About this time last year I was getting ready to go on maternity leave - I wasn’t actually due until early September, but by the end of June I already felt like I was 600 hundred weeks pregnant, and still getting daily morning sickness, which lemme tell you, was NOT limited to the AM, so I was COUNTING THE DAYS until my mat’ leave in mid-August.
I started wrapping things up progressively, slowing down, allowing myself the time and space to lie on the bathroom floor for a few minutes after my afternoon bout of vomiting (sorry! TMI!).
Anyway, I’m not sure whether it was baby brain, or just my total pre-baby naivety, but I had some definite presumptions about how things were going to roll once my little bun was out of the oven.
I was going to give myself a very generous 3 months to find my feet in my new motherhood role, (HA! I'm not sure that I'll ever find my feet as a mum :P) spending my sun-filled days bonding with my baby and embracing the fourth-trimester period.
Then, by the time she was about three months old I’d be starting to feel the need to get back some non-baby brain time, so I’d start to ease myself back into my business.
I’d work when she was sleeping, do a bit of writing, schedule clients for times when I knew she’d be down for a nap and so I could give them my undivided attention, and I’d slowly build up from there.
I mean, I work from home, I’m my own boss! I have the dream return to work situation because I can work my work around my family. PERFECT!
Sorry, but really, seriously, OMG does that makes me laugh now!
Now I look back at innocent little June 2016 Niki and I think ‘Oh, you poor thing, you honesty have NO idea what is coming your way.’
Now don’t get me wrong, my little chick is a cruiser. She’s very chilled, has loved being out and about and with other people from day 1. But she certainly wasn’t one of those amazing, mythical babies you hear about who sleeps through the night from 3 weeks.
Day sleeps weren’t much better. In fact, there was a period of a couple of months there where she would only sleep during the day if she was on me. Then we went through the only sleeping in the car stage (and only if it was running and in constant motion - stopping at traffic lights was my worst nightmare!)
Couple that with the general low level new mama anxiety I was feeling and my semi-constant need to continually check that she was breathing, there was not a lot of solid sleep and not much hope of any higher-than-survival-mode thinking.
By five to six months we started to see a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel and I did feel ready and keen to get back into business.
But things are oh-so different.
Progress is soooo much slower these days than it was BB (before baby) and frustration, comparison and contrast is constantly knocking on my door carrying a nice gift basket full of self-doubt and overwhelm.
But rather than inviting them in for tea and gluten free scones I'm staying focused on finding my flow doing what I can, when I can, however much that turns out to be.
And it’s funny, but a few things are happening as a result:
In the time that I do have I am so much more FOCUSED. Instead of needing time to warm into things I’m finding my flow more quickly and seamlessly, even when it’s in broken fragments of time.
I’m finding more and more compassion for myself, and allowing what I can do to be a beautiful achievement.
I’m letting small victories be cause for celebration and seeing progress as progress.
Sure, I still fall into frustration ALL THE TIME! I still want to move faster, do more, be further ahead, get shit done! I’m constantly uncovering old layers of self expectation, and old definitions of self worth that seem to creep in unexpectedly.
But I’m trying to remind myself to focus on now. To do what I need to do now, and allow the rest to come when I’m ready.
Small steps = progress.
And forward is forward.