What an intense summer! Adjusting to becoming a family four has been so much more difficult than I imagined. Even typing that just now, I felt almost forced to add: “but so rewarding!” - and it has been, but in the interest of full transparency, I don’t want anyone to see the highlight reel and think that any of this has been a walk in the park (although there have been MANY walks in parks).
I struggled immensely in the weeks following the birth of my son. Asking for help was difficult. Not having enough help was difficult. Bonding was difficult. Recovering from a second cesarean section was difficult. Being home with two children for most of the day was difficult. The constant and often ridiculous worry was difficult. The lack of sleep was (IS) difficult.
Does that mean I love my children any less? Absolutely not. Does that mean I am not eternally and completely grateful for my two beautiful blessings? Absolutely not.
I just felt like I would have been more prepared for number two, but in all the ways I was prepared, there were so many other things that blindsided me: particularly my toddler’s immediate jealousy (which has thankfully mostly calmed to quiet acceptance and even some brotherly love) and how I would feel sad for him not understanding that now there was another who needed mommy just as much, if not more.
So, looking back over the past five months and what were the most helpful things I did to help myself through the initial
postpartum period and adjust to life with a toddler and an infant?
1. LEARN TO BE OK WITH THE MESSINESS OF IT ALL
I’ll be the first to admit - I hate mess. I clean my floors (mopping AND vacuuming) daily because I can’t stand even the tiniest bit of dirt under my feet in the house. I make my bed every day. I Marie Kondo my dresser drawers. My closet is organized by color. Having children? Expect the mess to be constant. Literally as I’m picking up a toy, another is being dropped. Acceptance here is key. It’s not going to last forever, and the laundry can wait. Better yet, let hubbs do it. (I do.) And remember, the mess isn’t always physical. Sometimes, we have to let each minute of the day be what it is instead of what we wanted it to be.
2. ASK FOR HELP (AND DON’T FEEL GUILTY)
One of my biggest struggles was trying to ask for help. I felt guilty about it…like there were all these things I should be capable of doing and I just wasn’t. There is nothing wrong with letting your support people know how you are struggling and let them know that you need them. It doesn’t make you any less of a great parent. You don’t have to do it all. You just have to survive because that’s exactly what the first several months are: survival.
3. TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
I cannot stress this one enough. TAKE THE TIME. Whether it’s a walk, a nap, reading, working out - whatever you are into - remember that you still exist as a whole person outside of your children and that person deserves to have some time to themselves. Set boundaries for disturbances and embrace that hour just for you. I would not have kept it together if it weren’t for my daily workouts in the gym. Just leaving the house alone and driving there felt like a vacation some days. I feel absolutely wonderful when I’m working out. Earbuds in. World tuned out. Stress relieved. Endorphins pumped. It helps me to see some of my physical appearance starting to return after birth - for me, that is incredibly motivating and it makes me want to keep going and not give up. It’s ok to have personal goals and take the time and the steps to reach them. A happy mama is a good mama.
You’ve got this! What are some of your favorite tips for adjusting to life with baby(ies)? Leave me a comment!
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Hi! I'm Nugget. I am wife to my awesome husband, Fran, and mama to our toddler son, Remington. We also have another baby on the way (due very soon!) and our pup, Fiona. I am body positive fitness instructor, teacher, and health/wellness advocate. I believe in the potential of EVERY body to be happy and healthy.