The infant stage makes us stop and marvel at the miracle of life; in a short nine months, a whole new person grows all of his or her perfect little parts and then bam: here our babies are. It’s a momentous thing, followed by a million magical moments in which we wonder how our hearts can hold such a big kind of love. Meanwhile, life’s basics–like sleep, showers and social lives–land temporarily on the back burner as we care for our little ones around the clock. The first time I had a baby, I think I spent more time wondering why these basics were so hard to come by; I adored my newborn, but worried I might never sleep again. This time, I know how quickly this phase passes, and the “basics” feel more like little blessings every time they come my way. Here are seven everyday things I’m especially grateful for this time around:
I hook myself up to the breast pump four or five times a day (in addition to feeding Otto at the breast!), and while I usually spend that time responding to emails, paying bills or working, I only have eyes–or energy–for Pinterest once my 10 PM pumping session rolls around. Scrolling through images of beautiful interiors, cool projects and organized everything is soothing to my busy, new-again mama soul. My house may be messy, I definitely don’t have time for painting furniture, and “organized” is not in my vocabulary right now, but Pinterest reminds me of what it feels like to be inspired in these areas. It doesn’t bother me that I’m not there yet myself–I know I will be again, eventually, and when I get there, I have plenty of pins stockpiled to start things off with a bang.
Good company is a gift in itself, and I love just spending time with my friends; I’m grateful that they’re happy hanging out with me in the midst of my postpartum glory. (They still love me with spit-up on my shirt.) I’ve also been delighted by the little gifts they’ve brought along when they’ve stopped by: homemade soup, hot coffee, flowers, a watermelon… Whether they have kids of their own or not, my friends have guessed perfectly at the little things that make my day more special.
‘Nuff said, right? These days, long hot showers (one of my favorite things ever–ever, even pre-babies) are not guaranteed on a daily basis. So when I get that time to myself, under the hot, running water, I love it all the more. Yum.
Cooking is another of my all-time favorite activities, but if I’m breastfeeding on the couch when dinner hour’s approaching, my hubby (pictured above with babyman) asks me if I had a plan for dinner, and then jumps in and makes a more simple, streamlined version of that plan, bachelor-style. He might leave out the zucchini I’d planned to put in the heirloom-tomato pasta sauce (I’m a food nerd… and not streamlined), but he gets a hot meal on the table–quickly–and keeps our evening on track. This is crucial with a 3-year-old at home too.
Running multiple errands with a baby and a toddler is, um… Let’s just say I haven’t mastered it yet. Lucky for me, I don’t have to, thanks to Amazon Prime. I love the free shipping. I love that I can get great deals on items bought in bulk, like the six boxes of Borax (cloth diapering staple) or the case of Mother’s Milk tea I just purchased. And I love that the items come right to my door. Two days later. The only thing I don’t recommend about Amazon Prime is logging in when you’re awake with a baby at 3 AM… Purchasing is dangerously easy for that kind of hour.
There are lots of ways to wear a baby. Mine won’t take naps unless he’s on my body, making my Ergo indispensible to getting anything else done. So grateful for babywearing.
Because I know how quickly the baby days pass, I’m savoring every moment of caring for my smallest boy. All of it is a pleasure. Really. Diapers and night-feedings included. Caring for my big kid, and my hubs (who’s also caring for me) feels really great, too. I guess since I’m now pushing 30, and since my first baby is now almost 4, I just sense how fleeting young family life is, and how special it is to have people to love, and serve, in all of the small, everyday ways that won’t feel small at all when I look back on them one day.
I also know that in order to take care of my people, I need to take good care of myself. Some of this–like showers, and tea-dates with friends–can be done at home, but sometimes leaving the house for a little while, alone, hits the spot. I’ve been getting acupuncture to boost my milk supply and just generally recover from pregnancy and childbirth; although I’m very aware of the time that’s passing when I’m away from my kiddos, I know my husband has it under control, and the 30 minutes or so of silence and stillness on the acupuncture table feels deeply restorative. When I arrive back at home, I do so as my best self, which benefits all of us. I’m grateful for these little self-care escapes and grateful for the life I return to.
What everyday things does being a mama make you grateful for?