Life feels so different around our house these days.

Bottles, diapers, wipes and cute hair bows are everywhere. We are up every morning usually at 3 am.

Though the days feel long, we can't but smile at the face of our daughter who loves music, laughing and naps beside her Daddy on the weekends.

(For those of you who followed  our infertility journey I want you to know that these dear moments with her have been worth ALL the wait. Life is really so sweet with her in it. I'm so glad we kept holding out hope.)

As a new parent, you learn very quickly that EVERYONE wants to give you advice and comment on your choices. When we first brought baby girl home, I felt like I heard a broken record of statements like this:

I don't imagine you'll travel much anymore (and so far not true: we've been on 8 flights, going on 9 this week! with her already on 2 train rides!)

I guess you'll just stay at home and keep her all the time now, Elizabeth (and so far not true: in this post I told you recently some of things I've been up to as well as being her caregiver).

Say goodbye to movies and date nights (and so far not true: I think you make time for what's important to you and we've seen movies and gone out to dinner alone since baby girl entered our lives).

In these comments, I felt beat down for even entertaining a life that still felt like mine. 

But my friend Rebekah said it best. She told me early on, "Don't listen to the critics. You and Kevin will find a path that works for you."

And she was so wise!

So what I want to claim about parenthood: each of us make the journey your own. 

I am not going to parent like you. You are not going to parent like me. But, we've ALL each get to find the balance works for us when it comes to feeding, bedtimes, childcare, you name it! And in living like this, we teach our little ones what it's like to be authentic. We teach them how to show up for their lives too.

I sat in my spiritual director's office a couple weeks ago and she asked me, "How is parenthood going?" I told her what was on my mind for that day and then she replied, "It sounds like you are being you."

And to me this is the best compliment anyone could give me.

I believe we don't need to loose our identity or passions for life when we become parents. 

My daughter needs to see me participating the things and visiting the people that bring me joy.

My daughter needs to see me rest.

My daughter needs to see me lean into the support from others-- like babysitters.

This year, I'm so glad that I was able to connect with a new friend via Twitter, Hilary, the founder of a movement for parents called the New Mystique. Over at her website, Hilary writes about re-defining parenthood in this way.

Giving yourself grace.

Making the choices that work for you and your family.

Tuning into your heart as much as you try to tune into the hearts of your kids.

Check out her Community Manifesto to learn more. If you have interest in showing up for your own life as mother, she can be a great guide.

No matter if you have children or not, let us keep encouraging each other to show up for our own lives and to not loose ourselves in caregiving.

Hear me say beloveds: you are worth it! Keep finding YOU no matter who comes in your household.

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