Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Things That Make Me Feel Like Me

When we got Luke our whole lives changed.  We went from dual income no kids, to single income and a kid.  I went from working to staying home.  We went from few responsibilities to a whole new life to care for.  It was a big change and it took me a few months to really find my footing.  Be a Mom but also a wife and just a person with interests and hobbies.

This time around, the jolt of adding a baby was quicker but also much different.  I've been staying home almost 5 years.  Luke and I had a pretty good routine during the week, good habits, we ran errands, did schoolwork, I kept the house clean, and had time for my hobbies, besides just parenting.  We're pretty used to living on one income and giving up a lot of our freedoms, being tied down with a kid and too cheap to pay for a sitter super often.

But, still.  When you go from living your normal, one kid, to adding a baby in a matter of hours, things change.  All of a sudden most of our routines went out the window.   It had been awhile since we had been up with a baby (once, twice) in the middle of the night.  One that needed bottles made, diaper changed, and soothed back to sleep.  That feeling of dread before going to bed, not knowing how the night was going to go.  Are we going to be up for hours in the middle of the night??  Who knows!

The first few days were crazy. Survival was key.  I managed to shower every day, eat 3 meals, and sleep ~7-8 hours a day, even if that came with a few naps during the day.  But we had survived this baby transition before and I was aching for routine, schedule, some sense of normalcy.  With Matt off work the first week we had Sam at home, I was able to get some of that back within days.  And it was amazing how much better I felt, how much more like ME.

These are the things (beyond the necessary eating, sleeping, showering, and drinking enough water) that made me feel like ME again.  Much quicker than I figured it out with baby #1!

1) Reading
I read a lot.  I plan my reading, track my reading, and manage my reading life pretty closely.  Between the day we found out about Sam and the day we brought him home, I read a total of 6 minutes.  In two days.  Normally over a Sunday-Monday I read around 5 hours.  An average of 3 minutes a day might be an all time low in my recent years.  I'm still not back to where I was (I seem to spend more of my quiet time/post bedtime hours cleaning up the house, washing bottles, feeding a baby, and sleeping now...) but I am getting close.  It's my favorite unwind time, how I relax and build back up energy (besides sleeping).  Still getting in some reading time has made a big difference in my mood.

2) Working Out
As of this writing, I have yet to run since bringing Sam home (also not helping: the fact that it's snowed almost every day since and I don't run in cold weather) but within a few days I was back to my morning basement workouts.  I don't drink coffee and working out first thing is how I wake up.  I rarely want to, but I know I'll feel much better for it when I do.  This has meant, usually, getting up before all my boys or getting Matt to do the first morning (post-sunrise) feeding but I feel so much better for it.

3) Reading Books with Luke
I always have a pile of picture books from the library.  I always have a list of more books to put on hold for him (he has his own library card just so I have more holds available, since mine are always maxed out with my books).  Right now, I aim for at least 2 books a day, which isn't always happening but we make it more days than we don't.  He's not always super willing to sit and listen, unless they are Star Wars related, but once he does he enjoys them.  (And I've found letting him hold baby while I read realllllly makes him more likely to sit through more books.) And I enjoy the time with my big kid, even if baby brother is in tow (which he usually is).

4) A Place for Everything
Just weeks after I wrote a whole series about making your house look clean, we broke almost all the rules.  When you come home with a fresh baby who you got with no warning...things just get dumped.  Survival was important, not a clean house.  But then as we adjusted and things got put away.  I feel a small bit of relief every time I put something away or give some new baby item a home.  Everything needed a place (why setting up the pack n play the first night was SO important).  Whether it was making room in Luke's dresser for Sam's clothes, or room in the kitchen cupboard for bottles, or some place to put all the diaper and wipes we've been gifted, once things have a place and are (generally) out of sight, I feel infinitely better.

5) Keeping the House (Somewhat) Clean
If you visited our house within 24 hours of getting home from the hospital you'd have seen it was a disaster.  We had been sorting Legos when Sam was born and had planned to finish on Sunday.  Then we had 45 minutes to pack (and freak out) and picking up the Legos was NOT a priority.  And there they sat, all over the floor, even after we got home with a baby.  Not to mention all the baby stuff we came home with, and all my normal house cleaning I typically do on Mondays (which we spent at the hospital).  But once things settled down (and you better believe cleaning up the Legos was on my massive, immediate to-do list) I went back to my house cleaning schedule and feel so much better for it.  I know I process things better in a clean space.  I get overwhelmed by STUFF so easily and I was overwhelmed enough in those early days, thank you.  I might not be scrubbing the tub quite as well lately but things are getting done, laundry run, dishwasher going, etc.  I take a little bit of joy in a nightly clean-up, resetting the house back to "normal".  It makes being up at 4am a little more bearable (also making that a little better: a super cute baby).

Life can change, and quickly, but this is a life disruption we had been waiting for which makes all the crazy moments much more bearable.  And getting back to some semblance of "normal" has really helped!

What things make YOU feel like YOU?

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