By Kristen Bourgeois
We recently welcomed our second son into the world at the beginning of August. And so far, this postpartum experience has been much more joyful than when our oldest son was born. Chalk it up to being new parents.
But, before our youngest arrived, my husband and I discussed how we wanted things to be different, to be more joyful. So, here are five things I did differently postpartum that has increased our joy.
- I use my time wisely and choose the better part. This includes not worrying about the dirty dishes in the sink or the 32-piece kitchen set that my oldest loves to disperse around the living room. I’m choosing the better part, which includes just sitting cuddling my youngest in between feedings and playing with my oldest when he comes home from school.
- Self-Care. I’ve always struggled with self-care, even when I didn’t have children. Self-care includes being honest and communicating my needs to my husband and others, accepting help, setting and sticking to boundaries and listening to my body.
- Letting go of comparison. A common question in the early days of having a newborn is: “Is the baby sleeping through the night yet?” Of course, the answer is no. But somehow this question would get me frustrated. I would think to myself: “Why isn’t my baby sleeping though the night yet?!” Until I realized, I was comparing my baby and our experience to the experiences of others, including the experience of our first born.
- Letting go of unrealistic expectations. I’ve always been task-orientated. Which can be a good thing. I love the feeling of completing a project. But the flip side to being task-orientated is I can get down on myself for not completing said task. I’ve discovered that running a household with an infant at home and toddler in school, the time I have to complete tasks has been accelerated to almost the speed of sound. This led to a lot of frustration. Slowing down, prioritizing, and concentrating on one task at a time has been helpful. Even if it’s just one task a day. If I can do the laundry, fold it, AND put it away ALL in the same day, that is cause for celebration!
- Learning to have a sense of humor. When I’m really stressed, humor all together seems to disappear. I’m not sure what happened that has made me learn to have a sense of humor, other than prayer. Parenting is hard, but kids are funny. And, they’re probably funny by divine purpose.