Our heavy front door closed on New Year’s Day, 2017, and the silence pressed into me, squeezing out in small tear drops while I sat nursing my son on the couch.
My husband looked at my overwhelmed face, and understood.
“It’s okay to be sad,” he assured me.
The kindness spurred more tears, but the permission was appreciated. After ten wonderful days with family to celebrate the holidays – first, my in-laws, and then my parents, brother, and sister-in-law, the silence of a visitor devoid home crushed me. Of course, being just 12 weeks postpartum with my son, our second child, and coming off the worst flu my two-year-old daughter had experienced in her little life didn’t help.
Oh – and my return to work loomed over the dwindling holiday season, as I looked down at my final week of maternity leave and wondered how I would ever navigate my busy job, the demands of two small children, a marriage, and the tedious tasks of daily life.
That first day of the year, I took license with the permission to dwell, and simply felt sad. I wished we would win the lottery, that the calendar would miraculously flip back to maternity leave: week one (minus the immediate post-delivery sensations and a newborn, please!), and worried about how we would ever survive this new season.
One sad day to mourn sufficed, and I was ready to move on to organizing us into success. I’m so thankful for all the women the Lord sent my way that week to build into me, offer words of advice, and pray for me.
Praying for an easy transition!
Make space – and don’t feel guilty about it.
You will never be able to do things the same with your second, and you can never feel badly about it.
These words I harbored in my heart to pull out for review over the coming weeks as I transitioned back. Above all, I clung to the advice to make space. To guard what is absolutely precious and non-negotiable, and accept that the rest may have to be imperfect – subpar, even – and make space for what matters.
In January, our goal was to survive. We did it.
In February, our goal was to budget. We made one, and mostly stuck to it.
In March, my goal was to layer in a workout routine. Unless eating Cadbury cream eggs in bed somehow counts, I don’t think this one quite happened. Instead, I took my little spaces, launched a business, and let the rest go.
Sometimes, I bring store-bought cookies when we share meals. Sometimes, I make homemade play dough with my daughter. Really, I would prefer to be as fit as I was when I ran regularly, as crafty as my Pinterest account implies, and as polished as my professional self can occasionally portray. But, instead I am as fit as lifting a 30-pound toddler, as crafty as keeping a family fed and on a budget, and as polished as trying to stay on trend, albeit with lovingly applied Finding Dory sticker accents.
And so, as winter winds into spring and we’ve begun to hit our new stride, I’m finding space in between the schedule juggling, the meal planning, the e-mail sending, and the bedtime battles. Sometimes, I just have to make that space.