This year, I’m welcoming January in a very, very pregnant state. My little one is due early in the year and as excited as I am to soon be holding my little bundle of joy, I’m also a bit anxious about what that means my year will look like.
You see, normally, I’m a pretty goal-oriented person. January is actually my favorite month of the year because it is such an apparent fresh start. I make lists, set goals, and methodically work through them month by month. It’s how I “taught” myself to read 100 books a year and run a half marathon. Elephant size goals, one bite at a time.
But this year I’m already telling myself that things will be different. With a new baby arriving in just a few weeks, I’m officially dubbing this year the year of postpartum recovery. No elaborate goals, no record-breaking milestones. Just survival.
So, forget a week in bed or merely taking it easy during the 4th trimester—instead, I’m planning to give myself an entire year to settle into my new season of motherhood. Yes, you read that right: all of 2021. In 2022 I will emerge, hopefully more rested, more appreciative, and more in sync with myself and my family. My year of postpartum recovery will be slow and sacred. I will heal from the inside out. I will embrace the extra months of postpartum recovery as well-earned days to accept a slower pace.
These things don’t just happen though. Even a year committed to postpartum recovery needs a little outlining, a little “do this, skip that.” Here’s what I have in mind for making sure 2021 is my year to relax and recover:
I’m Serving Simple Meals Only
This year there will be no Pinterest meals, no experimenting, and no themed spreads for the holidays. We will eat, of course, but it will be limited to simple meals like grilled cheese, oven-ready lasagna, breakfast for dinner (bring on the scrambled eggs and pancakes!), and similar, easy options.
I’m Hiring Official House Help
I’ve always felt like it is a huge splurge to hire a housecleaner, but for one year, I’m budgeting official house help. Keeping up on daily dishes and near daily laundry is plenty for me to manage while I recover. Bathrooms and the kitchen deep clean are best delegated to others.
I’m Scaling Back Schoolwork
Like many parents, virtual schooling/homeschooling has become one of my latest endeavors. In no way do I plan to forgo my older kids’ education, but I do plan to scale back some. During my postpartum season, we’re going to make daily math and language arts a focus and then allow valuable life skills like cooking, baby care, and home maintenance to fill the rest of our days.
We’ll Only Take Essential Outings
It is so easy to let the calendar fill up with good things like educational outings, appointments, and errands, but this year it is my goal to be home as much as possible. Slow neighborhood walks, grocery pick-up, and days spent reading picture books in bed before family naptime will fill our days instead.
We’ll Make More Everyday Memories
While most everything else comes to a halt, I do want to take this year to make more everyday memories. Just those little snapshots of things I would otherwise forget in the hustle and bustle of being busy. I want to take pictures of my baby’s toes, write down the funny things my preschooler says, and find magic in the mundane. This kind of documentation will be so good for my soul when I look back and think “I did nothing.” Instead, I’ll have evidence of all the little, perfect moments that transpired.
In 2021, I’m committing to doing less so my mind and body can heal more from birth and all that comes with welcoming a new baby. It won’t be easy to slow down and come the end of my official fourth trimester, I know I’ll be aching to create a to-do list and once again feel like I’m my “old self.”
But I’ve learned that with the addition of each new baby, I inevitably become someone new. There is no going back to who I was. So, here’s to my year of postpartum recovery—and becoming the new mom I am meant to be.
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