Life with a newborn feels a little bit like riding on a merry go round: each day filled with tasks that chase each other round and round. By the time I feed the baby, burp the baby, change the baby, and rock the baby, it's time to start the process all over again. His care is cyclical and we are developing a rhythm wherein we are constantly connected and moving around each other. And then there are the other kids: the big girls who need feeding, time to go to the potty, let's brush your hair, clean up your toys. And again and again and again. There is no stopping point, at no time do you say "We're all done!". You are never done. You simply move from one task to the next, sometimes performing several tasks at one time: nursing the baby while helping the toddler get into her princess costume, serving dinner while checking over math homework, catching up on emails with a sleeping baby in your lap, a toddler at your feet, and a 9 year old at your right hand. Together, we are learning to flow in a circular motion, getting everything done without becoming overwhelmed, practicing patience as each person has to wait just a little bit longer for their turn.
I could easily look around and feel overwhelmed. I am a woman who has worked outside the home since the age of 13. I am accustomed to waking up at 5:30 am every single day, having an agenda, crossing things off my list, looking over my day and feeling accomplished at everything I've done. I am used to getting things done and by done I mean that once I've completed a task, I am able to move on to the next. But, these days, with a brand new babe and a family who is adjusting to its newest member, "getting things done" has taken on a new meaning. Being home with my family full time is a whole different dimension of work: there is no instant gratification, there is no clocking out after everything is done. We just keep moving, around and around and around the merry go round we go. At the end of the day, I measure my hard work by the efficiency in which I rode the ride, the amount of patience I practiced as we traveled around and around. I give myself credit for getting everyone fed, keeping them clean, and loving these simple moments for what they are. I remind myself not to feel guilty for napping all afternoon with my baby at my side, I cook an extra fancy meal simply because I now have the time to do so, I read an extra book or two to the girls before bed in lieu of a bedtime. We're soaking it all in and working out our new normal. And man oh man what a beautiful ride it is.