A few people have kindly messaged me on Instagram recently to ask how I’m doing with everything. To be honest, over the last few weeks, I’ve felt really guilty for having such a hard time. We have a new baby, so we were going to be home most of the time anyway! I think, or I’m on maternity leave, so at least I don’t have to worry about work right now! Always, though, those thoughts are followed up by a sinking feeling of Then why does this feel almost impossible?!
While we were still in the hospital after Azelie’s birth, Dave and I made a note on his phone called “survival mode,” listing out the things we temporarily did or didn’t want to do to help us through the coming months (I shared a few here). It feels dramatic to call what we’re in “survival mode” now, when so many people are in real life-or-death situations, but I will say that this is undoubtedly the most intense season of life I’ve ever experienced. Between trying to help Charlie adjust to both a baby sister and a flipped-upside-down routine (or lack thereof), nursing around the clock, balancing the needs of two kids for the first time 24/7, healing from childbirth, and feeling all the anxiety and fear of the pandemic…it’s just a lot.
But in the midst of it all, here’s something I realized in prayer the other day: I want to refuse to let anything steal the joy of this season. We don’t get to redo Azelie’s newborn days, and the last thing I want to do is wish them away, quarantine or not. I’m sad that so many moments of her first spring will look different than I had hoped, but if I don’t make the best of it, I’ll always regret it. In this difficult time, God has given us an opportunity to break out of identity boxes we’ve created for ourselves (for me, that I’m not a creative parent), release things we’ve made into idols (childcare!), and laser-focus on what really matters (the three people living under this roof with me). His grace is sufficient, His mercies are new every morning. Let’s try, even (especially) when it’s the hardest, to hold tight to the joy He will surely reveal if we let Him.
On that note, here are a few things I’ve found joy in lately :)
Show to binge-watch: We LOVED The English Game, a new Netflix original miniseries by the creator of Downton Abbey about the origins of soccer in 19th century England. It’s only six episodes long, and I’m sad that it went so quickly! Such fascinating, multi-dimensional characters and a great story. Highly recommend.
Beauty product: For the first week stuck at home, I took the entire week off from wearing makeup–something I don’t think I’ve ever done! Since then, I’ve been doing a minimal, three-step routine with all clean products: tinted moisturizer with SPF, brow gel, and mascara. (Just a heads up, the first two products are from Beautycounter. Their 10% off sitewide sale ends today, so it’s a good time to pick up anything you may have your eye on over there!)
Instagram account: Every pregnant and postpartum mama should follow @sollybaby right now. The founder, Elle, is also a life coach, so it’s no surprise that she’s been sharing the most beautiful wisdom, encouragement, and actionable advice. I’ve been brought almost to tears by affirming posts like this and this.
Polished pajamas: I have felt my very best recently when wearing this Lake Pajamas set (pictured above) I picked up during their sale. I have a few of Lake’s super-soft pima cotton sets, but I actually think I like this collared option even more–it’s crisp without being too stiff, and looks effortlessly chic. I think the top would look really cute styled with high-waisted jeans for daytime too!
Resource for kids activities: The minute school was canceled, I started digging through the archives of The Mama Notes for activity ideas. I really like her homemade play-doh recipe, and Charlie has been a fan of these play-doh mats (we took Caitlin’s advice and “laminated” them with contact paper to make them reusable).
Prayer: I’ve been reaching for the Litany of Trust by the Sisters of Life daily–I can practically feel stress melting away as I say it. Download the text here.
Recipe: Pantry staple black beans + long-lasting sweet potatoes + tortillas from the freezer + guacamole (we get it in single-serving cups to extend its fridge life) = our easy twist on these sweet potato tacos, which made for the perfect meatless quarantine dinner.
Your turn! I’m eager to hear what you’re loving in any of the categories above. Please do share below!