As the year winds down, I’ve been thinking back and reflecting on this past year. With the arrival of our second child, it has been a rollercoaster ride.
Around this time last year, while expecting, I set out to make some changes – to take the appropriate steps to live my days more intentionally. At the time, I was wildly optimistic that while it would be challenging, it would be manageable.
However, only a few weeks after our baby came home, he started manifesting skin issues. His face and head oozed this smelly discharge, then would crust. He had rashes everywhere. And, he was scratching his face non-stop to the point that he’d bleed or leave his face raw.
After a few visits to the doctor, we were told he had severe cradle cap and eczema. However, we couldn’t pinpoint what was triggering his flare-ups. For some time, it felt like his skin issues just kept getting worse. It was hard seeing him in his condition and not being able to really comfort him and make it stop.
We tried several things our doctors recommended. I also researched crazily for potential causes and care treatments that could help. Some did. Some not so much. Some seemed to make things worse. Because I’m nursing, I even started the elimination diet, in case it was something I was eating that caused his reactions.
At times, it would feel like we’d finally get things under control, then all of a sudden, he’d have a break out once again. It has been difficult and draining.
Thankfully, things have improved some and we know more, but we are still dealing with it and trying to see if we can identify his triggers. Several moms and our doctor have shared with us that often times, babies outgrow this after they hit a year of age. I’m holding hope that it clears up when he turns one.
I also went back to working full-time, while our baby started daycare. It took him some time to adjust to this routin, which made my going back to work harder. I felt guilty having to leave him at daycare all day when he was having trouble adjusting.
While all this was going on, I was also busy putting a lot of pressure on myself to make some of the lifestyle changes I wanted to make and work on the projects I wanted to do, including writing in this blog.
And when I wasn’t able to deliver on what I thought I SHOULD be doing and accomplishing, I grew discontent and frustrated.
Several evenings I would tell myself that I’d work on my projects “tomorrow.” But it didn’t happen, adding to my growing frustration.
I felt ashamed that I wasn’t pulling through with what I set out I to do.
Looking back now, it was ridiculous I put myself in that situation – being so hard on myself during this time in my life. Totally avoidable and unnecessary!
After months of being frustrated with myself, I decided to take a step back and reassess things.
My priorities were and remain: to take care of our baby and get him
This was and is my season of life.
While I knew this to be true all along, I wasn’t fully embracing it. Instead I was resisting it – forcing this idea that I should be taking on these projects and things I wanted to do while we were managing a newborn with eczema and getting our family and work rhythm down.
But it wasn’t and isn’t the right time, no matter how good my causes are. Deep down I knew it, but I was being stubborn about it.
Given my season of life, I need to be even more intentional and selective with what I choose to do.
There’s a time for everything and now is not the time for additional lifestyle changes and projects. And that’s ok.
It took me some time to come to terms with this. When I finally acknowledged that I was placing unwarranted expectations on myself during this season in my life, I was able to let go of the guilt and shame I felt that I was failing in certain aspects of my life. I found peace and contentment in my choice. And since, have been able to enjoy this short window I have with my baby as a baby even more.
He will be one in a few months, upon which, I’ll see how he’s doing and how we’re doing as a family. From then, I’ll reassess and see if and when I should start working on all the projects I tabled.
When I finally embraced my season of life and made the conscious decision to put my projects on hold, it was freeing. I knew I was focused on what I needed to focus on. I have been less stressed and distracted, and more present and energized. And when the time’s right, I can take on the other challenges I’ve been wanting to take on.
What about you? Have you been forcing something on yourself unnecessarily?