I used to write for a neat website called Modern Parent. I focused on topics related to frugality and natural living, and I figured it’d be nice to have everything in one space. I’ll be posting my articles here every now and again, since my column there is no more. This one was written when the twins were around two months old…
Get it clean right away. Babies are actually pretty easy & boring during the first week or two. They eat and poop and sleep and repeat it all over again every couple of hours. However, this is usually when everyone else has the most energy and motivation to help. So when people ask what they can do, put ’em to work! The Saturday morning after the sisters were born, Chris & the big boys vacuumed the entire house and dusted every surface visible to the naked eye. We’d already tackled the bathrooms during my nesting frenzy a few days before the girls arrived. So by the end of that Saturday, our house was spotless. When visitors came, I didn’t stress about a dirty house. While I sat on the couch breastfeeding for hours on end, I didn’t notice all of the areas that needed cleaning. It was glorious. And to be honest, I think we’ve only cleaned the house that thoroughly one time since. It’s been weeks and weeks. The babies are more alert now, and having three under two is definitely hard work. It takes several hands to get through the day, and vacuuming has dropped to the bottom of the to-do list. So that’s why I’m thankful we started off the newborn phase with such a neat home!
Primp & polish. I don’t think I wore makeup for over a month after the twins were born. My hair was almost always in a ponytail (usually with crunchy ends, thanks to spit-up). However, I made sure to pluck my eyebrows weekly. I found some fun & fancy moisturizer, and I used it often. I needed to remind myself that I was still a woman, not the milk-zombie I felt I’d become. I took long showers, and I often wore a robe my mom had bought me just for the postpartum period. Whatever it is that makes you feel feminine, do it! You’ll be surprised at how much time you really do have at the beginning. Granted, it might be in short chunks, few and far between. But you will have quiet time. Use it on yourself. And if sleeping when the baby sleeps isn’t your style, don’t do it. Just embrace this stage, and work it however you can!
Leave your phone. I’m much more tempted to call home and check on the kids when I have my phone right in front of me. It’s only natural. So when I left for my recent hair appointment (see above), I used my iPhone to “share a contact” with my husband. Once I confirmed that he had the address and phone number of the salon, I told him I was leaving my phone in the car. He would be able to contact me in case of emergency, but I wouldn’t have access to what he & the kids were doing each and every minute. And that’s okay. He is their father. He is just as capable as I am, and I deserve an hour or two without having to worry about my family. I never did this when Ames was born, and I think I suffered for it. I became a martyr. So this time, I’m sharing the load and I encourage you to do the same. Share the worry. Share the responsibility. Every now and again, zone out with a magazine or some headphones (or a hairstylist) for awhile!
What about you? Any tips on how new moms can maintain some dignity & sanity during those early weeks?