Monday, July 02, 2012
Balancing Life After Baby
When I was pregnant I had big dreams of the day that I would stay home with baby all day. I would have time to have the house perfectly cleaned, a hot dinner on the table when my husband walked through the door (while looking fabulous of course), finish all those crafts that I now have pinned on Pinterest and still have plenty of time to spare! I mean, I’d have all day…right?
Almost a year later I look back at that dream and have to laugh at myself a bit. I’m lucky if my house looks clean ten minutes after I clean it and dinner is usually a little-lot on the late side anymore. I may find an hour to myself throughout the week while Henry is napping to do some crafting, blogging, reading, and all the other things that I used to enjoy on an almost daily basis and as far as looking good goes - it may be last on my ‘to do’ list.
If there’s anything I’ve learned about life after baby it’s that the majority of time you have way more on your to-do list than what you have time for! At first I just tried to do it all anyway. I would get up before baby to try and get things done, work through his naps and then stay up after he went to sleep at night as a last ditch effort to finish those last few things that I didn’t get done throughout the day. What did this leave me?
Exhausted to start. But I also felt uncared for and quite honestly - depressed. In the hopes to be this perfect housewife and mother, I had forgotten completely to take care of myself.
It took a complete breakdown one day for me to realize just how crazy it was to expect so much of myself. I had to reprioritize my life. I sat down one day and thought ‘What is it that REALLY matters?’
I came up with something like this:
#1- My son should have a happy, healthy life. This includes his right to freely move around the majority of our house without me constantly worrying that he’s getting into something he shouldn’t be or making a huge mess I’m going to have to clean up over and over. We baby-proofed to the nines. Bring it on, little one!
#2- My husband should come home from work to a stress free home. As in - I won’t nag my husband the minute he walks in the door to both watch the baby so I can get things done and do the things that I know he will eventually get done on his own. Bickering and nagging never makes a marriage fun.
#3- Dinner is important. Even if I get nothing else done all day, I strive to make sure that the three of us can sit down and have dinner together without it being a last ditch effort or a whining fest that someone’s hungry but we don’t know what to fix. It gives us a time to connect and talk and it’s something to look forward to every single evening.
#4- It’s okay to do it tomorrow, especially if it means keeping your sanity in tack. For the longest time I was always telling my friends “I can’t” because I had x, y and z to finish at the house. This left me lonely and frustrated because spending all day everyday keeping house and taking care of a baby will eventually drive you insane if you don’t get out every now and then. If I go out today and leave it until tomorrow, that’s totally okay!
#5- Routine is a must! If I know everyday that my son will take a nap at 10:30 then I know everyday that I’ll be able to accomplish quite a bit or even relax by myself for a good while at that time. It makes scrubbing up oatmeal all over the floor at 8 a.m. much easier if I know I’m going to get a break a little while later. It also makes for a happier baby!
#6- Don’t forget yourself! Right now the laundry needs folded and put away, the dishes need done and I have a to-do list a mile long BUT I enjoy writing so I’m taking a break and writing instead. Momma needs her alone time (and a large glass of wine). Seriously.
#7- Nothing is ever going to be perfect! Who cares if there’s toys strewn all over the room (Don’t mind the mess, the kids are making memories!) or if you have to ‘live off the pile’ for a few days as we call it. Life is what you make it and if you spend every single day stressing about whether or not things are perfect, you’ll drive yourself crazy. Find what is important to YOU! If you keep what is REALLY important at the top of your list, the rest will fall into place.
What kind of things did you find helped with the flow of things after you had a baby?