The 5th Trimester: Learning to Balance Time & Give Yourself a Break
Hi all! How were your weekends?! We got all you can eat sushi, I finally did some stuff for the blog, we watched Craig in his soccer league final, and I went to the mall – by myself…oh, and I spent a lot of hours holding and cuddling with Calvin…not bad at all! 😊
So I really need to stop referring to my life in trimesters…but I promise that this is the last one! Saying 4th & 5th trimester, doesn’t even make sense, but they are so real, friends. Just becoming a new mom is really like 5 parts: 1-3 being the trimesters of pregnancy, the 4th being that 12 or so weeks after having baby (already spoken about that time too much) and for the working moms, I really believe there is a 5th…the end of maternity leave and return to their career. Dare I say that the 5th has been the most challenging of any? That’s where ya girl’s at right now. I’m just going to keep it real in this post – is that cool? I’ll give you guys a glimpse into how I’ve been feeling as of late. No frills, no fancy photos – just words from the heart. It’s not often I admit to the struggle during life’s difficulties, so I hope some of you can relate.
The weeks leading up to my return to work, were full of dread, and more crying than I care to admit. The night before my first day back, I literally had to wipe so many tears off of Calvin’s head before I finally laid him down for bed…I held him so long and was so sad that Sunday night.
Since then, I haven’t written much because I’ve honestly been trying to figure out my life & what the hell I’m doing.
Up until the last the last month or so, I felt like I had my shit together and I was owning this lifestyle categorized as motherhood. I was a new mom, in a good mental spot, starting to feel like “myself” again, get back to my exercise schedule, cooking meals at home, able to pick up a few times a week, etc. Lately, I often feel like my life is spinning out of control – I get to the end of each work week and feel like I’ve been blacked out for 5 straight days, trying to keep my head above water. In a whirlwind of emails, meetings, milk prep, daycare duty, baby bounces, bed time routines, and trying to find time to shower, I’ve never felt stretched so thin. There are dozens of things I’d like to accomplish in a day, or used to be able to accomplish in a day, and now I only truly have time for about 10% of those.
I’ve always been someone who rolls their eyes at people when they say they’re too busy, because I truly feel like you’ll make time for the things you want to make time for. Until having a child. I’ve racked my brain again and again and I can’t find a way to make more time. If you have multiple children or went through this a long time ago – you have probably overcome and mastered this time of your life. To you, I know I look and sound like a chicken with my head cut off. Because I basically am. Am I being dramatic?
I need more time. More time at work, more time with Calvin, more time with Craig, more time to sleep, more time to work on goals outside of my corporate job, more time to get ready in the mornings, more time on the weekends, more time to work out. For an overly motivated, overly competitive (I’ll admit it) individual, it has been very humbling to compromise with myself on what my battle against time will be each day. What do I give up today, in order to make time for something else?
I want to be Wonder Woman, but it’s truly just a wonder that I am managing to function successfully with all of these old responsibilities (work) and new responsibilities (motherhood) coming together. If I, or anyone else makes it look easy, it’s not. There is so much others don’t see behind the scenes.
The past month has been filled with more meals out, a messier apartment, less exercising, more stops to get ice cream, less blog posts, and of course less sleep, than I care to admit. Twice last week, Calvin was the last baby in the “Infant 1” room at daycare when I arrived at the end of the day.
It’s so easy to look at these things and feel like I am failing. Why didn’t I prepare more dinners ahead of time, why can’t I keep this place clean, why am I eating ice cream for the 3rd weeknight in a row, why didn’t I leave work earlier, why can’t I post a new blog every day?
How easy it is to forget that I still wake up each night between 3 and 4 am with Calvin and manage to get out of bed again by 6am, I’m still successfully pumping and breastfeeding exclusively, I’m greeted with a smile from Calvin every afternoon when I pick him up from daycare (even when he’s the last one), I’m leading a large team of individuals on a challenging work assignment, and I’m providing for my family so that we can buy and do the things we want.
When ‘they’ say it gets better, I believe them. Never easier, but better. Each week I learn new tips and tricks for mastering my routines, more ways to increase my efficiency, and what I need to find time for, in order to stay sane.
Craig’s Mom (now Grandma) said it best. She texted me and told me to give myself a break. How right is she?!
So I think I’ll take the best piece of advice that’s been given to me in a long time. I’m going to give myself a break – because us Moms can do A LOT, but we can’t do IT ALL. I think it’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to say I’ll try again tomorrow.
As I head into the back half of 2016 (marketing lingo at its finest), I’m going to try & stop dwelling on the things that didn’t happen and that despite this being the most challenging time I can remember, it’s also been filled with more JOY & more LOVE that I can ever remember feeling in the past. I’m obsessed with my child, have the most supportive boyfriend, friends & family, and am so excited for our future together.
I hope you remember that you are only ONE person with so many hours in a day, to squeeze your babies as tight as you can, as often as you can, that you are succeeding despite your tough days, and that it’s okay to cut yourself some slack.
I think that maybe we are Wonder Women, after all.
Who has advice for the rookie mom? Any Mom hacks I must know for the 5th trimester?! All thoughts are very very welcome!