pregnancy and parenthood

2017: gracefully exiting survival mode

As I head into the new year, I’m working on a “less is more” resolution, and I’m surprised just how much of this can apply to my motherhood journey in particular.

I’m part of countless groups and resources online pertaining to parenthood. There are groups for your health, for your sanity, for your entertainment …

Chances are, if you can think of it, there’s a group for it.

As we wind down celebrations of Christmas, making room for the mounds of baby stuff we’ve just added, I’m blatantly reminded of my “less is more” goal.

It runs deeper than de-cluttering for purposes of being organized or feeling more “in the moment.” My baby will get older, and at some point, all these things and distractions will clutter his little world too. Soon we will have to worry about things like teaching him how to share, be kind, be grateful.

Next year, I want to shift our focus to experiences. To seek new adventures in place of new toys. To spend less time connecting on my phone and more time connecting “real time.”

This isn’t coming from a failure. In 2016, I needed the over-connectivity to help me step into motherhood – the information, the reassurance, the enlightenment it all provided. And, considering our house has never seen a diaper or toy before 2016, all of the primary-colored plastics that have taken over certainly have been a welcomed addition.

But we are reaching a new chapter. We don’t need as much support as we once did, as we’ve narrowed down our parenting philosophy by trial and error, and mostly instinct. We don’t need any more things as our house has transformed to a mini Disney theme park.

By all means, new moms – soak up all the resources and support you can get in your first year. Try all the things. Remember that you are in survival mode when you bring that newborn home, and this is not a time to be frugal. It’s a time to take what you can get. It truly does take a village.

But there comes a day when all of this once helpful stuff will start to clutter your days.  When all the outside support and “must try” baby gear starts to overwhelm. This is not a bad thing. It just means you have found your way. It means you have graduated survival mode. It means you have finally found your rhythm in an otherwise total upheaval to your once well-rested life. It means you’re kicking ass.

Somehow, I’m not that new mom anymore (well, when speaking in this limited context). I just became mom. I don’t know when exactly it happened, but it did. I made it!

I will always need help as a mother – this I know – but, what that looks like is a constant change.

More than any online group, outside advice, or baby gift, what I need going forward is simply space. Space to acknowledge the baby days that are behind me, and the toddler (what!?) days ahead. Space to blossom into the mother that I have become with the help of my village.

 

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