I was cleaning out my drafts folder and found a few posts that I never got around to finishing. I started writing this one back in June when Mr. O was just 15 weeks old.
Mr. O has been on the outside for 15 weeks and here are a few things that I've learned. I hope this doesn't come across as complaining or whining because it's really not how I intend for it to sound. Mostly it's stuff I 'knew' before but now that it's a reality it can be challenging. Especially as a single parent.
For me the absolute hardest part of adjusting to motherhood has been the fact that my needs do not come first. I can no longer pee, shower, brush my teeth, eat a meal, complete household chores or spend time reading, gaming, watching tv or reading blogs whenever I feel like it. All of those things are put off and crammed in to those little moments when baby isn't demanding some kind of attention. Even when the baby is happily playing on his mat or napping you just never know when they are going to start crying for you. It could be 3 minutes or it could be an hour so it's hard to start more involved tasks because you just never know when you'll need to stop what you're doing. I asked for this and I'm not the least bit resentful it's just that the reality takes a bit getting used to. We're still finding our rhythm over here but I have found that the more organized I am the easier it is to eek out some moments for myself.
Be prepared! Repack the diaper bag when you return home from an outing instead of when you are already rushing to get out the door. If you have to be somewhere the next day get everything you're going to need together the night before. I've found that this simple step has increased my chances of actually being able to take a shower.
Eating! Some of these nursing sessions can last hours and hours (ok, I'm exaggerating... a little) so I make sure I stock some easy to grab snacks near the nursing chair. I also try to pack up leftovers in single serve portions so that I'm not wasting precious moments wandering through the cabinets wondering what I can eat.
Take advantage of extra hands! Ask for help! Friends and family want to help but unless you tell them what you need they won't know how. If you feel weird asking friends to do housekeeping stuff ask them to hold the baby so you can shower, nap or put laundry in the dryer.
and now at 37 weeks....
What struck me rereading what I wrote is how many times I talked about showering. It was a rare thing in the early days. It was also a really intense time. It was a good day if I managed to get one non baby thing done. Mr. O is 8 months old now and thankfully it has gotten easier to find time to bathe! I've always been a be prepared for every scenario type of gal so for me the only way I've been able to survive this parenting solo thing is by being organized and planning ahead.
What stategies work for you?