Saturday, September 12, 2020

Choosing a Life That's Not Instagrammable

I remember a Saturday two years ago, in the slightly cooling days of September. I was baking quiche in preparation for our newborn's Baptism and reception the next day, I was caring for a toddler who had just been diagnosed with hand, foot, and mouth disease the night before, and our house was a disaster. Oh, and I was contacting all people we had invited to the Baptism, so they could know that our highly contagious toddler would be present. I was a little exhausted and overwhelmed by it all. 

That afternoon, I stood in the kitchen, surrounded by pie crust and baking pans. My husband was attending a Vigil Mass (so that he could watch the Contagious Toddler while I attended Mass the next day), so I was with the kids, alone, making food and trying not to stress about the absolute mess that our house was in. 

As I sit next to my sleeping newborn, and as I look forward to her Baptism tomorrow, I think about how things have changed since that crazy Saturday. I hear the clothes washer running, since my husband just put in a load of dirty diapers. I can, miraculously, see most of our stained living room rug, since my mother-in-law organized most of the kids' toys a few days ago. Rather than rushing around, frantically trying to organize a large gathering after our baby's Baptism tomorrow, I've been watching episodes of Psych while nursing and snuggling the newborn. 

A phrase that I've heard a few different people use lately is "return to normalcy." We're still in a pandemic, but different businesses and groups are slowly trying to operate in some capacity, with precautions in place. As life begins to drift into the semblance of a "new normal," I find myself thinking about what pandemic life has taught me so far. Repeatedly, I ponder how these past several months have encouraged me to embrace what really matters. 

We don't know what tomorrow, next week, or next month will look like-so it's vital that I focus on trusting God and cultivating a life that peacefully and joyfully celebrates the things that are important. I've found myself looking at social media less as I seek to plunge into the rich life that I'm pursuing. As I've done this, I'm starting to realize how much I've sought (even unconsciously) to live my life in a way that could be "instagrammable." I've been realizing how much of life I've spent pridefully boosting my image in front of others, in-person or online. 

These past several months--and indeed, the past three weeks of life with a newborn--have been showing me that instead of posturing and trying to create a life that looks magnificent, it's much better to invest in those things that truly matter, even if they don't look like a glossy, inspiring, shareable image. 

I feel like I've hit a 2020 milestone, now that 
I have my "Covid-19 testing" selfie.
(thankfully, we all tested negative)

Instead of leaping back into the fray of blogging, writing, and my different creative projects, I've been taking postpartum life slowly. I've spent time reading, watching The Importance of Being Earnest (it was delightful), and playing game after game of Setters of Catan with my husband and his family. I've eaten delicious food, gotten much more sleep than I anticipated, and I'm coming to see the peace and joy of giving myself time and space to rest and recharge. 

"What really matters" has become a bit of a deciding factor for life, as I choose where to place my time and energy. I've even thought about this in regards to my daughter's Baptism. We only have a handful of people who will be at the Baptism and reception, and we're keeping things very low-key. While I would love to do a large gathering (like we did for our second child), keeping things small is good, too. I'm thinking a lot more about graces, and less about numbers. Practically speaking, it is very nice that I'm not spending today organizing refreshments for dozens of people, but instead am relaxing with the expectation that we'll put out a few snacks tomorrow and simply enjoy visiting with our relatives and sniffing the baby's head (because a newly-Baptized baby smells wonderful).  

This postpartum life may not look polished, magnificent, or productive, but it's been a beautiful gift from God. 

Baby girl hit three weeks old a few days ago! 
She already seems to have lost her "newborn" look to me,
because she looks older and is so much more alert now.


  1. I did the huge party for my first and baby and I slept through most of it. I still like to have a party because celebrating a sacrament is awesome, but keeping it low key lets me notice the special moments m7ch better.

    1. Yes, it is nice to celebrate the awesomeness of the sacraments! Hopefully your firstborn's party was fun, even if you missed a lot of it. I think you make a great point about how keeping things low key lets you see those special moments-I'm guessing that is particularly applicable in the immediate postpartum, when we can be especially exhausted!

  2. Glad you are enjoying the slowness of this newborn seasons. I took the time after Glenn was born slowly, and I enjoyed those days. So much has changed this year and there is so much I miss (children are still not allowed to go to church here, so...that's sad)...but some of the slowness I do enjoy. I love family time.