It's been exactly six week since my little nugget baby boy was born and in honor of Mother's Day this past weekend, I wanted to share a few lessons I've learned while becoming a mom and also trying to maintain our business. It's been a whirlwind, in the best way, but it's definitely been challenging in ways I did and did not expect.
First, I should have taken time off. At least a couple weeks. Sleep when the baby sleeps? How about work when the baby sleeps!? That was my plan... but in those first weeks, I found myself stuck in bed with a horrible spinal headache from my epidural and zero energy to do anything other than sleep and feed my baby. I am typically the queen of multitasking so I was sure I could balance working at least a little but I really didn't realize how completely time consuming motherhood, and especially very early motherhood, would be. Instead, my sister took on all of my projects, social media, quoting clients, everything, for those first weeks. In hindsight, I should have planned to take at least the first two weeks off - not only to heal, but to focus on bonding with my baby, getting as much sleep as possible and recovering mentally and physically.
Photo by We, the Light Photography
I'm glad I planned ahead. In the weeks before the baby was born, I tried my best to get ahead of myself. I created and drafted weeks of social media posts (which came in handy when Jenna took everything over and I could just send her all of my drafts), I created posts for our website portfolio, I wrapped up my bigger projects and I made sure our books were organized and in order in our Quickbooks account. By the time I went into labor two days after my due date, I felt like I was in a good place with everything, especially project-wise, and wouldn't be letting any of our clients down.
Slowly getting into a routine has been key. Gradually, over the last few weeks, I've found a system that works for us. The baby wakes up around 7-7:30am for a feeding and no matter how little I slept the night before, I always get out of bed after he eats and goes down for a nap. I've found that I really need to take advantage of his first nap of the day and if I don't, I spend the rest of the day playing catch-up. I use that first nap to get dressed, put a little make-up on and eat something, all of which gives me some brightness and energy for the rest of the day. He's usually up again by that time so he eats, goes back down for a nap and then I'm able to get a solid two-three hours of work in during one of his longer naps of the day. He's up and eats again, then I try to fit in some chores or errands for the day during his next nap. He's up and eats... again... and during his next nap, I try to fit in another two hours of work. Then, when my husband comes home around 5, we eat dinner, hang out together as a family for bit, and then I work again during the baby's last nap of the day before bedtime. This schedule has worked really well the last couple of weeks and it feels so good to be in a rhythm again.
Photo by We, the Light Photography
I'm always working on being okay with less than perfect. Some days, the baby stays in the same onesie he slept in and I wear yoga pants and a messy braid from the night before. Some days, I forget to post to our social media accounts. Some days, I ask for more help from my sister than I'd like to. But, we're getting things done, keeping our clients and our families happy and things are working out just fine. So, I try to remind myself that you can do anything, but not everything every day which helps me prioritize and also lets me be easy on myself if everything doesn't get done perfectly. Perfect is boring anyway!
I'm excited to see what the next few weeks bring as it feels like I'm getting the hang of everything and hoping it just gets easier from here! I'm sure there will be new challenges as Liam grows but being a working mom is important to me so I'm going to do my best to adapt, remember these lessons and keep my heart and mind open for more. If any fellow mamas have any tips for me, I'd love to hear them!