Giving Myself Grace
Call it divine intervention, but as I sit down to write this - something that's been weighing on my heart a lot lately - the most appropriate song comes on and tears stream down my cheek. I knew in that moment that I had chosen the right word for 2019. I don't make resolutions, because they never last too long. But the idea of a word sounds much more appealing because there is some flexibility and leaves room for growth and improvement without being confined to one specific "goal" or promise to yourself.
As most of you know, this year started off with a bang! On New Year's Day, we came home from the hospital as a new family of four. There have been massive adjustments to get used to, compromises that have to be made, and routines to be kept. The transition from 1 kid to 2 kids has been a lot smoother than anticipated, and I'm eternally grateful to the people who have helped and supported us during this past week.
Before we had Delaney, I had a pretty solid daily "schedule" with Caroline and we had times that we did everything - certain cartoons in the morning, breakfast between 8:30 and 9, lunch between 12-1, playtime and quiet time, and our bedtime routine had just became second nature. And I'm quickly realizing that right now, between constant feedings, and pumping, and baby cries, and the demands of having an infant, that as much as I am trying, that previously perfected routine with Caroline is not quite in effect anymore.
I never would consider myself a Type A personality, but as a mom, I've gotten very particular about certain things and when everything changes, it can really throw a wrench into plans and can wreak havoc on our household. And the week leading up to Delaney's birth, I was finding myself completely anxious and stressed over the idea of having two kids (a little late, I get it!). Plus, I kept finding myself thinking about all the things that could go wrong at home bringing a new baby into the mix. What if Caroline didn't like her? What if I couldn't handle two kids at home? What if I failed as a mom? What if... what if... And I was ultimately psyching myself out because I knew things would change.
I was feeling incredibly overemotional at the thought of not being enough. I don't consider myself a Pinterest Mom but I like to think that I have my act together - I plan activities, outings, we go to playgrounds, visit friends and family, spend time reading, cooking, and spend time playing pretend and working on building an impressive imagination. I certainly have help from grandmothers and friends and get ideas from other Instagram moms and bloggers who have kids. But for the most part, I have the one-kid thing down pat. It was adding another kid to the equation that was freaking me out.
In all honesty, I was more worried about what would happen with Caroline. I knew she'd adapt, but Caroline is very much a thinker and thrives when there is structure, routine, and doesn't like change. This was going to be the biggest change of her life, and regardless of the fact that we had been prepping her for 9 months to be a big sister, it could have ended poorly. We got very lucky that she is also incredibly empathetic, loving, and caring.
I was overdoing it, wearing myself out, worrying and stressing over things I had little to no control over regarding giving birth. I wasn't sleeping, and I kept thinking about everything that wasn't done yet. My to-do list was growing by the minute and the house wasn't anywhere near perfect for a new baby. It was all incredibly mediocre.
And then it dawned on me one morning in the shower. Actually, the morning on the day I gave birth. I was praying and tearing up, and trying not to freak out and it hit me. I wasn't giving myself any GRACE. I was so worried about what wasn't done that I didn't give myself credit for what was ready, and the fact that I was ready.
my word for 2019 is Grace
God gives me grace on a daily basis, but I wasn't giving myself any grace. I was fighting with grace's archnemesis - perfectionism. I was trying to hard to make things perfect at home that I was wearing myself down and kicking myself for not having the perfect nursery, the perfectly styled home to live in, or the perfect plan for coming home and having 2 kids. I was struggling with the idea of starting from scratch with our schedules and routines, that I wasn't giving myself any grace.
I should have been incredibly thankful for what was ready. For the hard work I had done months ahead of time to prepare for a new baby. For the family and friends who went out of their way to help me great ready. I should have been thankful for already having a crib, dresser, gorgeous cradle, and all the baby necessities. In that last week of pregnancy, I should have taken a moment to be thankful and grateful that I had an extremely healthy and relatively easy pregnancy. I should have been thankful for a husband that works so freaking hard to make sure we are cared for and taken care of.
But in those moments of being overwhelmed, anxious, irritated that hubby works terrible hours, and frustrated that things aren't seemingly good enough, it can be incredibly hard to stay calm and level-headed and give ourselves grace instead of beating ourselves up over what isn't "perfect."
So I'm learning to let go of things. At the end of the day, the toys may not all be put away. There may be a full dishwasher of clean dishes. Dinner might be spaghetti, 2 nights in a row. There will be days that we watch 2 movies instead of stimulating play. There are times when I lose my temper and my toddler acts out. There are times when I feel like hiding in the closet and crying. There might be days when everything just goes wrong.
But I'm also learning that the house doesn't have to look perfect - the toys will be out again in teh morning, so it's okay if they're left out once in a while. The dishes will get put away eventually. It's okay to have repeat dinners as long as everyone goes to bed with a full tummy and isn't hungry. Movies are okay once in a while. Everyone needs a "brain break" and kids still learn from movies whether you realize it or not. Crying is okay. It's okay for everyone to have a timeout - all kids (and mom!) to their rooms and just have a 15 minute reset period to get tempers under control and to shed a few tears. Just because YOU think everything goes wrong, it doesn't mean it's ACTUALLY wrong. I'm finding that some of my worst days are the best for my toddler - we eat weird snacks, sit around and play dollhouse or have tea parties and stay in jammies all day.
The more I accept that it's okay to not always have my self together, the more I can take that energy and focus on my family and caring for them. Giving myself grace extends to them and helps me care for, nurture, and love them even more.
So for 2019, I am giving myself grace. I am cutting myself some slack, and learning from my mistakes and getting back up when life knocks me down.