Surviving with Two
Today marks the four week and two day anniversary of becoming a parent for the second time — it also marks the four week anniversary of coming home to the chaos that is now my life. (I’ve now changed that sentence more than four times, always to add to the time.) As all my boys are sleeping I can’t help but recognize how lucky I am, blessed most would say, yet the difficulty in seeing this is very real at times. As I sit here typing I definitely remember a moment this morning and many moments through the last weeks where I have felt like an on demand milk machine and cleaning/cooking machine. My mom tribe is real and an aspect of my life I am oh so thankful for.
- I have my lactation/baby specialist Amy — she’s got all the answers or knows where to get them when it comes to feeding and caring for my new addition.
- My older kid relief Carissa— from picking him up at 2 am so I could go have a baby to grabbing him so I can go grocery shopping she is a life saver. She’s my library buddy, my park buddy, my general outings person.
- My meal buddy Sadie—alternating cooking duties is more than a good idea it’s a mechanism for survival and when she’s not doing that she’s promising to go to the mall or out for ice cream with my kid. It’s a perk that she lives right across the street so I can just knock on her door.
- My mom who has all the answers—literally, having six kids makes you an expert on the whole baby thing.
- My Amber—she made a 4 hour drive each way to see my baby and hold him, she brought him onesies and had my first glass of wine with me. She is my rock at the most difficult times.
- My therapist Kristynn—she might be halfway across the country but she most definitely answers the phone when it rings, even if she’s at lunch with her husband and son and listens to me vent all my frustrations about life.
- Most of all my husband – he deals with the crazy that is me with lack of sleep, gives our baby J all the attention I am failing horribly at giving him, makes sure I have eaten, and has even given up his family for the last week and the next two so that they can visit with my family. He is patient, he is kind, he drives me up a wall, but he is my flavor of crazy, he is my brand of nonsense, and my kind of irresponsible. I don’t think I could love him anymore than I do.
These are the people who make it possible to be my best self, they are the people I vent to, the people who pretend to understand my crazy, the people who make sure I survive. They are my first line of defense against the outside world and they are the people I trust with the well-being of my family.They remind me that it doesn’t matter how messy my house is, how much laundry is piled up in the laundry room, or how empty my fridge is, what’s important is that I take a minute and enjoy it.
Whether it’s sneaking in a cuddle with my boys, showering, squeezing into a pair of my pre-baby jeans, or enjoying that ice cream I’ve been thinking about all day I have to take a second out of stacking dishes into the dishwasher, mopping the floors, and folding all the laundry to remember I am a human being. If you’re a new mom there are a couple of things you need to remember
- You are enough.
- You do enough. You just either pushed a human out of you or had all your insides on a table, you get to relax for a minute.
- You are doing a good job, it’s probably hard to hear when everything looks like you haven’t touched it in days but you really are: if your kids are fed, your sheets are poo free, and you can kind of see the floor under all the toys and laundry you are kicking butt.
- You need to take care of yourself: you need food and liquids, you need to shower, and you need to probably take the time to paint your toenails so you can stop staring at them in disgust. Go ahead ask your significant other, your best friend, that neighbor that keeps pestering you about play dates, or someone in your family to watch the kid (whether at your home or theirs) and take the time to make those things happen.
- Pro tip grab some breakfast bars, nut and chocolate bars, chewy bars or whatever you like to eat the next time you are at the grocery store — these will help you get yourself motivated enough to cook something or will allow you to have some kind of nutrition when you just can’t fathom cooking.
- You need help. Even if you think you’ve got it, it’s important to ask for help. Everyone has been there. Traversing the grocery store with a toddler is bad enough, doing it alone with a toddler and a newborn is not going to be any better. Ask someone to watch one of them or to come along with you for moral support, I promise it’s worth it.
- Your baby is going to cry: it’s what babies do. I know it’s hard to listen to and I’m not saying to let him/her cry for very long but let them try to work it out. A whimper may just be the cost of him/her moving into a more comfortable position, a grunt maybe him/her working on a poo for you – give your baby a minute to resolve his/her own issue before rushing into the room and scooping him/her up this will keep you from constantly holding and soothing your baby and ensures that your baby starts learning how to soothe him/herself.
- If something doesn’t look right / feel right call your doctor. They are used to it – if your stitch burns, your baby is a weird color, or you can’t use the bathroom you need to call your doctor.
- Remember to appreciate your older child and spouse. It’s a change for everyone and so making time to spend with your older child is important so that he/she does not feel left out. Your spouse needs attention too – I know the new addition to your family.
- Take a minute to be yourself, that means something different to everyone, for me it means taking a minute to type this post, for others it might mean watching a movie, reading a book, making a phone call, or any combination or variation of those things. Just be you – don’t lose that identity.