April 5

2 comments

How life changes after baby – for good

By Jessica Allen

April 5, 2019

baby, goals

My little guy turns 6 months old today.  How half a year has passed, I have no idea.

I had this vision that I would have seamlessly eased back into my life as I knew it – heels, tailored suits, and all.

That vision has become partly true.  I love where I’ve committed my time and talents, and luckily those roles allow me great shoes.  And tremendous, I’m-so-grateful-I-worked-so-hard-to-create-it flexibility. 

But the reality is that I am having a harder time with “re-entry” than I anticipated. 

A wise and dear friend calls it bandwidth.  There’s simply not an infinite amount of it to hold all I’m asking it to.  Faith, family, career, health, hobbies, and my ideal pant size, to name a few.  Some of those require more Band Width than others right now.

I want to be the fullest and best version of a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, mentor, leader, and servant.  For a perfectionist-in-recovery, falling short in any of these roles can feel like a failure.

life changes after baby|baby feeding himself
E, 6 months – Banana bomb
No teeth yet. Tickly ribs. Can roll himself to where he wants to go.
Loves everything. Seriously.

There’s not one single thing I regret over the past six months – not even the chronic knot in my shoulder or how exhausted I feel on cranky days full of crying for my attention.  Those growing pains are sweetened ten times over with E’s gummy giggles and slobbery kisses, the little pieces of his face that change every day, and the way his bright eyes light up when he’s learning something new.  This wee wiggly one is the most priceless investment of my time.  And these are magic moments I’ll never get back. 

Even so, there are other parts of me that cry out for attention too. 

We all have these dreams, these desires.  These divine tugs of the heart that whisper, “I’m still here.  Please don’t forget.”  Passions and purposes given to us by our Maker that He will equip us to fulfill.  With any luck, we’ll have a lifetime to honor them all and do the good work we’ve been assigned. 

But how do you tell part of yourself to “Hold on just a minute?  I’m busy over here.”  So busy that even the simplest decisions feel overwhelming and the fear of disappointing someone (the guarantee that I will disappoint someone) sucks the life from my spirit.

In the world of motherhood, as a work-from-home mom, I settle right in the middle of “working mom” and “stay at home mom.” The sheer number of articles advocating the benefits of either role are vast enough to drown a mama.  I have read them all.  Them ALL.  No matter which “side” I need to validate on any given day, there’s more than enough evidence out there to reaffirm my choice to work from home. (Side note – don’t fall prey to mom-shaming.  It’s so easy to do.  We are all doing the very best we can with the tools and opportunities we have.  Every woman, every family, every child is different.  The last thing we all need is one more spoonful of guilt on our plate.)

I’ve coached hundreds of women in business to manage their time and emotions well so they can achieve their career goals, no matter the circumstances.  So I know it CAN be done.  Maybe it even SHOULD be done.  I have even done it before, with two in diapers, and with less support, and with fewer resources at my disposal. 

But what happens if I simply run out of bandwidth?  When there’s not enough of me to give a full 100% to every passion in my soul?

Something’s got to give. 

But it can’t be me

If I want even a fighting chance to give my best to all these things I love, I have to respond to that little whisper of my heart.  “I hear you.  I see you.  You are important to me.  But right now I need you to wait.  Not forever… just for right now.”

The enemy wants me to spin out.  He draws my attention to my title, my image, my success, and shows it all to me through the filter of comparison.  He makes me feel like I have to act fast, right now, don’t waste time, because this is all passing you by.  If you pause, you lose.  You’ll miss out.  You’ll be left out and left behind.  And then you won’t make any impact at all. 

That is an assault of lies.  I know it.  Especially that last one, which cuts me to the quick and has the power to crush my spirit.

Where I am right now… this season of my life that will be over in an instant… this is where I am making an impact.  And I believe it’s probably more powerful than I can fully understand.

The other parts of me I love are still just as important to me as they ever were.  If it’s possible, my heart is pulled toward them even more deeply now.  The wider and more abundant my life becomes, the more room there is in it for all those things.  The more room there is in it for all these people.  The right passions will never pass me by.  The right people will never pass me by either. 

For a proud lifelong sword-bearer toward “what’s next,” this is a highly bewildering time.  I simply don’t know what’s next.  Perhaps that’s what I’m supposed to be learning right now – to be fully present and give all of myself right where I am. 

Wouldn’t we all be happier that way?  To be so present and committed to where we are (no matter where that may be) that we never feel pulled, frantic, guilty, or frayed-thin?

Maybe that’s an unrealistic goal.  But the idea makes me breathe a little easier and stand a little taller. It makes me drink in my baby’s smile a little deeper and hold him just a little longer, free from fear or anxiety or uncertainty or regret.   His biblical namesake asked for and received a double portion of God’s blessing upon his life. So it’s no wonder when I pause to reflect on that promise, the clock slows down and reminds me that time is not my adversary. Time is my greatest blessing. 

So for now I’ll kick off my heels when my work is done and keep my stretchy pants on standby.  I’m holding loosely to all these things I love, knowing that in God’s absolute right timing, they will shift into a new equilibrium just as they should.

I’ll honor this season as the precious gift that it is.  And I’ll treasure this tiny squishy baby who’s stretching my heart in all the best ways.

HP,

J

For Elisha, who changed my entire world for good all over again

Jessica Allen

About the author

Jessica is a writer, musician, entrepreneur, wife, and mom. Jessica's mission is to write "real" - shining light into the dark places of the tough stuff we all experience. She and her husband Jack live in Houston, Texas and have weathered the storms of grief, infant loss, adoption, and a marriage that almost fell apart. Jessica and Jack have four children: LJ in heaven, Grace, Jackson, and Elisha.

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  1. Jessica you are such a blessing to so many. Praising God for bringing you into my life. The verse I cling to is All things work together for good to those who love the Lord. And during a recent crisis a friend told me To leave it at the cross. I changed it a little to leave it at the bottom of the cross. God carried for us and resolved it. What a God we have. God is good and He has us in the palm of His hand. His timing will be perfect for all these things. Trusting Him. Thank you fir all you do and all you share my friend. Love to you and yours.

    1. Patty, thank you so much for your thoughtful words. I love that image – laying it ALL down at the cross. He’s strong enough to carry whatever We drop. I am so grateful for you and feel so blessed our paths connected. Thank you for being part of this little world with me!

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