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Three Lessons From the First Six Weeks of Motherhood

HELLO!!!! It is so wonderful to be back. I hope you and your families had wonderful holidays and New Years and that your 2020 (a whole new decade!!) is off to a great start. 

Life is really good.

I am feeling good and so very excited to be getting back to work. I started seeing clients last Friday, I start teaching yoga at Spark on Monday (4:30pm – be there!), and the newsletter and podcast are back! I woke up about 8 days after giving birth with an incredible energy and excitement to teach and share. I’ve been reading and learning such wonderful things during my maternity leave, and I am very excited for this year to come. From yoga retreats and teacher trainings to workshops and new clients…it’s going to be a good one. 

 

(By the way, if you want to listen to this post, you can do so here!)

 

One of the things I’ve loved most about motherhood is how it’s required me to level up all the more. I’ve had to face assumptions, preferences, and decide how I want to act and be even if I’ve only gotten 5 hours of sleep. Though I’ve learned these lessons as a new mom, I think they’re applicable to anyone. Let’s dive in: 

It’s not you, it’s me”.

I’ll start by saying that I never meant to use my phone when breastfeeding. I had these dreams of me staring benevolently at my child as he stares back at me adoringly. But then, I was awoken at 3am by a crying baby, and realized that I could not stay awake without something else to stimulate my brain. 

And so the phone came out for a little reading. It worked! I stayed awake (mostly). So I continued happily reading a book or listening to a podcast when I was awake with the baby, night or day. One day, I was holding the baby to rock him back to sleep and loving my latest podcast (I think it was an interview with Adam Grant on Tim Ferriss’ podcast). The baby suddenly woke up and started crying. I’ll admit – I was frustrated! 

I usually found his cries distressing, but I wouldn’t get angry. And then I realized: my anger wasn’t at his tears, it was at the interruption to what I was doing. Let’s say that again. My distress wasn’t at his crying, it was at how it affected ME. It wasn’t that I felt bad for him or was empathizing with his discomfort, I was miffed at how his discomfort impacted me.

So much for the benevolent mom fantasy.

I often say that anything someone says to you is a reflection of THEM and THEIR internal state. Anything you feel is all YOU. Basically, there was truth to the whole “it’s not you, it’s me” thing. And I got to see this in real time. It wasn’t Theo’s actions, it was MY perception of them that were causing stress. Similarly, as Shaun and I have gotten back to work, I’ve realized that our stress is not directly because of what the baby is doing, it’s often because of what we wish was happening differently. Notice: is the other person really the cause of your distress or could it be your reaction to the situation?

Lesson 2: The beauty of not being able to do something every day.

I am someone that LOVES to create daily habits. 3 times per week, 5 times per week…no. I want to meditate every day. I want to move my body every day. And so I often create habits that are daily-able. I meditate for 10 minutes. I have a 15 minute sequence I do in the morning. Anything extra is just bonus. 

This works really well for me. There’s no negotiation with myself about if I should roll out my yoga mat or not. It just happens. But perhaps, like me, you’ve seen how doing something every day can also make it feel more like a chore than a gift. 

And as Theo has come into our lives, my usual way of doing things has had to change. My time is a lot more limited and a lot more subject to the wims of someone who cries when he burps too loud (whether the crying is because the burp is uncomfortable or loud is unclear – he hasn’t told me yet). 

I was looking out at the sunrise with him one morning, thinking about  the things I wish he and I could do together “every day” but that probably weren’t going to happen every day. I had an epiphany on the subject: if it’s not a given that we do an activity every day, perhaps the days we do get to do it become a gift. The afternoon walk with him in the baby carrier – a gift. Saluting the sunrise and saying hi to all people and birds – a gift. Me getting to sit for my formal meditation practice – a gift. It’s not something I have to do. It’s something I choose to do. I’m changing my mind from showing my commitment by doing something every day to showing my commitment by being grateful and present each time I do it.

Lesson 3: Set yourself up to win early in the day.<

I went into labor on a Wednesday night, had the baby on a Friday morning, and got home from the hospital on Sunday afternoon, incredibly sleep deprived and a little bewildered at everything that had occurred. But within a few days, probably right after waving out the window at all the people and birds with Theo, I found myself on my yoga mat, Theo next to me on a blanket. 

I wasn’t doing my normal yoga routine. There was no down dog or warrior pose. I think that first day I used a lacrosse ball to roll out my hands and feet and clasped my hands behind my back to open up my chest and stretch my shoulders. That was it. But it sparked me to remember how much I appreciate my morning routine. So I kept going. My lemon/apple cider vinegar concoction came next, followed by a little journaling (note: this all took a lot longer than it sounds because I breastfed, burped, etc in the process). But the next day…it happened again. And it happened again. And it became really clear that if I eat my breakfast, do 12 min of stretching, and 5 min of journaling…I am good for the rest of the day. I’ve done my duty. I’ve set myself up for success. 

With a new baby, it’s simultaneously humble and audacious. And it’s exactly what I need.

So the question for you is: what’s your non-negotiable? When it really comes down to it…if you had only 30 minutes each day for yourself…what would you do with it? I learned from Brian Johnson the power of naming what is most important to you and then doing it as early as you can in the day. Before you get caught up in all of the to-dos, interruptions, and nice-to-haves, what are the must haves? If you can identify those things and then build them into your day, there’s a really good chance that you’re going to have more good days than bad days.

 

I would invite you to think of your most important actions in energy (your personal health/wellness), work (or service), and love (any and all relationships). Can you name something that’s important for you to do in those three areas and then do them as early as possible?

 

These are just some of the things I’ve been thinking about since bringing Theo into the world. I am so excited to be back with you all, and I appreciate your patience as I’ve been out for a few months. I’d love to hear what’s new with you and how you’re doing. Reflect (and share with me if you’d like!) your favorite moment of 2019 and what you’re most excited for in 2020.

For me….

My favorite moment of 2019: Theo smiling at me for the first time! 

Most excited for in 2020: I dream of an 8-hour stretch of sleep! 

 

Thanks so much for being a part of our community! It’s great to be back.

 

  Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,   samantha attard sig

 

 

 

 

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