On paper, 2017 was basically perfect. We weren’t rich by any means, but we had enough… and some extra. Our family was healthy, warm, and safe. I gave birth to a beautiful girl, completing our family of four. And we had SO much support those first few weeks after her arrival… Cards, gifts, meals, and prayers. It was incredible.
And really, when you think about it, a mom doesn’t hope for much more than that when she faces a brand new year. Those blessings are huge.
But if I’m to be completely honest, I feel rather glad to say goodbye to these past 12 months and to welcome the fresh slate of a brand new year.
For most of 2017, I was in survival mode. I think that this isn’t a surprise to my long-term blog readers who have been used to me writing predominately positive, blog posts. I definitely had a lot more serious,heart-to-heart style posts this year due to the type of year it was. 😉
I was pregnant for half of it, and – like my pregnancy before – I was very uncomfortable with too much amniotic fluid and a very large baby. Except this time, I was chasing after a toddler who more often resembles a pin ball machine than a little boy. (Gosh, I love him. But he never, ever slows down for a second; and he gets into more trouble than Curious George himself). For a third of the year, I was recovering from a painful C-section. And for several months after that, I struggled with some pretty nasty post-partum depression.
This was a year of no sleep. Of ridiculous, fast-paced busyness. Of toddlers going through emotional, strong-willed stages that left my nerves beyond frazzled. Of feeling like I was parenting alone, because my hard-working husband would leave for work at 6am, only to get home around 9pm. Of date nights that just didn’t happen often enough.
Most days, it was just a lot. Again and again, I had to put my needs aside until I was running on empty.
I almost feel as though I lost myself in 2017. I lost some of the bubbliness and positive spirit that has always been my trademark. I was just tired. And spent. I gave so much of myself ALL the time that I no longer felt like me anymore. I was wife, mother, and keeper of the house.
But Nicole, the woman who faces each day with humor, passion, and joy? She was getting harder to find.
Going into 2017, Nate and I knew that it would be a difficult year mentally. It’s never easy adding a baby into the mix, especially when you’re already raising a mischievous, strong-willed little boy like ours. And as we suspected, we felt as though we were treading water the majority of the time. To be honest, this past year was the toughest on our marriage, because we were SO busy being mom and dad. Between caring for a colicky baby and a needy toddler going through a regression, we just didn’t have energy to pour into our relationship. (And Nate’s working so many odd hours didn’t help either, although we REALLY were grateful that he at least had a job)!
During all of this, I kept reminding myself that this was a phase. And that’s what gave me strength… Knowing that our days would get easier and that – until then – I could get through with the help of coffee and Jesus. (I can’t imagine parenting without faith. Those prayers got me through some pretty rough days).
But little by little, especially over this past month, we have gained some traction. Over the past two weeks in particular, I’m feeling a spark of energy, enthusiasm, and happiness that I haven’t felt in awhile. These past two weeks have given me such hope that we’ve reached the summit and that life will maybe be a little more smooth sailing going forward.
Baby Kaitlyn finally moved to her own room several nights ago and now just wakes up ONCE a night! (You guys, that is SO huge!!!). Brady is slowly getting over the there’s-a-new-baby-in-the-house regression (and getting used to his big-boy bed), which means he has started sleeping through the night again too. I only pump twice a day now and supplement with formula, which has been a tremendous load off my shoulders. Kaitlyn’s allergies have subsided, and I’ve been able to re-introduce foods back into my diet! (Oh, cheese, how I missed you!). And Nate hasn’t had to work as many late nights.
I feel as thought these small (yet huge) victories are already setting us up for a more positive 2018, and my resolutions will be completely focused on that. Finding myself again. More than anything, I want this next year to be a year of mental and physical health. Of investing back into my own life a bit, so that I can be refreshed enough to be the mom and wife I want to be.
I am so grateful for our blessings from 2017, because I know that we had so much to be thankful for. But yes, in many ways, it was a hard year. And I wave goodbye to it with fond memories, but also some relief.
Here’s to a beautiful 2018!
Happy New Year to all of my incredible readers and fellow bloggers!