Any mom knows that everything changes after the baby arrives. Whether you are a mom of one or a mom of ten….things change.
With our newest little guy, I found that things changed quite a bit for us. I had a little anxiety about starting up our school work again and balancing it with housework and cooking/baking everything.
After much prayer and tears, I discovered a few things about finding a routine after baby.
1. Ask for help (or at least accept it when it’s offered!).
My husband has reminded me often that I need to accept help. Whether it’s from him or friends or family, I need to stop trying to do it all on my own.
After this delivery, I accepted his help around the house. For several days after I got home, he did everything – baths, food, laundry, cleaning. It was amazing how much more rested I felt this time around. My body healed much more quickly also. I was stunned, honestly. I didn’t have any issues with healing or moodiness after Ethan was born, like I did with most of my other babies.
This time around I accepted offers from friends and neighbors for meals, as well as an offer today from our friends to pull our van up to the front after church. I was with all five kids, without Arthur (due to work), and I hesitated accepting the help because these friends have seven kids. BUT, I’m glad I accepted because with a crabby 18 month old and snowy weather…I don’t know if we would have made it to the parking lot! 🙂
2. Accept the fact that there will be a NEW “normal.”
I struggle with this one after every pregnancy. You’d think I would have learned by now! As much as I love our former routine and how great we were at getting things done and going places…things are very different now. We can still get things done, but the timing has changed. I can’t do all our laundry on Mondays now; I have to spread it out over 6 days of the week. There’s just too many clothes!
And with a baby not yet sleeping through the night, there is no way I can expect my body to function at 5:15 AM like it did before to get up and shower and get things done before the kids are up. I am lucky if my eyes open by 6 AM now! I still force myself to get up and cook us all breakfast, so we can eat together before Arthur leaves for work (we LOVE this time together, and I don’t want to give that up!). Until that baby sleeps a good 8 hours, I have to accept that our new routine is me getting up and cooking breakfast. Showers and former early morning chores are getting bumped to after breakfast or other reasonable times of the day.
Even once the baby sleeps all night, our routine will be different from now on. With seven people, things will evolve into a schedule and routine that keeps us functional (and sane!).
3.Give yourself GRACE.
I am very big on completing my “To Do” lists each day. It drives me nuts to have things carried over to another day. HOWEVER, with a newborn, things don’t always go as planned and my plans don’t always take precedence. 🙂 Even simple chores like dusting get pushed into the next day because baby is fussy or poopy or both, my three-year-old found new places to put sticky tack around the house, or my eighteen-month-old is the ONLY one that discovered I didn’t lock the water dispenser on the fridge door and has decided to change his bath time (and kitchen floor cleaning time) to RIGHT NOW!
Rather than beat myself up over not getting everything done when I think it needs to be done, I am learning to give myself a little grace and accept that there is a lot going on these days. Until we have a more regular routine and baby adjusts to sleeping more and eating a little less often (every two hours is just exhausting!), things are going to be delayed sometimes. As long as we are all clean, fed, and uninjured…that’s a productive day!
4. What works for one doesn’t work for all.
I have tried modeling our routine after what I’ve read on other moms’ blogs. It never works! I can’t use what works for a family with a different set of tasks and different personalities and different people! I need to find what will work for US; I may need to try and fail several times, but we will figure it out. And what I find works for us will probably not be what works for each of you and your families.
5. Remember to cherish these early days!!
I often remind myself I need to slow down and just enjoy the kids. I get carried away with our school work and cleaning and baking that I miss out on some beautiful moments. When did Ethan first smile at me? Couldn’t tell you. And this morning during church I found myself devastated by this. He was smiling at me during the service, and I was trying to think of the first time he caught my eyes and smiled. I know it was recent, but because I was too caught up in getting things done I didn’t pay enough attention to write it down or even sit and enjoy it!
As moms, we often put so much pressure on ourselves to “bounce back” and be as we were before the baby arrived. Like I said above, things will be different going forward, once baby is here. There’s another life to enjoy and to look after. Schedules will have to change. If we can’t ease up and allow the changes, I think we miss out on the joy of it all.
I hope those couple of things can help out any of you that might be in need of some reminders on how life changes after baby. Whether it’s your first baby or your fifth :), life changes…for the better, ultimately…and we have to be willing to adjust and enjoy!
Ok, I’m off to snuggle this baby , who is desperately trying to fall asleep in my arms!