’ve started to go for daily walks around the neighborhood, and i’d like to make this a regular morning ritual, at least during my maternity leave. and once annabel is a bit older, i will add in some regular lunch dates + other outings with her.
- adding back exercise. i don’t have grand plans to train for a long-distance race in the near future, but i know that getting in regular workouts will absolutely help me maintain my energy and sense of balance. i’m not sure when i’m officially ‘cleared’ to run, but since no one told me NOT to, i’m tentatively planning to get back out there [just for brief jaunts!] while my parents are visiting next weekend. i will also be doing some home workouts that are nap-friendly: some at-home yoga and maybe even a return to the 30-day shred. i want my core strength back so that i can do headstands again!
- work the naps. at this point, i can’t really plan on when annabel’s naps will take place [and how long they will be…], but hopefully she will continue to take them. i’ve been trying to keep in my head a tentative to-do list for the next nap — whether it’s to do a bit of meal planning, pay a few bills, write a blog post [like this one!], or fold the laundry. although sometimes the only thing on that list is a nap for me, too. being as well-rested as i can trumps pretty much everything else.
- accept help. whether that comes in the form of meals, a cleaning service, or a middle-of-the-night diaper change, i have already figured out that i can’t [and shouldn’t] do it all.
- let go of specific expectations — including the goals above. it’s great to have something to shoot for, and i plan on trying! but in the end all that really matters is that our baby is loved and well cared for. everything else is just a bonus.
HAVE FUN. while this time does come with its challenges, it is SO SHORT. and so sweet. and therefore i will document it with approximately 38,283 pictures while still attempting to enjoy the moments while they are happening.