Two weeks ago I experienced the joy of welcoming another little boy into the world. Beckham’s birth has blessed us as a new family of four. I have such gratitude for his health and the bond that’s already forming between him and my oldest son, Tatum.
As I find myself in this newborn season once again, I am filled with so much joy. Joy in the new addition to our family. Joy in all his tiny features. Joy even in the times we spend together in the wee hours of the night. I acknowledge that I am privileged to experience this joy as not all women are able to postpartum.
And while this is a time of such immense joy, it is also a time of such challenge and busy-ness. I have a toddler and newborn who are both very demanding of my time and attention, a new business to keep running even during my maternity leave, a husband to still find time for, and all of the many responsibilities that come with being a wife, mom, business owner, home owner. Not to mention the busyness that also accompanies the holiday season now here. Please don’t get me wrong - I am not complaining. I am so very blessed by all of these things! But that’s not to say our blessings can sometimes feel overwhelming and contribute to a season of busyness.
I recently finished the book, Defiant Joy. Ironically, this came at a perfect time as I find it very relevant to this current season of life. In the broken world we live in it can often be difficult to cultivate a life of joyfulness. Being defiantly joyful is choosing to revel in joy even in the midst of challenge and tragedy. It’s not denying these things, because wow do I ever feel the challenges of life right now. But rather it is taking heart in strength and resiliency to dig beyond the surface and choose to find and experience joy even when it may seem impossible.
In this season I am choosing joy.
What brings you joy? Make time for that.
Choosing joy brings my thoughts to “what actually does bring me joy?” I recently put some thought into this question. Part of choosing joy means identifying these things and making time for them in my life. Of course, my thoughts have to stay within reason, but that doesn’t mean I have to feel limited. While traveling brings me joy, that isn’t exactly an option right now. Rather I identified simple things like decorating my home for Christmas, drinking hot chocolate, reading, and conversations with my husband before we drift off to sleep. These are a few small and manageable things that can bring me joy in this busy season. These are the things I will make time for. By taking a little time for joy I feel lighter, nurtured, and energized to face the challenges ahead.
Take time for self-care.
Self-negligence often becomes the norm in busy seasons. Schedules and lists filled with tasks and to-dos find their way to the top of the priority list while our own needs sink to the bottom. Self-care looks very different for me these days. As a mom of two, I unfortunately don’t often have the option to take “me time”. Some days it’s hard to even find time to take a 5-minute shower just to clean the baby spit-up out of my hair. I will be the first to admit that self-care had never been one of my strong suits. I thought I thrived off of busyness and would become discontent with relaxing and an empty to-do list. I would fail to acknowledge how worn down and stressed this would make me until I would reach a breaking point. Thankfully, with some therapy and personal work, my self-care skills are improving.
Lately, my self-care is manifesting through the way I communicate. By saying “no” to things and asking for help. Both of these are NOT easy. It takes some internal work to break down my pride and admit that I can’t do this all alone. And it’s silly to think and expect that I can. There are many people who are willing to help with a simple ask. Given how busy this season is, I can’t afford to add much more to my plate. That doesn’t mean saying no to every single thing but being thoughtful and deliberate as to what will “add” and what will “take away”.
Slow down & live in the present.
If there’s one thing I learned from the time after Tatum, my oldest, was born it is that this time goes by so quickly. I’ve heard this said time and time again by every mom with older kids that time really flies by and to cherish every moment. You don’t realize how true that is until you experience it for yourself. Some days I really wonder where all the time has gone. Having been through this once before, I’m entering this newborn season once again but this time with a little different mindset.
When Tatum was a baby, I was very concerned with keeping up appearances. I wanted to be the mom with the baby who was the perfect sleeper, who always had a home-cooked meal on the table, a tidy home. Not that these things aren’t of some importance, but I let them consume me and, in the meantime, missed out on time and snuggles with my newborn son. These times are so fleeting, and I truly recognize that now. And with a toddler, new business, and approaching holidays this newborn season is busier than ever. My ability and willingness to slow down and savor has to come with a lot of intentionality. That means sometimes allowing the laundry to pile up, indulging in quick and convenient meals, and letting my baby sleep on me without the fear that he will become too “clingy”. These are not my natural tendencies and slowing down certainly presents its challenges. But when I find myself getting caught up in the mundane, I remind myself to live in the present and cherish every moment. These are times I don’t want to miss a single second of.
If you are finding yourself in the midst of a busy season of life you are not alone. The challenges felt during these times are so real, even among an abundance of blessings. Yet, you are capable. You are capable in every season of life. And joy is yours to be felt in the present, in the mundane, in the face of tragedy if you only choose it.