After having 3 babies in a little over 4 years, there are a few things I have realized are absolutely essential to me in the first year of having a new baby. I am not talking gadgets for babies and toys for toddlers. I am talking about those things that make the sleep deprivation and total lack of alone time bearable.
First off for me , of course, is donuts and diet coke! Not those two things specifically but I need some treats for myself and those are my top two picks. I really think that new mothers need to give themselves a period of at least a year before trying to diet. Sometimes I am so tempted to try to lose a few extra pounds while breastfeeding, but than I remember: I am sleeping no longer than 3 hours at a time, I am sustaining a whole other person, and I have a baby and two toddlers clinging to me 95% of my awake time. For this reason I think I very well deserve a donut, or maybe a whole bakers dozen, depending on how tough my day is. Let’s leave the dramatic after baby body reveals to the models, actresses and princess Kates of the world. As for me I will sit here rocking my maternity jeans, long after is socially acceptable and enjoying the little moment of bliss, that my diet coke brings me. Judge me if you must, but caffeine and sugar are some days my greatest of friends.
Another thing that I could not live without is other moms. Whether it is in the nursery at church, over dinner, or online it is so comforting to know that you are not alone in the insanity. Having other moms to reassure you that this too will pass, or to laugh with you and share tips is just so unbelievably valuable. Mom’s that won’t judge you for your yoga pants and slightly dysfunctional house can be a true lifesaver on those rough days. If you don’t have moms in your life – find some. Reach out to them, it can be painfully awkward but it is so worth it. Heck I could use a few more mommy friends in my life- so reach out to me!
One thing I learned this time around is how helpful it is to have a hobby that is something you do, just for you. For me it has been reading and writing, which is one of the reasons I am getting back into blogging again. With my other babies I never really had an outlet. Any time I managed to get a few minutes of me time, I wasted it browsing facebook or zoning out in front of TV, which is fun but totally not fulfilling to me. A lot of time my blogging or reading is done with a baby on my lap, or hooked to the boob, but it is still so enjoyable and I get a total sense of accomplishment. Not to mention blogging is the one thing I do in life, that my kids don’t mess up immediately after!
One thing I encourage you moms to do, and I am trying to be better about it this time around, is to take breaks when you can. It can be exhausting having kids on you 24/7. Take the time to leave the older ones with your husband, or go to Fred Meyer play land and leave them there while you sit in the bakery and have a treat. Take a bath in the evening while your husband has the baby or go for a walk, whatever you enjoy. This is something I have never been good at, for some reason I feel guilty having Julio watch the kids. I am really trying to get over it because he doesn’t mind at all and it is really better for all of us, if I get a little bit of alone time each week. Sometimes an hour long bath with a good book and music playing, so I don’t hear babies crying in the other room, is all I need to refresh me for the week. If you have people in your life willing to keep your kiddos, let them!
Last but not least you need to consider this a year of grace in your life. Extend yourself the same grace you would offer to a mother that came to you, feeling like she was failing. Remind yourself that most days you are doing the best you can. Your home might not be a magazine spread, and you might not look like you stepped off a cover shoot, but you just had a baby! I love the poem that says ” Quiet down cobwebs and dust go to sleep, I am rocking my baby and babies don’t keep”. You will never get this time with your baby back, don’t waste it fretting about what you “Should” be doing. Your baby is nurtured and cared for, your toddlers are fed and loved and this, dear mother, is your calling! So pour yourself an ice cold diet coke, breathe in that new baby smell, close your eyes to the chaos around you and just relax, you are doing just fine!
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