I have been a mom for five years now. I had my oldest, Emma, in November and then sixteen months later brought home our second daughter, Abigail. I lived with two under two years old for 8 full months. Let me tell you. It was hard. My oldest was clingy and jealous and all about Momma. While trying to breastfeed my second daughter, Emma would scream at me. Eventually she got over it, but that season of life was exhausting.
Two years later, we brought home our third baby. Emma (oldest) and Wells ( youngest) are a few months shy of four years apart. For those months, I had three children under the age of four.
I feel as though I am out of the weeds of newborn life and have gained some good tips and tricks for how to thrive ( I mean... survive...) those newborn and transition phases with multiple kids:
You have SO many needs in front of you. The newborn, the toddler, the husband, you, the dishes, dinner, showering, brushing your teeth, buying groceries, cleaning the house...... basically all the things are vying for your attention. You must prioritize. It just will not all get done. I am a list maker, so making a list at the beginning of the day to help me prioritize what I need to do and the glorious satisfaction of crossing things off as I do them helps keep me motivated.
2- Baby Wearing
Seriously, anyyyyy sort of babywearing is a win in my book. They love being close to mama and you will love having a hand or two free to do other things. ( as if you need any more reasons, you can check out the post by a good friend of mine on The Benefits of BabyWearing)
3- Set a Mental Timer
This one was probably my favorite. I actually gleaned this tip from someone who had twins, but I used it all the time for my kiddos. When you are in a tough spot, both kids crying, massive blowout while trying to get dinner on the table, toddler throws up all over their bed in the middle of the night.... whatever it may be. Take a second, look at the clock, actually note the time. Give yourself a ten to fifteen minute goal. "This crappy situation will be resolved by 3:50pm" and then put your head down and GET ERR DONE. Seriously, you will lift your head after working hard for ten minutes, you acknowledge that the no fun situation has resolved and you can go on your day. It really helped my mental game in parenting.
4- Leave the Dishes
Leave them. Not everything will get done. It just will not. We cannot all be super mom all day every day. Leave a job for your husband, or frankly, leave it until the morning. Leave whatever your mental health will allow you to. ( if the dirty dishes give you anxiety, then obviously, this tip is not for you.) The dishes were just the one thing my husband was happy to help with once the kids were down for the night.
5- Take a Breath
Pray, meditate, whatever works best for you. If it will give you a hot minute to yourself, do it. Even if that hot minute is in the bathroom with the door locked and the kids banging on the other side of it. They will be fine for one minute and you just take a breath.
6- Communicate with your Spouse
TALK to them. Tell them about your day. Tell them about your thoughts. Tell them about your feelings. You NEED to. Not only for your relationship, but to help them have insight into your day. Some days talking to my husband was the last thing I wanted to do. I wanted to forget the day and just go to bed, but honestly, they cannot help you if they do not know where you are at. My husband was happy to find ways he could help me throughout the day. He checks in with me about an hour before he gets off work. This helps him know what he is coming home to. Is it a good day? a great day? A day where he needs to bring takeout home? A day where he needs to know I am locking myself in the bathroom when he walks in the door? Communicating has not only helped our marriage, but helped us parent the kids together and divide and conquer.
I already feel as though some of those newborn/ transition days are a fog deep in my memory, and yet some days it seems so fresh and new as the day I brought each of them home. I hope these tips help you as much as they did me.
Tell me, any other tips that helped you transition with a newborn when you had little ones??