give yourself grace.

316 days ago, I met my precious {jv}. It feels like yesterday and a million years ago at the same time. Over ten months into this motherhood journey, I have found myself reflecting quite a bit in recent days. I ordered the invites for {jv}'s first birthday this week, though it hardly seems possible that he is any shade older than three months. It is cliché to say that time passes in a blink, but his smiling face is proof it does.

I have written this post over and over in my head for months. It has had a myriad of titles: ten things I would tell my pre-baby self or what I would tell my friends without kids. None of them stuck. If there is anything I have learned in the past 316 days, it is this: every experience is unique, but in some way, shape or form, they are also all the same. Every delivery has a story, but the end result  (99.999% of the time) is a happy baby. Some of my friends have had tremendous success with breastfeeding; others couldn't manage it, no matter how hard they tried. Certain babies roll over at eight weeks, but some take five months. Whatever the tale, the experiences are shared. 

I went back to work when {jv} was 14 weeks old. Now, when I look back on my maternity leave, I barely remember how I filled my days. In a strange way, it is a sort of blissful unknown. Most of the late nights (and early mornings) all fade together. Around five months, a switch clicked and we got into a much better rhythm. While we still don't have a perfect routine, I try to be out the door with {jv} at 7:30am. We typically walk back in the door together around 5:30pm. I cherish those two hours before he goes to bed. During those hours, I ignore my phone, my work email, and everything else. They can wait. When I am with {jv}, I have made it my mission to be all in. While I may not get as much done as my pre-baby self, I know I am investing my time in the right places. I am far from perfect (and still have a lot to learn), but I am getting there.

If I could go back and tell myself one thing, it would be this: give yourself grace. As a perpetual perfectionist, I figured I would bounce back and be my old self in no time. (Breastfeeding burns calories, right?) I gained weight with the pregnancy I lost before {jv}, which I didn't lose between pregnancies. It took me a full nine months to shed those pounds, plus those I gained with {jv}, and really feel (almost) like myself again. Even though I ran until the week before I delivered, I am still slower than my pre-pregnancy self. I am definitely a work in progress.

A few weeks ago, I got an email from a sweet reader who said she missed my posts. It made me happy and sad all at the same time. I miss blogging, but pulling back has been a necessary evil since I went back to work full-time. My blog has always been a respite for me: a place to express myself and a place to find clarity. While I have given myself grace in other areas of my life, I haven't here. I am not going anywhere, I simply have made the choice that my family comes first. It is hard to see others rocket to blogging or Instagram fame, while I hover at the same numbers for a month. However, I have to remind myself that 5, 10, 25 years from now.... none of that will matter. My family will.

Whether you are a parent or not, give yourself an extra dose of grace today. As a queen of to-do lists, I know it isn't always easy to put them aside. Ten years from now, we won't remember the deadline we missed -- but we will remember the moments we shared. (I'll step off my cheesy soapbox now.) Thank you for sticking with me, through thick and thin. xoxo {av}

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  1. So much yes to all of this :)

    I haven't had as much time for blogging this year as I anticipated and it's hard because I still really do WANT to blog. I still read blogs (on my phone) and reference them often for baby related info and I so wish that I had time to put together more posts on things that I enjoy reading about like motherhood or with practical information on what's worked for us so far, like my favorite meals that I feed Henry. But during the day it's just tough for me to find time to get on the computer. Since I am not working right now, sometimes I feel guilty and like I "should" have more time to be a "better" blogger. I constantly have to remind myself that the reason I'm staying home is not to be a full-time blogger, but it's to take care of Henry and he's my first priority. Plus, I've also put a lot more effort into building relationships with mom friends in real life this year vs. growing my blog and I know that's what I need to be doing for my sanity in this season of life. I know that all of us mamas are just trying to do the best we can and struggle with not having enough time...but I feel like those of us who are bloggers struggle even more thanks to our type A/perfectionist/list making personalities and putting even more guilt on ourselves unnecessarily. So thanks for the reminder that we all need to give ourselves grace :)

    Also, HOW are our boys almost ONE? Weren't they just born??

  2. Many things may have changed in the last year, but your writing is still beautiful!

  3. :) i love this. so happy you are enjoying every minute with james -- he is getting SO big! facetime date soon?! xo jillian - cornflake dreams

  4. So very true----I try to tell my pregnant friends, without scaring them, that your life will not look the same, and your priorities will shift but you do eventually get pieces of your pre-baby life back, just gradually. As kids get older, finding time for yourself gets easier (both emotionally and logistically)---and becomes much more necessary. Toddlers can test your patience in ways you cannot imagine, and getting out for a run will no longer feel selfish---it becomes a necessary therapy that allows you to be a better mother. And "getting your body back" is a journey. One of my favorite bloggers on fitness and motherhood just wrote a very honest look at the past few years of running, children, and weight loss/gain. It's worth a read ---Maria

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