About two years ago, I wrote a little post about surviving motherhood. It is one of my most viewed posts ever. Many items on the list are still essentials (I still go through ziploc bags like air) but now that I'm a mother of two, I've had to up my game. So here it is..my top ten tips for transitioning from one bundle of joy to one giant bundle of insanity.
***I'd like to note the views expressed are MY opinions and not a judgement on other moms rockin' it differently. This list is what I would tell my girlfriends if they asked me how to make it work.
1.IGNORE everyone EXCEPT the person whose parenting you trust. You're a pro now and smart enough to trust your instincts, but this is a different child. If something baffling comes up, ask this person's advice. Ignore everyone else.
I don't love feeling like a hunchback and my feet need a good salt soak at the end of the day--but I just don't have time to sit in the rocking chair for a nice 45 minute catnap three or four times a day. Ergo, Bjorn, Moby, Sling Ring.. I use a combination of several carriers to get through various functions.
Why do they guys look so confident?. Because they get laid more. Oh, is that not on the instruction manual? True story. Dads who wear baby for mom get laid more.
The other day I asked my husband if he could pack me a lunch on for an errand I had to do. His words were "No, I have the baby." I had to gently remind him that I cook him dinner every night "with the baby" and that I was on my way out the door to help paint someone's house "with the baby." Dads, get over yourself and wear the baby. You don't look stupid. You look like a parent. . . which you are.
3. USE HAND ME DOWNS Speaking of expensive carriers. . . the first time you did the nursery thing, you did the fancy gear and shower thing..this time, save yourself a boatload of cash and utilize what you have.
All of your friends probably have babies now too, so swap gear. . pink blankets, blue blankets--WHO CARES? . The gender police aren't going to knock down your door if your son is using a pink blanket and your baby certainly doesn't care. You are going to need that money for a massage, new clothes, and this sweeper.
4. PBS, NETFLIX STREAMING. Because some things don't change. Yes, my tv is on most of the day. Sometimes I simply have to leave my oldest unsupervised for a few minutes. I choose to do this at a time when Daniel Tiger or Super Why has her captivated.
I also use our PBS schedule as a sort of clock mechanism for transitions. "Mom is daddy coming home yet?" "No Daddy doesn't come home until after Martha Speaks."
When she is playing toys I turn it off. When she asks to watch it, I turn it back on. This does not make me a bad parent. She learns an amazing amount from tv and asks me questions about everything she sees. She is supervised and I am selective with what she watches. And admittedly..sometimes I need a break. She needs a mom who is present and not running on empty more than she needs to be screen free.
5. WEAR LIPSTICK Or mascara or blush or earrings, or whatever makes you feel pretty. Even if you've had a babywipe facial, no shower, and are wearing your husbands deodorant because it was right by the door, wearing lipstick will kind of make you look like you have your shit together.
It is important to feel like a human and a female instead of a walking napkin--which you ARE by the way. I just told Ruby to go wash her face and she wiped it on my BUTT while I was chopping food at the counter. She wasn't being ironic. You can't make this stuff up people.
6.SIMPLIFY EVERYTHING. There is a reason Angelina Jolie wears all black. She has 6 kids. She needs all of her clothes on the floor to match all of her other clothes on the floor.
Simplify your wardrobe, your beauty, your hair, your meals, get rid of clutter, and anything you aren't using. Reduce the toys by 80%. Farm out anything that can be farmed. You can't do it all. Even if you want to. Even if you are getting sleep. YOU CAN'T DO IT ALL. If it isn't essential to your life--chuck it. Now. Handmade baby thank yous? No. Your real friends will understand (See #1).
7. DIVIDE & CONQUER But try to switch off. Bedtime for Ruby has become Daddy's job. Saturdays have become Ruby and Daddy adventure day. This bums me out, as I almost never get that kind of time alone with my daughter now that I have a baby, but it ensures each kid is getting full attention from someone at least part of the time. Reserve 10 minutes to talk to your spouse when both kids are finally out. It doesn't sound like much but its making an effort each day.
8. ANSWER EVERY QUESTION WITH BOOBY. The first time around I wrote down feedings in a notebook, I was a slave to the clock, I supplemented based on some bad advice. Yes, my daughter was a different child entirely, but this time, there are no schedules, no clock. I just do it.
9.DROP YOUR OTHER KIDS NAP. What? Are you nuts? Don't I need a break in the middle of the day??? Maybe but you need your kids to be in bed by 7:30 even more.
If you ever want to talk to your husband again or have an hour to do something besides babies, skip the nap and get your older kid to bed as soon as possible. Ruby needs a catch up nap about once or twice a week. She will go off into a corner and curl up. Done.
10. APPRECIATE SMALL MOMENTS This is important. You are probably not going to have time to attend a weekly yoga class, watch a movie in one sitting, or go on a date with your husband for a while. Not sinking into a deep well of depression about the fact that you do nothing but attend to other's needs/pee/poop/food/laundry all day long, requires a major change in perspective.
That's it! To all the moms and dads working double time to keep the ship afloat. I salute you.