When You Know You’re About to Leave Your Comfort Zone

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Something I’ve been thinking about more and more as the time gets closer for Baby #2’s arrival is that we are quickly nearing the end of our comfort zone as we currently know it—a comfort zone that’s been solidly in place for around a year, if not more.

With my daughter’s whole first year of life, I don’t think I ever really felt like I was in my comfort zone, at least not when it came to my mothering routine. That first year, it was really all I could do to just hang on, keep us all alive, and try to enjoy as much of the moments as I could, seeing as how I was still working full-time as a teacher then and my life continually seemed to be in upheaval thanks to ever-shifting sleep times and milestones (not to mention my own health issues, which really compounded how hard that first year of motherhood was for me).

It was a beautiful time of my life, too, though—that magical slipping into the new role of Mom, where I learned firsthand of that divine bond that exists between parent and child and of how I was much more capable than I thought I’d be, even though I don’t think you ever really feel “ready” to jump into parenthood (or ready to even add more kids in, as I’m still nervous about adding another kid to the mix since I don’t know how it will be).

But since we’ve been fortunate enough that I could be in a position to quit my full-time job and stay at home, I felt like things have settled down enough (and I’ve had enough time to process things since then and get my health fully back) that I definitely feel like we’ve been enjoying a distinct comfort zone for awhile, now–a comfort zone that comes from knowing that I’m almost guaranteed a full night of sleep every night (at least 8 hours, and it could be a lot more if I got myself to bed earlier), that I know that my day will begin around 7 A.M. and not earlier (unless I choose it to be so), that mealtimes will follow the same pattern on most days with all of us being able to eat breakfast and dinner together every day, that our mornings are for leaving the house and running errands and going on mini adventures and that afternoon naps or quiet time will start around 1:00 or 1:30 and last until around 4.

It has been comfortable here for a long, long time.

And when you’ve been spent a really long time in a certain comfort zone, any change out of that can seem a bit, well, scary. Anxiety-provoking. Nerve-wracking.

It’s made me feel like I need to get ALL the projects done before July (or maybe that’s just how the so-called “nesting” instinct is manifested in me?). It’s made me feel like I need to hit my yearly goal of reading 50 books for the year by the end of June, since I don’t know if I’ll have much time once the baby is here. It’s made me want to plan vacations and go places and run all the errands now because I’m totally used to doing all those things with just one kid (and one who’s a very mellow, very obedient toddler, at that), so I’m trying to take advantage of it.

There’s also the feeling that I know it’s never going to be the same again–that it won’t be just Raven and me, thick as thieves together during the day, going on all our adventures just the two of us and being our own little buddies. I won’t be able to focus all my attention on just her anymore, listening to her wild chatter and fully focusing on just her milestones and planning out my days around her schedule.

Oh, I know it will be wonderful when Baby Boy comes into our family. We are excited for it, and we love him already.

But change is always a little hard and a little scary, even if you’re excited for that change.

The truth is, I don’t know how I’ll handle being a mom of two because I’ve never been a mom of two. I don’t know how my hormones will be after the baby’s birth, which always makes me a bit nervous (because not only do I worry about having baby blues or full-on postpartum depression, but I also worry that they might cause my autoimmune disease to flare up again, like it did last time). Honestly, it’s been so long since I’ve had a newborn and been at all sleep deprived that I don’t know how I’ll handle the sleep deprivation this time around or the constant feedings or the feeling like I’m never clean because I always seem to have milk or spit up or pee/poop on me (or all of the above).

I wonder if I’ll be nervous every time I add another child to the family, or if I’ll eventually reach the point that I’ve just learned to embrace the crazy and the chaos and the unknown and enjoy the ride. (I think I remember multiple women in my family telling me that that seemed to happen to them after they had their third child—once their hands were outnumbered and kids outnumbered parents, it just didn’t seem to be as big of a deal to add in more.)

For now, I’m just trying to take it one day at a time, though that’s hard for me to do when I’m pregnant (and therefore always thinking ahead to that elusive due date). I’m trying to balance fully enjoying this comfort zone–this Family of Three business–while still mindfully maximizing the extra time I have now because I have just one.

I am making a list of house projects to complete (well, mostly for Matt to complete)—built-in bookshelves, wood trim over our front windows, book racks for Raven’s room, finally getting around to actually putting stuff on all the walls.

I am taking Raven to the park and we are going on family walks and we are planning monthly day adventures and we have a vacation (woo hoo!) lined up for mid-May.

I am sorting through bins of newborn boy clothes from my sisters and planning out how we’ll fit the Pack ‘n Play in our bedroom and making lists of things to dig out of storage (infant carseat, bottle warmer, breast pump, nursing clothes).

And through it all, I am very aware of how FULL my life feels at the moment, though I know it’s only about to get fuller.

But you know, full (and fuller) isn’t a bad thing.

In fact, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Even if it does make me nervous sometimes.