Spoiler Alert: They’ve been the best 10 months of my life.
On Striving for Balance: I’ve been a lifelong perfectionist. Now, my motto is something like: good enough will have to be good enough. Make sure Sophia eats her fruits and vegetables, but also let her eat cake at the birthday party. Give her ample time to crawl around each day and take her for a walk 5 days a week, but don’t stress if it doesn’t always happen. This is easier said than done, and the hardest months since Sophia’s birth have been the ones where I haven’t given myself grace. But I’m committed to working at it, because I don’t want Sophia to later feel that she doesn’t measure up to the ridiculously high standards that I’ve set.
On How It’s Changed My Marriage: Sophia’s birth has united Carlos and I in a way I wasn’t expecting. We have learned how to communicate better by trying to talk about frustrations or conflicts as soon as they arise, rather than letting bitterness fester. Now more than ever, I feel like we’re on the same team. We both do different things to make the household run smoothly, but they are equally important. Carlos never has to worry about Sophia having food to eat; I take care of that. And I never have to worry about there being diapers at home, because Carlos buys them at a place near his job. Oh, and then there’s watching Carlos be a dad to Sophia and how hard he can make her laugh and I’m reminded that I would never want to go back to life A.S. (antes de Sophia).
On Time Management: The amount of things I get done in a day these days amazes me. A.S., I maybe did a third or a fourth of the the things I do now, but many days I feel like I have more free time than I did before, too. It’s bizarre. I guess I know I can’t piddle around, because there’s always a chance Sophia can wake up early from her nap, or take a long time eating lunch that day, etc., so I blow through things on my to-do list and am often surprised that I have time leftover to use however I like. On the other hand, there are plenty of days where I spend too long piddling around in the morning and forget how long it takes to get out the door with a baby, and then I feel “behind” all day.
On Mothering in a Foreign Country: If I had a penny for every time I was asked if Sophia was cold, I would be a rich woman. It doesn’t matter if Sophia is sweating, if she is covered in blankets, if she wearing her heaviest winter coat, or if it’s sunny and 90 degrees outside. I will still be asked, “No tiene frio?” I try to respond politely and then roll my eyes about it later when I’m alone. I’ve found that people have extremely differing opinions about baby care and mothering even within the same culture. I will never be able to make everyone happy, so it’s best to just do what Carlos and I think is best and let the haters hate.
On Exercise and Postpartum Body Image: Right now all I’m doing is walking with Sophia in the stroller and stretching or yoga routines during her naps, with the 30-minute goal, 5 days a week. I kind of wanted to see how my body would “bounce back” naturally by eating a mostly healthy diet for the first year of Sophia’s life and not putting pressure on myself to do any intense workouts or ab exercises. My stomach has, for lack of a better word, deflated a lot, and most of my old clothes fit (even if they don’t all look good). I think after Sophia turns one, I’ll be ready for more intense workouts. With that being said, sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever have the courage to wear a bathing suit in public again. But good enough will have to be good enough, I remind myself.
On Having a Constant Companion: I see Sophia more than anyone else in my life. I do spend a few hours without her every week, teaching and sometimes working at coffee shops (like I am now), but she goes almost everywhere with me. And she makes it all more fun: trips to the grocery store, the park, car rides, meals, downtime at home, baths. I know in a few years she’ll start school and won’t be with me as much, so I’m trying to soak up every day that I have with her.