Life with a Newborn: Take 3

Baby #3 is finally here (Yay!). The sleepless, drugged day-into-night time warp feeling has begun as has the overwhelming joy in having a new addition to the family (and to finally getting to enjoy chocolate and decaf coffee without heartburn again – hooray!).

Being our third time around the newborn baby block, I find myself thinking about how this time is different from all other times. So, before the fog of the newborn period lifts, I figured I’d write a post, one-handed, about how our third time on the newborn merry-go-round has been different than our first or second one.

  • Newborn #1: Parenting 101
    • Summary: Even though we thought we were prepared to become a family, we totally weren’t and our unrealistic expectations made the transition hard for us. We had no idea what we were doing and we held parenting books/websites and other people’s opinions in way too high regard. I googled e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g at midnight, 2 am, 3:30 am, 5:05 am, etc. and did silly things like expect my house to be clean like it was pre-baby (and then I religiously cleaned instead of napped to meet that high standard). I believed I could “have it all” and felt like a failure when I didn’t meet society’s ridiculously high standards for mothers. I second guessed myself all. the. time. My husband and I had very few dates and a lot of stress due to no family or friends-with-babies nearby and no sleep. When our adorable baby was less than adorable (hey, it happens!), I thought those moments would last forever, especially during long sleepless nights. I brought a suitcase full of baby supplies with me on trips to the grocery store and stressed over when and where to nurse and change the baby. In fact, I stressed over everything: Will giving my baby a pacifier ruin her developmentally or cause her to need braces? Am I a bad parent for putting my baby in a stroller instead of wearing her? Am I causing hip problems for her because I am wearing her?…
    • What I learned: Chill. out. Life with babies is different.
  • Newborn #2: Outnumbered 101
    • Summary: We had made it through one newborn, so we could do it again (high five for us!). This time we were a little smarter: I cooked and froze meals before the baby came. I reduced my work hours and requested a slightly longer maternity leave than I had the first time. We worked on saving some money before baby came. We found a sitter we trusted who could help us out. However, we still had a few silly beliefs, namely the following:
      • Whatever techniques we had successfully used and mastered for the first baby would work for the second baby.
      • That our older child would feel betrayed when we brought home a new baby.
    • What I learned:
      • Everyone is different, so how you build a positive relationship with them will be different. This is normal and healthy.
      • Any change, no matter how big or small (like reading Goodnight, Gorilla instead of Goodnight Moon), is a big deal to little people and will bring about big emotions. In the long run, the close love-hate-love sibling relationship your kids will form is one of the greatest assets they will have.
  • Newborn #3: Relationship Management 
    • Summary: This time, I feel a lot more prepared. I started getting all non-essentials out of our life before Baby #3 came; I unsubscribed from email lists, opted out of events, donated rarely used items to Goodwill, ruthlessly recycled mail I didn’t need to save … you get the picture. Then I made time for the important things in life: my marriage, my sanity (Read: carving out time for things that make me a happy and balanced person, like reading books or writing this blog), my friends, and my kids. My husband and I majorly lowered our standards and re-prioritized our time: When the newborn napped and the older kids were being watched for a few hours, we skipped cleaning the house and went out on a date instead (with our newborn, a.k.a. Mr. Wingman). We took turns sleeping when various kids slept and when they were all awake we took turns playing with them. I accepted any and all help from friends and family (and even asked for it!).
    • What I am learning: This third time around seems much easier than the other times (so far!). But then again, I’ve called in a lot of help from friends and family (and have gotten it – thanks, y’all!). I’m realizing if I just go with the flow and have some fun (and donuts and coffee with my spouse!), I can enjoy this crazy time. Attempting anything else is optional.

 

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