Confessions of a Tired Mom: Adjusting to Life with a Newborn
I'm a new mom... again. Just one month ago, we added our third child to the mix. Two girls and now a boy.
Having a first child can feel overwhelming because it's a drastic life change, a step into the journey of parenting you have yet to ever explore. You go from being an adult that largely follows your own desires to a parent that gives all your time, energy, thoughts, and emotions primarily to a very tiny human being in desperate need of your care.
Having your second or better yet your third (or more) adds further layers of complexity. You have two or three little ones to attend to now-- you know, with all your spare time. With one you have the option to sleep or get a few things done when they sleep. With three, you sleep when they ALL sleep. Sounds tricky? Well, often it is. Especially when your newborn hasn't figured out his sleep cycle at all.
I'm fairly certain that sleep deprivation is the main reason why the days blur and the productivity level wanes. It's not depression, it's exhaustion. And finding the desire to do much more than a few basics can be difficult to muster up.
At this point, I find that all I really care to accomlish in a day is...
- Sleep! I mean if you can get a few extra ZZZZZZ's embrace them.
- Feed the baby. Over and over again. My son was born at a whopping 9lb 7oz, and he's serious about nursing.
- Feed the family. Our meals have been simpler than usual, but if we can all have satisfied stomachs to relieve the crankies, that's my goal. And chocolate. I rarely keep sweets in our house, but lately, we welcome any visitors into our cupboard containing SUGAR. We try to make up for our lack of sleep with comfort foods like sugar and, in my husband's case, caffeine. I realize these food choices may be counterproductive, but don't judge. We're not at our best.
- Maintain basic hygiene in the family. If I can make sure baths are taken on a regular basis, dirty clothes are exchanged for clean ones at some point each day, and teeth and hair are brushed twice daily, I'm doing good. Maybe even GREAT.
- Making my children feel loved. Balancing my attention to meet the emotional needs of three little ones ages four and under is perhaps my greatest balancing act thus far. While nursing my baby boy, I'm known to read books, play games, answer questions and direct toy hunts with his older sisters. I can have three little bodies sitting on top of me or pressed up against me in the space of one chair or a three foot radius. They all tend to gravitate into my space. I have a 4-year-old who never stops talking and constantly expects me to listen, a 2-year-old who has a knack for mischief and still needs lots of assistance, plus a 1 month old who loves to be held by his Momma and of course nurse. All three thrive on snuggles.
I'm sure there's more to my day than this, but these are my top priorities. Oh, sure there are things I could care less about that require attention at some point most days, like...
- Picking up toys that smother my floors.
- Cleaning up dishes. (Though I've noticed I'm much more content with them in the sink instead of the dishwasher than I ever have been before.)
- Doing Laundry. (Nothing like the lack of undies for the family members or poo stains on the babies clothes to force my hand. )
Then come things I would like to do each day; those things that make you feel adult or productive. For weeks, I found I didn't care about writing, reading, connecting with loved ones- all the extras. My tolerance for dirt and piles of clutter increased depending on how much sleep my newborn allowed me. I just wanted to get through each day with my top priorities met. I'm seeing glimpses of my own return to normalcy. I desire to write, but I rarely have found the time. I am starting to grab a book to read while my son nurses, but more often than not I have two little girls demanding my attention leaving me with a page or two read in the course of 20 minutes. Lately, I've been tackling little clutter piles at the rate of about one every day or two. But, I find I haven't been able to keep them from accruing faster than I clean them up. Oh, well. Someday.
My days often leave me wondering where they went. Been there? I hope I'm not the only Mom.
This is a phase in life with many endearing and exhausting Mother moments. This is the time to find a new normal, a new pace, and new way of balancing life. In the meantime we're maintaining, surviving, and loving the each other... tired or not.
So, new Mommies everywhere... am I alone or can you relate? Please share!
More by this Author
Paint can transform the look of your home for a low cost. Here you can see the results that painting cabinetry, paneling, cement, and brick can bring. Plus you'll find basic tips for these specific painting jobs.
This article provides practical tips for training a toddler to sleep in a bed instead of crib. This includes helpful transitional tips and more importantly ideas for the process of keeping them in bed and establishing...
Here's your top ten gifts to give to a mother that's just had a baby. What does a new mom really hope for or NEED? When giving a gift to new parents it's important to zero in on what truly matters during this most...