LET TIME BE TIME
A friend of mine just had her first baby—a girl—& it took me back to being a brand new mom. We were only home for three days before Blake went back to work, & I remember preparing all the things. Refilling the soap bottles & stocking extra toilet paper. Prepping oatmeal because I was starving all the time & filling three glasses with water at a time because I was drinking like a camel. I remember wondering when I would ever shower because this baby was here to stay & how do you shower while making 1,000% sure your baby is still breathing? We watched a lot of Gilmore Girls those first few weeks. I think Collins still gets the theme song stuck in her head from back then. That show gave me the perfect dosage of happy & safe & normal. If Lorelai could raise a little girl, I could do it, too.
Fast forward to bringing Jude home from the hospital. I pleaded, begged, & demanded that Blake take two weeks off this go around. It wasn’t to wait on the baby & me though—it was to get the girls OUT! If my only responsibility was my baby, it was smooth sailing.
What once was foreign & scary & left me feeling unqualified to my core was now natural. I’m not saying it was easy—newborn life is never easy. I think I tried convincing Blake he’d rather stay home than go to work 5 billion times our first few months of having three. (He was too smart for that.) Even so, it was familiar, & I knew this time I was capable.
That’s how it always is, right? A challenge looks insurmountable. We see other people doing it before we try, & depending on your personality, it either makes you feel stronger or more scared. For me, it’s more scared. I see a mom mastering her four kids, & I think Oh, she’s totally better at this than me because I only have three. Or I’ll be in a workout class & catch a glimpse of my neighbor totally killing it & not seeming to be out of breath, & I’ll think She’s in such better shape than me—Why am I not there yet?
I forget the stair steps. I forget that every mom starts with one baby & works her way up (except for you multiples moms—you hopped straight in the express lane!). I forget that while I’ve been working out consistently for five months, my neighbor has probably been at it for years.
I forget to give life time. I’m always fighting for time. Stretching it—Soaking it in—Using it wisely. But I forget to let time be time & be where I am & not where someone else is.
It drives me bonkers when moms of older kids say Oh you think your stage of life is hard? Just wait. Come on, lady! Who are you trying to help here? It’s when I want to respond with, You may hate dealing with high school relationships, but it’s probably a plus that she can take herself to the bathroom & understands the concept of blowing one’s own nose. Don’t forget the little things, Sheila. Instead, I usually say, Well, I’m sure it’s a very different sort of hard. And then I give a little smile that makes her feel like I understand her, & I return to my tinies & try to push away the added pressure to soak in this moment in the Target checkout line.
We are in the position we are in for a reason. We may be beginning when it feels like everyone else is ahead, but as long as we’re putting one foot in front of the other, who cares?
Comparison is like an annoying nervous habit. We don’t even realize we’re doing it but there we are, participating like it’s our job. If everyone else dropped from our minds & all we were left with was ourselves, would we be pleased with the steps we’re taking? That’s all that matters.
At the end of my life, I won’t be thinking about who did it best & who ran ahead. I won’t think I should have had more kids because she did or that I should have made my cheese sticks look like snowmen for the class Christmas party because she did. I’ll be thinking about the life I got to witness & grateful for the part I got to play. Only I don’t want to wait to adopt that mindset. I want to live that out today. We can be goal getters AND we can choose to not compare. We can be happy for the achievement of others AND we can choose to not be jealous or feel less than. We can be proud of where we are AND we can lift others up who are in a different space than us.
Also—just a side note: if you have a new baby, your whole life is keeping baby alive & keeping yourself alive. You are amazing, & this stage will not last forever.