Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Tentative Post-Baby Daily Rhythm

Lists, lists, lists!

For those of you who get really irritated with my passion for planning (or those of you who think I'm spiraling into delusion and disappointment by planning things that can't possibly be planned), be forewarned that you might not want to read this post. Who needs to elevate their own stress levels by subjecting themselves to something that is really, really going to bother them? Seriously, why not close this site and go check out something more lighthearted?

For the rest of you, I'm going to share some of my thinking about what my life might be like when I'm on maternity leave.

First, I must state for the record that I absolutely hear and believe people when they say, "Be prepared to get nothing done. There are days when showering is just too much of a stretch."

I am preparing for the adjustment to life with a newborn as much as I possibly can. I'm asking my mom and bonus mom (i.e., my mother-in-law) to come and stay with us at separate times after the birth to help take care of the house, cook, do laundry, walk the dog, etc. Once they go, I'm going to ask friends to deliver meals, mow our lawn, and do our grocery shopping for several more weeks. I've also been talking with Matt about how important it is for him to take paternity leave (for all of us!). I'm setting myself up to have zero obligations (I'm writing posts in advance for this blog, and I've asked guest posters to cover 2000 Dollar Wedding for at least five weeks). I won't run another Purposeful Conception Course: Preparing Your Mind, Body, and Life for Pregnancy for a while.

Even with all those supports in place, I know it will still be hard. Plus, we may struggle with things that we can't even anticipate right now (e.g., medical difficulties, colic, other unexpected life-changing events in our family, etc.).

With that said, I still need to think through what kind of life I want to live when I'm home alone with a baby. Personally, I'm much more productive, intentional, and happy if I plan such things in advance (or at least jot some things down on a brainstorming list). I absolutely acknowledge that this list may fall completely by the wayside, but I'll still be glad I created it because it gives me immense reassurance right now. I am very much looking forward to life with a new baby (which is a great place to be as we head into the final months before the birth).

So, enough of that rambling preamble. Here is my current list of what kind of daily routine I might want to have, once things have settled down a bit in our household:
  • Stay in bed until I have slept 8 hours (I got this idea out of a book; basically, I wake up and feed the baby all night long and into the morning, but I don't actually get up and out of bed in the morning until I have slept a total of 8 hours, no matter how long that takes!)
  • Shower
  • Practice Spanish while breastfeeding (using these CDs)
  • Write one blog post while the baby naps
  • Take the baby for a walk in the Moby wrap or Ergo carrier with a neighbor of mine (hooray for adult conversation!)
  • Give the baby a massage
  • Spend time out in nature with the baby
  • Give the baby tummy time and lie-on-your-back-and-stare-at-mobiles time
  • Read the baby a story
  • Read my own books while breastfeeding
  • Do laundry, tidy up the house, and talk on the phone while wearing the baby, if possible
  • Nap (during one of the baby's naps)
  • Go on occasional outings to visit friends, browse antique stores, tutor my children at school
  • Try to fit in some of my own work, either while the baby is napping or while the baby is entertaining himself with mobiles
  • Spend quality time with Matt

I'll keep you updated about how it goes!



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11 comments:

Rosalie said...

I think your goals/plans are totally fine when you've already acknowledged all the before part. And they all seem attainable and fun. Having your mums and Matt there will make things so much easier and possible. If I'd had that support system I would have managed most of the list maybe! 8 hours sleep may be a challenge totally dependant on your child's temperament/personality. You could do it within the 24 hours but not get any of the rest of the list done in the early days hehe.

My experience is different because of my daughter's severe reflux. She didn't sleep more than 6 hours in 24 and when she was awake or asleep had to be held constantly/screamed constantly if not nursing so that blew everything apart. But that's not normal. Getting out of the house every day is a great sanity saver. A book stand when breastfeeding is great for the early days. Then be ready to recognise the growth/developmental spurt times which are the classic do nothing but nurse days. The Wonder Weeks is a good book to recognise when these will happen roughly and to be more tolerant of them!

Some mums get loads done and others (like myself) wonder how anyone manages to make dinner! It all depends on your baby's temperament more than anything I think. Even after the reflux, my daughter at 9 months wants constant stimulation/attention and will barely play alone whilst others I know will happily sit around chilled all day long!

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Rosalie: I've been reading about Kelly Rae's experience with acid reflux in her new baby (http://kellyraeroberts.blogspot.com). So, so challenging. Thank you for sharing your perspective on my thoughts!

Anonymous said...

I think that sounds like a great starting place!!! You don't have anything ridiculous on the list at all, and you already said its more of a guideline than a checklist. Great job sara!! I've never seen anyone get so prepared for a baby, I totally winged it and wished I had planned a little better than I did. I hope all of your efforts pay off and I'm sure that they will!!!

Matt, Lindsey and 'the spud' said...

I've been following your blog for awhile now...and I read some of the comments made. It reminds me alot about wedding planning, and when writing on my blog people said i couldnt do it- you know fighting the wedding industry stuff- but we did! And we loved it. We plan on doing the same thing for our baby, simple, fun, and being able to mesh into the life we want. It doesnt have to be stressful. So good job on planning, I love it. Make it the experience you want it to be.

Anonymous said...

This list sounds very realistic to me! I love the part about 8 hours of sleep. And with all that help you're getting plus Matt on paternity leave... I think things will be as smooth as they can be considering the [happy!] circumstances. :)

Jessica said...

I would call this more of a routine than a schedule. A schedule indicates blocks of time set aside with a specific purpose. To schedule a baby is ridiculous. A routine allows for more flexibility. This routine is totally manageable. I'm at 11 weeks with my first baby and I set up a routine only last week. I wish I would've done it around two weeks post postpartum. I find myself wondering what I did with my time. You're ahead of the game!

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Jessica: You're absolutely right. I'm going to change the title from "Schedule" to "Rhythm." Thanks!

Anonymous said...

sounds doable.
Be careful with the staying in bed thing so you don't get phlebitis or blood clots. My Dr said that it's pretty common. Get up and move around a little then go back to bed.

Onnie said...

Hey Sara! I think your plans sound great, especially considering that you're recognizing that a to-do list of activities is just that: a list, with no guarantee of anything getting done, but everything being potentially helpful & fun throughout the day. All in all it sounds like a much more realistic expectation with your new little one. (And fun to daydream about, too!)

I found this post interesting for you to consider as you make "plans": http://www.askmoxie.org/2006/02/preventing_ppd_.html. PPD isn't something you really want to become anxious or worried about, but for a planner like yourself, I'm guessing it might be helpful to consider things like getting enough omega-3's in the day (though I'm sure your hen's eggs give you and Matt plenty!) and getting Matt to give you a massage during your quality time together, if he's game. I think plans can never hurt, as long as we recognize that Murphy's law is bound to befall some of the plans some of the time...and we plan accordingly.

Sara E. Cotner said...

Good to see you around these parts, Onnie! That link looks awesome. I can't wait to read through all those posts. Thanks!

ohboymama said...

You forgot to list "stare at the baby for hours on end" to this list.

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