Some Things I’ve Learned

Having a baby is wonderful, but it’s also stressful and it can bring some of the {cough} less attractive sides of my personality to light.  It’s easy to focus on caring for Joe and neglect other things and people in my life.  Here are a few lessons that I’ve learned over the past 5 months…

I need to spend time with my husband.

We were both so busy when Joe was born.  Chris had conferences to run and classes to teach and papers to review/write and grants to work on.  The concept of a “5 day work week” has never meant much to him.  I was entertaining family and friends and doing 95% of the care for Joe and have also just started picking up shifts in the ER.  We’re both busy on Sundays with church-related activities: volunteer duties and service in the morning and then home groups at our house in the evening.  It’s easy to neglect one another and focus on “more important” things.  Fact is, nothing is more important than my relationship with him.  I love Joe, but Chris comes first.  Or at least he should come first.  I confess that I haven’t made my relationship with him a priority, and we’ve both felt some of the strain.

I’ve started making time with Chris a priority again.  We haven’t gone on a date since Joe was born, but we have had some at-home date nights: dinner and a movie, a glass of wine while watching one of our favorite TV shows, or just sitting around and talking.  We’re both tired at the end of the day, but I feel better when I’ve reconnected with him.  I’m hoping that we can establish a regular monthly date night in 2012.

Exercise is a necessity.

I kept up the exercise for most of the pregnancy.  Then Joe was born and I spent the first 6 weeks of his life in a blurry haze.  Once Joe’s 8 week birthday rolled around, I was ready to get up and get moving again {actually, I was ready earlier than that , but I just didn’t do it – too lazy!}.

At first, the only exercise that I was able to do was pushing Joe in the pram around Auckland.  Joe would sleep and I would go uphill and downhill, listening to music on my iPod.  It was a way for me to have some alone time without really being alone.  Once Joe’s morning naps consolidated into one longer nap, I was able to start jogging on the treadmill again.  I try to use it 5 times a week for 45 minutes, but I’m continuing to walk around AKL with Joe.  He gets bored of being in the apartment all day {who wouldn’t?}.  Even if it’s just a walk up and down Queen Street in the baby carrier, it’s still good for him and for me.  All of that exercise paid off – I reached my pre-pregnancy weight when Joe was 3 months old, and I’ve continued to lose weight by watching my diet and keeping up my physical activity levels.  I’m planning to run a 5k with a friend this coming year, so that’s something fun to look forward to!

God is important.

My relationship with God took a nosedive when Joe was born.  I’ve spent so many Sundays in the church nursery seeing to Joe, and it’s hard to remember to pray or read the Bible when you’re tired.  I fell out of the habit, and it’s time to start working on my relationship with Him.  I’ve been chatting with some friends from church, and we’re going to start up a women’s Bible study in 2012.  I need the fellowship and accountability of some other Christian women who aren’t afraid to ask me how things are going.  I’m really looking forward to it.

Have fun with your friends.

I’ve been blessed with a good network of girl friends here in New Zealand.  I’ve met these women through a variety of ways, and I’m so grateful for each and every one of them – my “mom friends” who are able to hang out with me and don’t mind if I have to cancel or reschedule because of nap time, my “kid-less” friends who host beautiful girl parties and dinner parties and who love to “ooh” and “aah” over Joe, and my single friends who can’t wait to take in the latest show at the theatre and are available to do stuff last minute – there’s such a variety of wonderful women that I’ve met here.  I’m thankful that Chris and I are flexible with our schedules, and that he doesn’t mind giving me a night “off” and vice versa.  I can’t remember the exact quote, but it’s true that there’s something very therapeutic about being in the company of other women.

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These are some of the things that I’ve learned as a new mom.  I love my baby boy.  Having him has made things better and tougher and sweeter and crazier all at once.  Having him has taught me a lot, both in regards to being a mom and being a better person.  It’s not easy, but good things are worth hard work.

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5 comments

  1. Laura says:

    Hey Jenny 🙂

    Love this post!! I felt like everything you said was something I’ve thought or gone through myself. I don’t think there’s anyway to really prepare yourself for the first 6 weeks after having a baby. Whether your first or third. I thought I’d figured it out but God showed me I still had some to learn. It’s hard to get a shower or bathroom break in, much less time to have an actual conversation with your spouse! This applies to working out and continuing your relationship with God too. I even had all of my index cards with scripture to look at, but still found my exhausted state so overwhelming that I too let that relationship take a backseat.

    I think 8 weeks must be key because that’s the week I’m currently in and am fitting in most all pre pregnancy clothes now. It sounds like you’re doing great though, and you have a great group of friends which is awesome!

    Laura
    laurasblondemoments.blogspot.com

  2. Priscilla says:

    great post 🙂 Looking forward to bible study next year, I definitely need the accountability for my daily devos.

  3. Erin says:

    Your honesty is such an encouragement to me, and a reminder that I need to realign my priorities before the holidays/vacation starts. I’m struggling with spending quality time with my hubby, exercising, and making intentional time for God’s word at the moment—and I don’t even have a babe to take care of!

    If you’re opening up the Bible study to women outside of the church, please let me know (but totally understand if not)….

    And, I love that I have YOU as part of a community of wonderful women 🙂

  4. Christine says:

    What a fantastic list of things to keep in mind! It is so easy to get lost in the world of “being a mum” and forget to take care of yourself and hubby! I’m working on the God time thing at the moment… and could definitely learn to fit more exercise in! Yay for a bible study group next year 🙂

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