bbHello World!

Our newest baby is just over 12 weeks old, which means by now things are running smoothly in our house. We have a good daily routine down. The house is clean, dinner is made every night, and I end the day feeling like I’ve accomplished everything on my to do list.

HA! Just kidding.

Twelve weeks after the birth of our fourth baby and I’m still just squeezing by on most days. Getting anywhere on time is a minor miracle, breakfast for dinner has become a regular thing, and don’t even ask me when the last time was that I vacuumed. But, we’re getting there. My oldest gets dropped off at school on time every day, with his lunch packed and after eating a healthy breakfast. The rest of us manage to get dressed and out of the house daily too, as we go to swim lessons, music class and story time. We run errands. We just threw my daughter a birthday party and it was a lot of fun – I even managed to craft stuff for it.

Four kids later and here are just a few things I try and do to help get back into things as quickly as possible. Anything you’d like to add?

5. Embrace the Chaos

Getting back into the swing of things after having a baby takes a while, and a lot of it is out of your control. We’d all love a newborn who sleeps well and just seamlessly enters our lives, but the reality is, that rarely happens (good for you if it does though!) Most times we find that the newborn sleeps when it’s not so convenient, and is awake when we’d really just like for it to be asleep. Or, he’s decided the only way he’ll sleep at night (at all) is on you (not speaking from experience or anything). Or she’s fussy, colicky, gassy, or struggling to nurse. Meanwhile, your toddler has decided to regress, or drop their nap, or really wants to start potty training right this second. Or your oldest starts bringing home homework that needs to be signed off on each night, or begins to act out, or they’ve decided this is the year they really, really want to start playing baseball or soccer. Chaos reigns and it will for a long time! My advice? Embrace it. Try and laugh in spite of it. Things will be crazy for a while and like I said, a lot of it is out of your control. Just try and make light of it because it will end eventually. All newborns eventually turn into babies who start having a bit of a more predictable routine. All kiddos eventually potty train and head off to school. Enjoy where you are while you’re there.

4. Get Moving

I’m not saying train for a marathon right after having a baby, especially in those first few weeks of recovery. But light exercise – a nice, easy walk around the neighborhood for instance – can really make a difference when you’re recovering. Fresh air and Vitamin D are awesome stress relievers. Exercise releases those fantastic feel-good endorphins and helps to tire out your older kiddos. And contrary to what you might think, moving around after a c-section in particular makes a HUGE difference in recovery. Although the first few days can be slow and painful, I’ve always found the more I (carefully) move, the sooner I start to feel better. Once you’ve gotten the all-clear to resume exercising, resume exercising – even if you didn’t before baby. Carve out some time to do some yoga, or run, or walk, or lift weights – whatever.

3. Accept Help (in Whatever Form it Comes in)

The hardest thing for me to do is accept help. Call it pride or plain stupidity, I just don’t like admitting I can’t do everything by myself. But accepting help is crucial to getting back into daily life. My wonderful in-laws occasionally take my older kids, giving me the chance to run errands with just the newborn, or clean without kiddos systematically destroying everything I’ve just put away. My husband does an amazing job with the older kids too – even braving the pool with all three of them alone this summer, something I’ve never felt comfortable enough to do – and pool dates with Dad quickly became one of their favorite things.

The point is, don’t let pride talk you out of accepting help that comes your way, and step back. Don’t nitpick over how your husband is changing diapers or how your mom isn’t playing with the kids the way you’d think is best. Let people bring you food and you know, actually hold the baby so you can get up and move around. Hire a sitter or a house cleaner if need be. Step back, relinquish the need to control everything, and allow other people to help with your kids and house. The best part? People love to help and by letting them spoil you, they get to feel good too.

2. Make Yourself Human

When you’re up all night nursing, or comforting a sick child, or scaring away monsters that come out at night (or some combination of all three on a particularly great night), it’s easy to want to spend the day in pajamas. Or, if you’re leaking everywhere, covered in spit up and food and who knows what and still not quite able to fit back into your pre-pregnancy clothes, it’s really easy to get discouraged and stay in sweats and skip a shower. But, I find that sneaking away to take a shower helps me feel 100000 times better. Even if it means the laundry has to wait (or that precious nap doesn’t get to happen), take a few minutes to make yourself feel like a human being. Shower. Put on some makeup. Pull on clothes that aren’t the ones you slept in. You will find that you feel SO MUCH better.

1. Take Care of Yourself

When you’ve got other people to take care of, it’s incredibly easy to neglect yourself.

Don’t.

You can’t be super mom if you aren’t taking care of your needs too! Eat WELL. Don’t just binge on junk because it’s quick and easy. Eating well will help you feel better AND lose the baby weight. Drink lots of water, particularly if you’re nursing. If you have someone who can help watch the kids, let them – and take the time to get some fresh air, or read a book, or exercise, or take a bath, or nap. Whatever you need to do to feel better.

Take it a day at a time, find the humor in the ridiculous, take time for yourself, and you’ll find yourself back in action before you know it. Good luck!!