We are five months and some change into this parenting thing. It’s been a blessing, a joy and an absolute stress-mare at times. If you would have asked me when Esther was a month old how I was enjoying motherhood. I would have answered bluntly with tears in my eyes, “I’m not. I’m questioning every decision I’ve ever made.”
Not pretty, but beautifully honest.
If you ask me now, I’d pleasantly say “We’re making it. It’s a lot of fun, hard and exhausting work. And I’m loving it, most of the time.”
Here are a few lessons that I’ve learned (and continue to learn) as a new mom that transfer over to all areas of my life.
Nothing lasts forever – so focus on the joyful instead of the hard.
While we were navigating that first rough month, I remember crying wishing that she’d outgrow whatever issue we were dealing with that day. Whether it was nonstop colic crying, sleepless nights, ear piercing screams, pains of breastfeeding – I spent most of my time focusing on the really hard. I’ve learned that while there will always be struggles, there are also priceless, beautiful moments that shouldn’t be missed. Her discovering her toes for the first time, the way she collapses into my chest when she’s tired, her brights eyes always filled with wonder. None of these moments will last forever and I could have easily missed out on the beautiful ones had I not reminded myself daily to focus on the joy instead of the hard.
Grace goes a really long way.
I’m learning that the secret recipe to parenting is grace everyday all day, to every one. To my child that I can’t get to calm down, no matter what I try. To my husband who’s sound-asleep snoring keeps me up after a night feeding. To myself when I sometimes cry and yell into a pillow from exhaustion and frustration. To the stranger who gives me unsolicited advice. To the family member who asks “what’s wrong” when my child is having a 30 minute tantrum. Grace upon grace upon grace. It’s the hardest thing to do sometimes – but it’s the thing that is always needed.
It’s ok to let some things go.
One of the toughest lessons I’ve had to learn thus far is that with each new chapter that we step into, it’s likely that I will have to let go of expectations, desires or habits.
During the first few months of motherhood I desperately craved my morning quiet time. The time when I could pray, journal, reflect – it’s my absolute favorite part of the day. And it was the first thing that went when we brought Esther home. Not only did I no longer have the morning to myself, but I didn’t have the energy either.
This season, it’s being able to work out at the gym regularly. This was something that could be done when she was younger. But now, the sounds of the weights dropping on the ground scare her, she’s restless in her stroller and doesn’t last very long when being watched by “strangers”. Not to mention the long process of getting to the gym with everyone changed, fed and happy. It’s certainly something that I could force to happen, but instead I’ve chosen to let go of the expectation for this season. I’ve had to swallow my pride, give myself grace, and be ok that I simply can’t get it all done. I’ve had to learn that sometimes letting things go is better than forcing it to stay.
His mercies truly are new each morning.
Oh man, probably the best lesson that I have learned so far – tomorrow truly is a new day and His mercies are brand new for all of us each morning. That means that I get a fresh start and a new try to do it a little bit better than yesterday. Not to “get it right” – but to improve. To learn a little more, to smile more, to cherish, to give grace and forgiveness more, to hug and appreciate Esther more, to love and acknowledge Joshua more. To love and appreciate myself more. No matter how rough a day or night may be – there is redemption and new mercy coming in the morning.