Well, today was my first one back at the office, and wouldn't you know that we had one of our roughest nights yet. Of course, that's just the way we roll.
Really, it started with Ellie having some bad gas and not going to bed until just after midnight. She was up again at 3:00 for her feeding, and then back down quickly. The problem was, Eli decided to wake up. By the time I got him settled, I was wired. I was worried about missing my alarm, I was worried about Eric getting both kiddos out the door on time, and I was worried about the cycle of exhaustion starting all over because let's face it - I felt more rested while staying home with a newborn than I have felt in three years. (Thank you cat naps!!)
Anyway, as I laid there stewing I realized something - this is just another day. There is no reason I have to play the role of Super Mom just because I'm back at work. No sir (or ma'am)!! That picture perfect routine I envisioned will come...EVENTUALLY!! In the meantime, I'm going to soak in this precious season with my babies.
When Ellie came home from the hospital, I decided to do things a little differently than I did with Eli. When you suffer from postpartum depression, you realize that lower expectations are the key to sanity. Ha! I've been so much more relaxed this go-a-round. If she wants to eat, I feed her rather than watching the clock. If she wants to sleep, I let her. If she wants to be held, I hold her. You get the picture.
It's paid off too because she is so content and has progressed so much. In fact, she's on a solid 3-4 hour schedule, enjoys her developmental time alone, sleeps in her bed, and is only up once a night! The thing is, it didn't start that way. It took patience on my behalf - that and a lot of rest! I slept when she slept, napped when Eric got home, and drank a little too much caffeine to fill in the gaps. The end result was a wonderful, relaxing and even rejuvenating maternity leave.
So, why on Earth did I decide to put pressure on myself once I returned to work? WHO KNOWS!!
Yes, I would love to leave work and go to the gym. Yes, I would love to clean my house from top to bottom this afternoon. Yes, I would love to fix a healthy dinner for my family, but you know what? I'm not going to do any of those things - at least not today.
I'm going to go home and take a LONG nap to make up for my three hours of sleep last night. Then, I'm going to take my 3 year old to the park to celebrate his success in going to bed ALONE. Whoo Hoo!! Next, I'm going to enjoy a crock pot meal with my family before we do the bedtime routine (which has been perfected over the course of the past 6 weeks, thank you very much.) All before pressing "repeat" tomorrow.
That's because, I've learned that I'm a better momma when I'm rested. Maybe tomorrow I'll clean the house, make it to the gym, or cook a healthy meal- maybe not. Either way, life goes on and we'll eventually fall into our new routine with ease-just like we've made the transition from a family of three to a family of four. The key is resting when we can, embracing the chaos, and laughing at the mishaps along the way. That's right, we're taking it one day at time and trying to soak it all in!!