The quote that came to mind for this series was “the day before your whole life changes is like any other day”. Isn’t that so true? You have no idea that in 24 hours your entire world is going to be different, but it is.
Yes, of course in this situation you know the day before you have a baby that soon you will have a baby. BUT, if you are a first time parent you have NO IDEA what that is going to mean to you and your life as you know it!! Even if it’s not your first, you’ve never quite been in this situation before (you’ve never had two kids or three, etc).
I’ve Been There:
Before I had my son (9 years ago) I had it ALL together. Not a thing out of place in my house, schedule, or in my attire. And I was naive enough to think I wouldn’t miss a beat once my bundle of joy arrived. HA! From the start I had a whole plan of how my hospital stay was going to go, the soothing music to be played while I labored through the pains, the pretty nightgown I’d wear when family visited the hospital, and I even had a planner called something like “Your Organized Pregnancy” to keep me on track. I know you moms out there are laughing right along with me now, aren’t you?! Well, in short NONE of that happened; 22 hours of miserable labor led me to an emergency c-section, and there was NO (I repeat NO) soothing music that would get me through that pain.
You can see where this is going, and I could go on and on about toddler-hood stories where I continued to be disillusioned! Like trying to organize toys by type all while my little guy was working tirelessly against me to undo my clever systems. I just had no idea, and wish someone would have told me that this particular situation can throw even the most organized person for a loop! Regardless of your particular experience of bringing new life into the world, I can tell you this… you can’t always be prepared, despite your best efforts. But the good news is, eventually, you learn.
- Plan as much as you can, but know you can’t plan for everything. Let yourself off the hook and recognize there is a learning curve (and that’s ok)! So plan for what you can and “roll with” what you can’t
- set up a sitter for one afternoon each week so you can run errands or treat yourself
- make meals ahead and make use of your crock-pot
- use your bank’s on-line bill payment service to automate bill paying
- plan a 15 minute quick clean up before nap and bed time
- Accept help… a lot of help. As independent as you are, it will be a godsend when:
- someone prepares a dinner for your family,
- runs an errand on your behalf,
- or helps around the house (let ‘grandma’ fold the laundry or do the dishes… she’ll be happy to help; remember she’s been there and understands what you’re going through.)
- Recognize ages & stages… don’t expect more than what is typical for your child’s age. This is especially good to remember when implementing chores and organizing systems. In the beginning simply tossing all of the toys into a pretty basket is all the organizing you need. As your child’s understanding and abilities grow, so can your organizing systems and routines. (Click on the “Kids & Family” Category to the right, then scroll through pages of my articles related to getting the kiddos organized!)
- Sometimes good enough is good enough. I hate to say lower your expectations, but you should definitely have revised realistic expectations. You will no longer have as much time, energy, or focus to complete tasks as you once did. This goes for anything from housework to relationships! Of course before I had a baby my house was cleaner and I was free to visit with friends more often… but a baby changes all of that and your expectations should change too.
- The days are long, but the years are short. When life gets hard, the house is a mess, the baby is crying, and you’re wondering how you’ll do it all again tomorrow… take a deep breath and remember that this too shall pass. Before you know it the baby will be crawling, then walking, then off to school, and then good grief can I get a hug at the bus stop please (answer: doubtful mom)!
I Conquered That:
After learning those lessons the hard way I found my “groove”… I hesitate to say balance, because that implies everything received equal attention, and that’s not the case. More so I recognized priorities; the important things (mainly my amazing little kiddo) got the majority of my love, attention, and time… and the rest, well it either got planned in between or simply let go (some forever and some temporarily). Thankfully, life has a way of showing you what’s important if you are open enough to recognize it.