I think that one of the things we completely underestimate is just how demanding a newborn can be. Of course, it comes with guilt having to actually admit it, but we don’t speak nearly enough about how life changes after welcoming a baby, especially in those first few weeks. No matter whether it’s your first child or your third, there’s always an adjustment period where you have to remember to find some time for you, your relationship and everything else that needs to get done.
I used to love when people would tell me, “sleep when the baby sleeps.” Uhm, that’s a cool idea and all, but I also need to eat and maybe even try to bath, for the first time in about a week! Truth is, there is no easy way to find time, but with a little tweaking here and there, you might just find a few spare moments to brush your teeth.
Firstly, accept that in those first few weeks it is going to be rough. Don’t be confused when life doesn’t look like a cut-out from your pregnancy magazines. Everyone needs to get used to having a new human in the house, you have to adjust to your new role and with your hormones all over the place, life can and will sometimes feel overwhelming.
No one expects you to be Wonderwoman, and they especially don’t expect a gourmet meal every night! Leading up to your due date, start preparing meals to freeze so that when baby comes along, hubby can just pop a frozen meal into the oven and serve everyone a homely meal. Better yet, instead of the usual baby shower set up, get your friends to help cook and freeze meals in bulk, in anticipation for baby’s arrival.
Be sure to do a good stock up of the essentials like cleaning products, nappies, wet wipes, (Pampers, of course) toiletries and dry foods. That way, you don’t have to worry about whether you’ll be running out anytime soon. If, like me, you get anxiety from visiting the store while you’re pregnant, be sure to take advantage of online stores like Woolies, Pick n Pay, Clicks, and Dis-Chem.
Set up debit orders so that you aren’t left in the dark when you accidentally forget to pay the electricity bill! The last thing you want to have to worry about is money and paying accounts (especially with over-tired mommy brain) so try and have everything set up so that it does it automatically for you!
Create a shared Google Calendar that syncs with both you and your hubby’s phones to alert you of events and special tasks. Obviously, you’d like to avoid forgetting to pick up your eldest from his sports games, or sometimes just need hubby to pick up pizza or milk on his way home from work, so put it on the calendar and that way you’ll feel more on top of things and less likely to forget the important things.
Let family help! I know, I know, you love the smell of newborn but nobody loves the smell of sour milk and by day 3, you’ve started looking a little like baby poop. Ask grannies, grandpas, hubby, sisters, brothers and friends – anyone who you trust – to come over and watch baby for a little bit, while you take some time to shower, maybe even shave your legs, make something warm to eat, enjoy a cup of tea and savor the moments where you have two hands to actually eat! Don’t feel guilty for not sitting with them and entertaining guests, rather use the time that they are visiting, to sneak away and have a nap while they enjoy the cuddles from your newborn.
Do yourself a favour and go to the hairdresser before baby arrives. You won’t want to do it for awhile or at least until you’ve mastered your new role, so go now, while you have the chance! Heck, while you’re at it, book yourself in for a manicure, or facial too! Just remember to avoid foot massages, self-tans and hair dyes during pregnancy.
Don’t freak out when things are hectic or overwhelming, take a breath, leave the room, make some tea, find the thing that calms you and use it. Remember that everything else can wait and that you and baby are the priority, so what if the washing piles up? Pop into your local dry cleaners. Dishes aren’t washed? Everybody can wash their plate or cup as they need it. Dinner burnt? I am sure that if it is really THAT bad, a peanut butter sandwich will suffice. At the end of the day, this too shall pass just like everything else, and very soon you will find your groove.