I’m on maternity leave. And it’s on days when I aspire to do more than one major thing aside from taking care of my newborn that I find myself mentally and physically on the edge.
During the first days, Pao was on paternity leave and he would do everything except feed Ethan. After I feed Ethan, Pao would burp him and put him down to sleep. Pao would also do all the house chores. I would simply feed: feed Ethan, and feed myself. The rest of the time I slept and rested—much needed for those who just gave birth and feeding the baby around the clock, which, sadly, not all moms get to have. I am blessed with a husband who took it all on him so I could be well.
COVID Round 2
At three weeks postpartum, COVID round 2 came to us, Omicron version. Noah tested positive. Considering the configuration of our home, my revocery from C-section, and having a newborn, we reverse isolated. I stayed in the room with Ethan, while Pao stayed outside with Noah. This way, Pao was able to continue serving the meals, cleaning around, and yes even getting and disinfecting Shopee deliveries from our door (contactless). While I continued to do nothing else except attend to Ethan, this forced me to also do everything else baby related (burping, putting him to sleep, changing diapers). This was my first time to be alone with a newborn this early postpartum! Thank God for the grace that is all-sufficient for every day!
With not much else to do, the week on my own taught me to be Ethan’s mom, nothing more and nothing less. Everything else that I thought of doing (and there was a lot as always), I automatically put off for whenever. No due date. No pressure. Just Ethan. Caring for him was the main to-do for the day, every day.
Too many ideas, too little time (and energy)
Fast forward post isolation and now that Ethan has a good eat-sleep rhythm on most days, there’s so much more to-dos in my mind. Often I find myself starting to strive to do many things in between feedings. I want to market Our Little Fam Shop, OilMNL, do product reviews, care for my plants, create more Paperless products, post more about digital planning and shifting to going paperless, some chores here and there, organize the home (still nesting!), and many other things I want to start and finish right away! And these are the times I find myself assessing that it’s not a good day. I would initially think that I’m not okay because Ethan’s rhythms are off, but when I check my baby tracker it seems like his rhythm was actually normal!
When I aspire to do more than I should in the season I’m in, it’s when I am mentally and physically on the edge.
I become irritable and exhausted. When I want to do things outside of what I should focus on, I miss out on being in the moment.
This season if I keep packing my day, I will miss being in the moment with Ethan. In those days I am not mom, but just a feeding machine that can’t wait until I get to tackle other things. I miss out on the little cues that tell me how to attend to and care for the little one’s needs so he can have a good eat-sleep cycle, which is what gives me the rest I need for the next one.
There is another day for other things.
Similar to caring for a newborn, overreaching or overextending myself could mean missing out on those whisper cues from God that help me focus on and do what He has set before me, and I may even miss out on the rest that comes from Him which I need day by day. I might be doing too many things haphazardly, barely scratching the surface on everything instead of fully accomplishing something that will truly matter. I will end up not being able to do what I am to do, or I will get to do it but be just mechanical about it because there’s just too many other things I needlessly spread myself to. Doing too many things I’m supposed to will also just eat me up, leaving me irritable and exhausted.
I am learning not to jam-pack my day—to fully embrace the season that there is nothing else to do but be present in the moment with my baby, my family. I’ll have all the time to think about work when it’s time I get back to work. I’ll have time to blog as much again when the breastfeeding isn’t as frequent. I’ll have time to do sidelines again when the kids are older. There is, definitely, a time and season for everything, and I’d rather not do everything in a given season.
Father, help me know Your priorities for me for the day, and keep me focused. Keep me connected to You throughout, that I may not lose sight of the moment nor be insensitive to your leadings. Give me the strength to put off and push back whatever is not for today, and instead give my all to what matters most for the day.