Willow should be making her grand entrance into the world in a few short weeks. If she decides to come when both of her sisters did then I have about two weeks tops – so crazy! And that has really gotten me to thinking about how I am going to juggle three kiddos by myself when Dustin is at work. Going from zero to one child was difficult because I was a new mom, one to two was simple because we knew what to do….. but two to three? Eek. And so here is a guest post that offers a bit of insight.
TIPS FOR BUSY NEW MOMS
A baby certainly changes everything, as every new mother discovers within hours of bringing the newest family member home. The normal household routine is completely transformed, as the center of the home is now the infant. New parents often feel overwhelmed, but a few tried-and-true tips used by other parents can help you navigate the first few months of “family plus one”.
It is okay to delegate… New moms, especially first-time moms, often want to appear competent and so try to “do it all” themselves. This often leaves them feeling exhausted, unhappy, and conflicted when the baby demands attention and they have to drop what they’re doing. Unfinished projects pile up, increasing the stress level. Call that friend who offered to help and ask for that hour of babysitting or for her to pick up a few things at the store. Feel free to delegate to outsiders as well; consider cleaning services, laundry or diaper services, or handyman services as a means of reducing stress and increasing the time spent with baby.
It is okay to re-prioritize… Even the most organized moms find their schedules dramatically change once the baby is home. Baby may have her nights and days backward, or he may be a colicky baby. Flexibility is the key with a new baby; re-prioritize what simply must be done, and move the “should do” items to lower on the list. Put the laundry in whenever the baby will sleep; the baby will snooze right through the sound of the washer after just a time or two. And remember that as the baby grows, priorities will need to shift again. What works for a newborn is very different from what a crawler or toddler requires.
It is okay to drop it all and spend time with your baby… Babies don’t understand to-do lists,going to work, or the fact that mom really, really needs a nap. Even if there’s a list of things to do a mile long, when baby needs mom’s full attention, give it to her. Turn the heat off under the meal or stop the vacuum. Even before a baby can speak, he or she learns about kindness, empathy, and what it means to be loved when his or her parents recognize the “teachable moments” in the baby’s life and fill them with meaning. There are no do-overs for these moments in life, so take full advantage of them.
It is okay to carve out some “me” time… Many new moms feel they left their brains back at the hospital; they can’t seem to remember a thing, and the tasks that once seemed effortless are now right up there with climbing Mt. Everest. Part of this is the disruption of the normal routine and part is likely sleep deprivation, along with the hormonal changes that accompany the post-partum period. Keep something enjoyable handy: a book, a DVD, a drawing pad, or some music and relax with it for five or ten minutes. Lower stress levels help memory, attitude, and your interaction with your new baby.