For almost two decades of my life, if you have followed my journey, I have always felt I was going against the grain, resisting the current. Then 2020 happened. And suddenly, the tide has turned in my favor. I can just… flow.
It’s like something in the world shifted in 2020, and all of a sudden, I find an alignment of professional work and ministry, motherhood and career, wife and work partner — it’s like everything made sense when it once did not. But also just before the pandemic, in 2019, I was almost prophetically forced into a sabbatical that set me up for 2020.
To sum up our 2020 in three words: Rest, Restoration, Realignment. I’d like to think it’s mostly because of an unconventional year like 2020 i.e. right up my alley (?) that my first year of being a new mom was a pleasant surprise. Quite like my experience with my pregnancy and #shortestlaborever).
And so we can enter 2021 with the mantra to live wholesomely, and fearlessly so.
Yet truth is, we have no idea what we were doing — and we have no reference (I mean, raise your hand if you have prior experience of having a baby in a pandemic?) but we also had gone into 2020 with the mantra of “we are all just figuring out as we go!” where I wrote this down on January 1, 2020:
“[T]he attitude of Rest is the bedrock of my motherhood season. It’s the attitude of doing it messy, and it’s okay. Slowing down to smell the roses in the midst of chaos, but keeping the speed of doing it all and taking the family along with a Godly grit and not a human hustle. Raising the baby is on the agenda for me in 2020 — so is starting my Masters … scaling eight parables into the creative agency I had envisioned a decade ago”
While I envisioned setting ourselves up to wholesome living, but boy was 2020 every bit of “messy” and “chaos” ha. As first time parents, living in a city without family support (I did line up some postpartum doula support but, Covid), but I suppose we were ‘ready’ for 2020 whatever it throws at us.
Rest is a posture, an attitude. (One that can determine your altitude.)
We just believe rest is everything to be best for each other and for our baby. Maise was born on February 10, 2020. Exactly a month later, most of US was summoned into shutdown, like all of the world, the whole country began coping with mere survival (cues: TP and emptied out supermarkets).
Between investing in postpartum delicious and nutritious food delivery (shout out to Jingmommy) for 6 weeks, Amazon Priming everything, to the husband using all of his PTO to stay home in the first month — then boom, WFH started in the second month of birth, we could not have made that up.
In 2020, we made strategic choices guided by investing in Restedness – body, mind and soul – and often that translates to be being gentle and kind to ourselves even if it did not fit into a conventional approach to parenting or life. I like to think that Rest is the lesson of the year in 2020 for everyone as well.
I watched the world slowed together as I nursed Maise in her first 3 months through the day wearing the same set of PJs — which the whole world would soon join me in all year. I saw borders closed, and thought about how we traveled the heck out of pre-baby days, and which were precious and have no regrets for.
Once Maise turned 3 months, she joined in our Rest by sleeping 12h through the night (I’ll soon do a postpartum post on the tricks we used, though it’s really God’s grace!) I was ready to return to work, and had received a full-time job offer with a large global organization as a producer.
But the world was evolving in rapid speed and still is. I saw working moms were having it tough with the uncertain situation of childcare, and the high cost of it here in the US. If the world is largely not set up for working moms, then a pandemic world is quite impossible for women to parent out of Rest.
It’s not just about why we do what we do, it’s also how we get to do it.
The norm of the world is anything but living or working from a place of Rest. We have to fight for Rest, fight to live wholesomely. So true to my form, I made the ‘abnormal’ decision as a first time mom with a 3-month-old in tow, without anything else lined up, and with a looming recession and potentially headed into a mid-career life crisis…
I walked away from the job offer.
#LiveWholesomely: Hello 2021
Part II: The work-life balance myth