10 things I’m thankful for about 2014

Here are 10 things I am thankful for about this year.

  1. I’m thankful for our precious daughter Eva! She is a joy and delight to us every day. I love watching her learn new things as she explores her world. She is such a happy little girl, loves people and also sleeps well most of the time, which is a wonderful blessing.Eva!
  2. I’m thankful for my husband’s perseverance through a difficult year in his job, his unwavering support through pregnancy, watching him love our daughter and for his grace and patience towards me as we have worked through the challenges and changes that parenthood brings together.
  3. I’m thankful for the support of our families here in Sydney. Not everyone gets to enjoy that, and so I really try not to take it for granted. We have loved watching our families embrace our little one, and have also appreciated a few nights off in the last few months, knowing she was in good hands.
  4. I’m thankful for the way that both of us having babies this year has brought my sister and I closer. Although we live about 50 minutes drive away from each other, the wonders of WhatsApp have meant that we’re in pretty regular contact. She has been a great source of support as we have started walking this motherhood journey together.
  5. I’m thankful for new friends in my local community in the same life stage. I have loved getting to know the other women in my mothers group. I know that not every group gels particularly well, but I feel really blessed that ours has, and I hope those relationships continue to grow even as many of us go back to work.
  6. I’m thankful for the support of friends of old too. I have so many dear friends that I can turn to for support, prayer and advice. One of the blessings of the year has been getting together most Wednesdays with some of the girls I went to school with, who also have kids – some a little older, and some the same age as Eva.
  7. I’m thankful for a year of maternity leave from my job which has given me space and time to enjoy this new chapter of motherhood. It is a unique time in both of our lives and I count it a privilege to be spending my days with Eva.
  8. I’m thankful for the opportunity (now that Eva sleeps better during the day) to start doing some sewing. So far I’ve just made some simple little outfits for Eva, and also a pram liner. It’s quite satisfying being able to produce something that she can wear over and over again.
  9. I’m thankful for the ways that being Eva’s mum challenges me personally. Motherhood can be hard and relentless, especially at times when baby won’t sleep or is sick. But it’s also incredibly rewarding and purposeful. It’s very tempting for this task-driven mumma to get so caught up in ticking things off the list each day, that I forget to just stop, and enjoy spending time with my daughter. I’m still learning, and I suspect I always will be.
  10. I’m thankful that amidst all the changes and challenges, God has not changed. Before Eva was born, I posted about the encouragement I found in remembering that God knew what my May, June, July and beyond looked like. He did. I had nothing to be afraid of. I am thankful that though I may struggle daily to be faithful, that doesn’t change the fact that his love is perfect, he is good and he is sovereign over our lives.

What are you thankful for about 2014?

Productivity redefined

One Tuesday afternoon a couple of weeks ago, I was driving home from visiting my sister and her baby. It was quarter to five when I was coming off the Harbour Bridge and I glanced at the tinted glass buildings which surround the freeway. Beyond the glass, a myriad of desks, black-suited people and computers. The same scene on repeat in building after building, floor after floor all around me.

After having worked in an office for the last nine years, I was struck by the fact that I wasn’t sitting at any such desk. Eva, our baby girl, was quietly sleeping in her capsule on the back seat. Looking after her may be a full-time job, but there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing. It’s a privilege to be on maternity leave for 12 months. I’m very thankful for my daughter, very thankful that I get to be a mum and so happy to be in this current season of life.

But I don’t feel thankful all the time. Just that morning I’d been feeling overwhelmed. There seemed to be so many things on my to-do lists. Writing another post on here was one of the items.

I always expected that having a baby would challenge my task-driven tendencies. I love ticking things off my lists. I also knew that looking after a baby would keep me pretty busy, although I didn’t fathom just how much time caring for a baby actually takes. This is not a complaint. I suppose I thought that being home all day most days, that there would still be time in between to do other things. I was wrong. At the moment our little one has a maximum of three short naps a day, so in between having a shower, doing the washing, preparing dinner, there is only the tiniest bit of time on the side. If I’m feeling motivated I can be quite productive in half an hour. I made a muesli slice during one of her naps last week. That was my major accomplishment for the whole day!

I started writing this post four days ago. I’m learning that other things are possible but they just get done slowly. I still write a list each day, and I have an ongoing, long-term list called “Things to do in the little moments” – so that when I do have moments, I don’t get stuck wondering what to do next.

I am gradually trying to redefine ‘productive’. The value of my days can’t be measured by items ticked off a list. Loving Eva – from feeding, cleaning and clothing her to singing, reading books and playing with her is an incredibly worthwhile way to spend my days. I have a precious and unique opportunity to invest in her life. If I get some washing done and dinner on the table, great. But the dreams of sewing things, blog posts and various other creative projects whirling around in my head – well they are on my long-term to-do list – I will do them if I get a chance in the little moments.

And since I don’t have to meet deadlines or account for my days to my employer, some of the questions I probably should be asking at the end of each day are instead – What can I be thankful for today? Have I honoured God with my time? Have I loved and enjoyed my daughter? Served my husband? Invested in relationships with others? For those things will count in the end.