Extending Grace Beyond the Newborn Phase

Mothering in the newborn phase is, well, not for the faint of heart. Your once-routine life has now become a deep dark vortex orbiting around a new, tiny human that, for some wild reason, the hospital folks left you in charge of. Night becomes day, day becomes night, and oh by the way, did you brush your teeth this week? As much as it truly is a feat of strength those first few weeks, grandparents, friends, and strangers off the street are practically breaking down the door with their best offerings. Dish duty, baby snatching for your chance at a nap, laundry washing, and takeout room service are all available upon request (insert all the praise hands here.) But what happens when you feel like you’re no longer entitled to the newborn phase pampering? When your kid is suddenly 4 months old and you’re supposed to have your stuff together but you really, truly don’t and you feel like you’re the only one. What then?

Sisters, here’s the good news: grace still abounds. No matter how old your kiddos are, no matter how messy you think your house is, no matter how down you feel in the mist of blessings upon blessings, grace still abounds. There is room for you at the weary mama table. You’ll find me there, too.

I have a few thoughts on things that have helped pull me out of the hole on days (or let’s be honest…weeks) that I just felt really stuck. Maybe they’ll help you, too.

1.     Get dressed and do your hair & makeup. In a past life, spending the whole day in jammies and a snarled top knot sounded like heaven on earth. Now that it’s become a default, sometimes getting yourself ready for the day can be a game-changer. Often I think that because I have no plans to see anyone but my two-foot roommate all day, there’s no reason to put on a real outfit. That may be true, but sometimes getting dressed for YOU is more important than doing it for anyone else. Sanity ladies, sanity.

2.     Make a plan the night before. Even if your big plans for the day include a load of laundry and reorganizing your dresser drawers, write it down! Having some sort of a game plan for the day helps you feel purposeful and motivated to get off the couch, turn off the HGTV shows (just me?) and check some things off the list.

3.     Get out of the house. Whether it’s a big outing or a 20-minute stroll around the neighborhood, get out. Fresh air does the weary lungs some good and believe it or not, babies get cabin fever too.

4.     Make yourself a healthy lunch. If we’re being real honest, I’ve definitely succumbed to a plateful of frozen sweet potato fries once or twice, but that doesn’t help anybody. Chances are the first opportunity you get to snag some food is no earlier than 2pm, but prep something guilt-free that’ll give you energy (because Lord knows you’ll need it).

5.     Lean on your people. Okay, not literally. But make a point to get out and see other humans that actually talk back to you. Set up that lunch date, hang out at the playground, let a friend help you. It really truly takes a village so welcome the extra hands and just say thanks.

And when all else fails, and inevitably it will, there’s grace upon grace. This is just a moment, just a season, and it will pass like any other. You got this.