On August 4, 2012, my definition of family changed. Newly married, my family became me, my husband and one particularly ornery cat. We worked to re-establish our daily routines as we learned each other’s habits and quirks. Our staggered steps turned into a beautiful dance and eventually I couldn’t remember what life was like before it was “us.” This was a precious, but fleeting moment in our lives as my definition of family soon changed…again.
On May 11, 2013, I held my baby boy in my arms for the first time. For most of the world, nothing had really changed. But for me, nothing would ever be the same. I mean that truly in all aspects of life. I’m not too proud to admit that parenthood was (and is) like being stripped of everything normal and familiar and launched into a new world where all the skills I had relied upon to be successful up until this point became completely irrelevant. Those first few months, I felt just as lost and overwhelmed as a newborn – oh the irony in that!
This new, little family struggled to again establish our beautiful dance around one another. Just when we overcame one hurdle (yay, he’s sleeping through the night), another popped up in its place (what child cuts fourth teeth at once). With every milestone, we established a “new normal.” Date nights turned into Friday evenings spent at the park, romantic dinners were brought home in a takeout box and bedtime was rarely after 8:30pm – for anyone in the house.
As a creature of habit, I loved every routine we have had as a family – because it was familiar and it was ours. It was never too long until we again had to pivot into a new normal. Travel schedules, illnesses, moving into a new home and changing seasons all brought about necessary change to which we adjusted.
And another big adjustment is right around the corner…
In no more than a few weeks (I’d like to think a few days), we will welcome another bundle of joy into our home and our routine. Our new normal will shift again…substantially. I waver between moments of excitement for this change in our lives and moments where I question our sanity for opting into another momentous challenge. Our family’s current routine is nice. It’s safe and it’s predictable. We have established a pretty beautiful dance – yes, a dance that includes meltdowns, potty training and comprise, but a beautiful dance indeed.
Luckily life gives us a nine months heads up that such a change is about to happen. Not many other circumstances in life afford us such preparation, nor do they promise such joy. As I struggle to fit as much as I can into every day leading up to the birth of our second son, I have found that life has a wonderful, and at times, frustrating way of slowing us down to absorb what we might otherwise miss.
The past few weekends, our little family has enjoyed more undivided time together than I can recall in recent history. I captured a picture that will forever define our current normal – as it is right now, but will never be again. As much as I never want to leave this moment, life has taught me again and again that the new normal that lies ahead is the best one yet.
Whether you are a new or veteran parent, can you relate to the ongoing struggle of adjusting to the “new normal?” Share a personal story or piece of wisdom!
10 thoughts on “Parenthood: Adjusting to the Ever-Changing “New Normal””
GREAT article and congratulations.Having 5 little ones muyself, and working out of my home office,it is a balancing act. But even though at times it may seem like a circus act,it a great chance very few people have. So soak it up. By the way, I worked along side your Dad for several years, implementing solutions at the state capital.It is great to follow your writings, and will look forward to more. Curtis MillerVMware Technical Account Manager(717) 333-0378
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 2016 12:03:03 +0000 To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for such an uplifting comment, Curtis! Such a small world that you worked with my dad. He still works in the Harrisburg area quite a bit and would be happy to hear you remember him.
Excellent perspective and so happy for you. Wishing you so much luck with your growing family. So if I do no hear from you for a few months I will know why!!! Love the photo too. So perfect!
Thank you, LInda! Yes, we will be enjoying some downtown together as we establish our “new normal” but I look forward to easing back into things as well.
Oh, Stephanie, what a great post! You are absolutely correct, and above all, enjoy this beautiful “dance”!! xoxo
Thank you, Elaine! In the midst of the challenging moments, it can be hard to see the “beauty” in the dance, but I know I will cherish these moments 🙂
Enjoy your new normal. You will be more relaxed with baby #2 because you will know what to expect. They will grow to be best buddies!
What a fabulous post, Stephanie, and congrats on your growing family. I love your attitude and wish you a wonderful start to this new chapter in your story…