How to eat an Elephant

*This post was written about six months ago as a “brain dump” journal entry. It helped me to sort out how I was feeling, to clear my head of the endless “I can’t forget to…!” I didn’t intend to share it simply because I didn’t think others would find value in it. I changed my mind. I would love to hear if you relate to any of this or if it inspires you in some way!

 

One of many terrible bathroom selfies: Dry Mama didn’t get on my case about these until a few months later!

Nest or rest? Well into my second trimester, I have lots of motivation to do everything that I can to prepare for Baby 2 as well as the energy to do it—until I don’t. Have you ever seen a puppy (or a toddler) play and romp, romp and play, until they just fall over and take a nap? I can relate.

I’ve had a lot of reminders that I need to rest (if I were a student in my first grade class, my clip would be moved down to the orange level of our behavior chart for sure) and they haven’t just come from my mother. A recent homily on the importance of quiet and rest felt a little too personal, the book I recently read dedicated a whole chapter to what it means to slow down. And my mother—yes, she’s been on my case, too.

I know I need to rest, for both myself and for this sweet baby, but I also know that in a few weeks I’ll be even more tired. And just a little while after that I’m going to be FOR REAL TIRED. Now is the time to prepare.

Preparation (and making lots of lists) is how I deal with anxiety. Or one of the ways. I have been able to manage the prenatal anxiety that crept back with this pregnancy much better than I did the last time, primarily because I recognized it for what it was. I didn’t realize the depth of my anxiety during my pregnancy with Little Darcy until I experienced a pregnancy without it. Or with less, at least.

LD had ZERO interest in most toys from about 18-22 months: heavy work and gross motor all the way!

Having had a baby, I have a (slightly) better idea of what we’re in for in the next six months—and this time we’ll be caring for a newborn AND a toddler. An energetic toddler.  An energetic toddler who loves to climb.

(There’s an irritating voice in my head that keeps saying things like, stop whining about two babies. Your friend has twins the same age as Little Darcy and she’s due a week after you. Your life is going to be easy compared to hers. How many moms do you know with three-four-five-six kids? I hate this voice. I’m going to refer it to this post and say enough comparing.)

All of this—the preparation, the pregnancy, the unknown days ahead—is overwhelming sometimes. Until I remember how you eat an elephant: one bite at a time.

A friend used that quote in a recent LipSense training video and it struck a chord. Later that night, I read an article in O Magazine that suggested “chunking” a seemingly impossible task into tiny to-dos. 

It’s the same idea as “taking things one step at a time” but much less annoying, somehow. Hearing this idea twice felt like a sign, like those coconuts I wrote about. Oh, and did I mention our nursery space was elephant-themed?

Elephant tasks:

  • Our marriage—mentally preparing for the sheer work of having a newborn baby, finding time (and energy) to maintain and grow our relationship
  • Little Darcy—teaching him independent habits, trying to explain what is going to happen, preparing for the difficult adjustment on his behalf (plus, potty training?!)
  • School—creating sub plans “just in case”? Finding balance?
  • Ugly Honest—where am I going with this blog?
  • (Minima)Lips side hustle—taking the time my family needs after the baby comes without damaging the business I’ve just begun to build
  • Household—creating physical space for another family member, prepping food, cleaning everything, digging out baby stuff
  • Hospital plan—what will we do differently? Should we limit visitors?
  • Me and PPD—need to make a plan for self-care, as well as a safety net for detecting it if it returns

Looking at each piece, written down, makes me feel calmer. Yes, it’s more than one big elephant (more like a small herd), but there are steps I can take and things I can do. Small tasks mixed with moments of rest. And thank God I don’t have to do all of this by myself.

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