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It’s been a strange experience to say the least. Maternity leave this time around is a very different animal than the first. Since I’ve been writing ahead in order to cover for myself, I’m seeing posts written months ago and receiving a perspective from a mindset I’m outgrowing more by the day. I get copies of the posts that go out, so I read them to see what I was going through at the time I banked them. It’s funny to see how much reversal there’s been and how impossible it is to anticipate how you’ll feel in the hypothetical.

Even as I write these posts, though, knowing they won’t go live for another five months, it’s amusing to see what changes even in the day to day. Having a newborn is being a quick change agent, whereas with my older son, consistency and firmness is key. The duality is exhausting, and if there was much left of my ego before, there’s very little left now. Because you’re pulled in so many other directions, the care of self and urgency of one’s own needs are hugely diminished for the greater good.

It’s not to say it goes unwillingly either. We burn ourselves out in the first few years, knowing that hard work will pay dividends in (hopefully) well-adjusted and well-behaved children. It’s a gamble, but one I’m willing to take. But given the tenuous nature of our lives, there’s not too much time left for definitive documentation of our efforts. Instead, it’s just the pulse of what we’re doing in that moment, and hoping we’re getting it right.

That said, we’re getting there. There are still more good nights than bad, we’re learning so much about what mistakes we made in the past, and the parenting muscle gets a bit stronger this time around. The proof though is in the pudding. At the beginning and end of each day, there’s a renewed sense of energy and purpose, which I can only name as intense nesting.

So I’m focusing on the overall status rather than the minutia of day to day life. And at the moment, I’m feeling we’re all doing pretty great. And together, we are greater than the sum of our whole.