Thursday, February 13, 2014

New Mama Survival Tips

As I sit down to write this, I am experiencing one of the great triumphs of motherhood: overlapping nap time. Two kids, in two beds, one mama, with two free hands. At times like this, I reflect on the fact that my days staying home with my babies are a series of decisions. They're both napping? What to tackle first? Or should I lay down too? Planning a trip to the library - morning or afternoon? When will the baby need to eat next? What can I accomplish before that? Today I decided to blog. My topic is one I've also been mulling over lately - little things that make my days as a new mom of two go a bit smoother. If you're an expecting or new mother yourself, I hope a few of these resonate with you as well!

Make the most of your moments. Being a mom, no matter how many children you have, is basically a giant juggling act. Housework, childcare, perhaps your job outside the home, meal prep, relationship management - it's enough to overwhelm anyone quickly. But there are always moments in your day that you can take advantage of in order to stay afloat. If one of your kids sleeps longer than the other in the morning, use those moments to dress and prepare the other for the day. If both your kids sleep longer than you, throw a ticker tape parade! No, don't! That would wake them. This occasionally happens in my house and I use those moments to wash my face, grab a bowl of cereal and get dressed. Perhaps the baby's content in the bouncer or swing and your other child is engrossed in PBS - load those dishes in the dishwasher or throw a load of laundry in. These types of things only take a few moments, but accomplishing several of them throughout the day makes a huge difference!

Think ahead. Just when I had figured out how to get out the door in a timely fashion with one kid, we went and had another. Getting two of them ready to leave the house is a whole new ballgame. Anything, anything you can do in advance is to your advantage. I keep the diaper bag packed with diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, and my wallet, and just before leaving throw in anything else I might need - my phone, a nursing cover, the K'Tan wrap, etc. Anything you can put in the car the night before you're planning to go somewhere is a huge help (because chances are if you wait until you're trying to leave, you will forget it). When I head back to work, I make a habit of packing daycare bags and lunches the night before so they're ready to grab in the morning. Is it fun making PB&J at 9 pm? Nope, but it's a lot more fun than trying to explain to my boss why my sorry butt is never at work on time.

Don't neglect yourself. Listen, I know how easy it is to let the day slide by without taking a shower or eating something nutrious. And people feel perfectly free to tell you how normal this is. But dude, even something as simple as a hot shower can totally change your outlook on the day. Take - no, make - some time for yourself. This life is not all about your kids. You have needs and rights too, so exercise them. My time is usually after they are both in bed. I take a long hot shower and afterwards, Hubs and I usually eat dessert and debrief the day. He has also been known to watch The Bachelor with me ;-)

Moisturize. Nowhere will all those sleep-interupted nights show up faster than on your face. I'm not saying you need to do your whole make-up routine everyday (heck, I sure don't! To impress who? The UPS man?), but make a point to slap some moisturizer on your face on a daily basis. I made this a priority about a week after Cole was born when I looked in the bathroom mirror and realized I resembled an inmate. Seriously, moisturize.

Freeze your food. I didn't do any freezer meal prep when I had Jake, so I didn't know what a complete lifesaver it is until recently. I froze somewhere between 15 and 20 meals at the end of my pregnancy and they have saved dinnertime in our house lately. Cole's fussy time of day is right around the dinner hour, so being able to simply throw a complete meal in the oven or dump it in the crockpot in the morning is amazing. I plan to continue freezing meals through the remainder of my maternity leave for when I go back to work.

When all else fails, put on a clean pair of underwear and call it a day. Sometimes you have one of those days where nothing goes right, the kids are crabby, no one naps, the baby's been through five outfits by noon, your husband is running late, and you realize you forgot to defrost the meal you were supposed to put in the oven that night. That's ok. But the clean undies really are a must.

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