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!

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Comments 9 comments

VirginiaLynne profile image

VirginiaLynne 5 years ago from United States

I'm a mom of 5 and had many years of 2-3 preschoolers--so I very much relate! I remember when my husband left for work the day I'd come home with our third child (after having a tubal the day before--I was 41 and our other two are adopted)--I didn't know if I could make it through the day! But I did. I spent a lot of days without a shower though--so good for you for trying to get that in! Now my youngest is 7 and the oldest is 16. I've enjoyed them at every age! Welcome back to writing. Wish I'd had hubpages back then.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy. What a sweet picture of the three kids. I had my son just 18 months after my daughter and those days were a blur. My daughter was great and I had lots of help but there still didn't seem to be enough of me to go around. I think it is nature with boys and their eating. My son was a nonstop eater and I felt like I was just a feeding machine! He is still a Mamas boy! Glad to have you back to writing, even if it is just for a fleeting moment here and there! As much as I loved those days, for all of their problems and fun, I love where I'm at as a Mom today!


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

Congratulation to your new born baby. I have been there although it was a very long time ago. I still remember how it was having a little sleep because of my baby. Always needed a rest and sleep and I was still adjusting at that time about the German culture. Everything was new that one day I collapsed. So, my advice to you is: whenever you get time take a nap. Housework can wait. Have a happy family weekend. Thanks for sharing.


frugalfamily profile image

frugalfamily 5 years ago from Houston, TX

Ashlea, you are impressive! I went "one more time" for the boy and got twins! My boy and girl were number 3 and 4 for me. You are not alone, but it doesn't mean you are a whiner either. I am impressed that you found a way to write a hub:) I adore the pictures of your little ones but I can't help but notice they aren't so little...its time mommy takes "picking up toys" and "loading the dishwasher" off of her list and just supervise wilst nursing. Your girls are at an age where helping is "fun" and you can use it! Just be aware that they don't have the experieince you do and the end result might not be perfect..work on that next year:)


Ashlea B profile image

Ashlea B 5 years ago Author

Thanks for the comments and congrats! A community of mothers relating to each other can be fun.


Ashlea B profile image

Ashlea B 5 years ago Author

@frugalfamily... my girls do like help, but the help isn't always helpful or ends up taking longer than if i did it. ;o) but, you're right, they need to learn. my oldest is growing in that area. i'm not sure about the whole dishwasher thing yet (although they both "help" with it at times while i'm doing unloading... but many dishes are up high and out of their reach or glass). i'm not interested in them tackling dirty dishes at this age. mess! definitely cleaning up toys, though. sometimes they both help clean up toys and sometimes i just wait until they are napping or sleeping and do a quick clean-up b/c it just feels easier (even though i know i need to make them more). my 2-year-old loves to help but is a bit limited in what she can do. both girls like to do little chores like getting things for me (baby blanket, burp rag, the phone) while i'm nursing. i can see my 4-year-old becoming more and more capable and doing more and more in the year or so to come.


Ashlea B profile image

Ashlea B 5 years ago Author

thelma--- i take naps when i'm feeling totally exhausted and the kids are all cooperating. today, i napped! yea!!!

cardelean-- that's funny. boys must have hearty appetites! my little guy always seems hungry and it shows in his super chubby cheeks.

virginia-- i am very fortunate that my husband works from home. we try not to bother him, though. BUT, it's still a help. when the baby is sleeping, i'll either turn on a little show for the girls (to keep them still and out of trouble) or take them upstairs with me (safety locks on everything i don't want my 2-year-old in) and keep an ear out. still, i know if all hell breaks loose, my husband can back me up (unless he's on a conference call... then, it's just a bit messier). hehe.


Melovy profile image

Melovy 5 years ago from UK

Congratulations on your new baby. The pictures are cute. It’s great that you have such support from your husband. Someone once told me that in China the mother does nothing other than look after her baby for the first month. I don’t know if this is true, but it would be a great thing for new mothers!


nancynurse profile image

nancynurse 4 years ago from Southeast USA

This is great advice and well written. You have used humor and honesty. I had twins when my firstborn was 3 . Wish I had some of your tips then!!!!

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