Reflecting on 2021
Around Christmas time last year, Bryan and I were talking about how cute Ivy was and that one of the silver linings of the pandemic was that parenting was easier when we can work from home. We decided then to give Ivy a baby brother or sister.
Famous last words: “It can’t be that bad, we are already parents, how much more work can one more baby be?”
We found out I was pregnant in late Feb and baby Oliver came into the world 10/9/2021. Let me give an example of the chaos that is our life right now.
I’ve got a cold (not Covid), Oliver is ~ 2 months old right now, Ivy doesn’t have school for 2 weeks, and Bolt is a bit sad that he’s been demoted again in the household.
I am not ashamed to say I tackling life by getting more help and planned for Ivy’s preschool teacher to babysit in the morning. I packed a lunch, I explained to Ivy, she’s going to special school with her teacher. I was wearing the infant in the Ergobaby.
Teacher comes to the door. Dog follows to greet the newcomer. Teacher pets dog, dog runs outside… dog doesn’t respond to me calling him to come inside and runs into the street.
Do I chase the dog and try to stop him from getting killed in traffic while wearing infant without a coat in my house slippers? Also knowing that Ivy will scream if I leave her with the teacher right now.
Obviously yes… so the next question how fast can I run wearing an infant in slipper. The answer: not very. Dog was rescued by nice woman who he did come when she called while he crossing fell st!!
- Everyone was ok.
- Oliver slept through all of it.
- Ivy stopped screaming but gave me the silent treatment before leaving the house to go to the Academy of Science with her teacher. (Refused eye contact, smiling or goodbyes)
- Bolt risked near death experience to let me know he has other options. I took him on a walk.
This is our new life, and I am so grateful for all of it :)
That next day, as I sat in my living room in sweats on Christmas eve with a baby in my lap and a toddler snuggled by my side. My dog sitting at my feet, somewhat resentful he’s not getting cuddles and coffee I don’t have hands or time to drink is on the side table.
There’s a giant 7 feet Christmas tree, a train set circling the tree, dozens of brightly wrapped presents, and homemade Christmas cookies on the dining room table. Yes, I’m tired, I miss date nights, nice restaurants, lazy mornings without babies, time to think, and traveling to wonderful places like Paris, Tokyo, and Sydney. But I love my brood and wouldn’t trade it for the world.
So thank you 2021 for:
- Teaching me how to be patient and kind during chaos (thank you babies and work).
- How to let go of expectations for the future (thank you delta and now omicron) and enjoy the present.
- That beach vacation we squeezed in before Delta became a thing.
- Vaccines that allowed a little more normal back in our lives: yay for restaurants and pilates again.
- For new traditions (Friday nights are movie+pizza nights in bed with Ivy) and another excuse to be a kid again (Christmas cookies, stockings, etc).
- For my health and quick recovery from pregnancy and child birth.
- The time and space to become a good hardware PM while juggling a toddler and pregnancy and for my promotion at work!
- Bryan, I am so lucky that after spending 24/7 together for 2 years, I am more in love than I was 2 years ago :).
- Last but not least, for my babies and the space and time to enjoy them. I find it hard to believe I’m a mom sometimes, but I am so lucky to have 2 beautiful healthy babies.
Going into 2022
In my 20s, my new year resolutions were very concrete: run a marathon, get promoted, read 100 books, buy a house, etc. In my early 30s, they became a bit more complex: find love, spend more time with friends, learn to be a great manager. Now days, the little things are easy…
So I’ll start with the little things again…
- For Oliver to sleep as well as his big sister before I go back to work.
- To lose the pregnancy weight and be as strong as I was pre babies.
- Have another successful beach vacation with now 2 babies!
- Find a great nanny for our family.
Now the bigger things…I have to admit, I no longer see my new year resolutions are goals with concrete endings. My goals have been the same for a while and they are goals that will never be done. So these are reminders to myself on what to emphasize at this moment in time.
Find a new challenge to be inspired by.
Don’t get me wrong, life is challenging in many dimensions right now from sleep to logistics to work. But knowing myself, these are hills on a run I’m familiar with. I’m looking for a new mountain to climb, something new to inspire me, something I’m not sure how to tackle. I don’t know what that is yet, but I’ll be keeping an eye out for it :).
Be present and enjoy the “hard stuff”
I am currently reading 4000 weeks, a big takeaway is that we have to accept our time in the world is limited and we’ll never be able to finish our todo list. So focus on spending NOW doing what’s important and enjoy it. Being present is hard. It’s harder when I go back to work. It feels inefficient not to multi task and impossible not to think about everything that needs to get done. But Oliver is only going to be in the sweet newborn stage for a few months. Ivy won’t want snuggles from mom forever. So it’s a reminder not to glance at my phone at dinner, to take a deep breath after a sleepless night with Oliver or the third time Ivy delayed going to bed for snuggles/water/book.
Balance and self care
Making some promises to myself as 2022 ramps up with the end of my mat leave and Oliver is easier than Ivy in every dimension as a baby except for sleep.
- I promise to continue making time for myself to paint, to exercise, to read, and to have a glass of wine.
- I promise to make time for Bryan and I to remember why we’re best friends and not just diaper partners.
- I promise to continue setting boundaries at work and be truly present at work and at home.
- I promise to ask for help and not feel too much guilt.
Thank you 2021 for all the lovely memories and to 2022!