"Enjoy this," my fiancé would say when I'd tell him I was going to sleep a bit longer. "It's going to be a different story when the baby comes..." He's stopped saying it so much now. I think he knows the fact that sleep will be elusive in a few weeks has been drilled deep enough into me, and that I understand.
I have these idealistic visions of what I'll be like when the little one is sleeping; unloading and re-loading the dishwasher with lightning speed, getting back to missed calls and messages in record time, putting a few thousand words down on paper, and feeling more than prepared to meet my deadlines.
Though in reality, I'll probably be curled up on the couch, catching up with what has been going on over on Facebook, the day's worth of dishes marinating in dirty water, unwashed socks and underwear migrating from one room to another, taking their smell with them.
This article presents to you things that need to get done, and stuff you'll probably do instead. Kudos if you manage one thing off of the 'need to' list, but everyone will get it if you end up doing the other stuff instead.
15 Get Some Shut Eye Too
I always imagined that it would be so easy to nod off when baby is getting some shut eye. But apparently - and quite devastatingly - sleeping when the baby sleeps isn't as easy as it sounds. That was the situation for journalist Katie Smith.
"I heard the words over and over again, just like every new mom: 'Sleep when the baby sleeps, and you’ll be fine.' Well, that’s a nice theory. But the thing is, babies (or at least mine) seem to be born nocturnal. For me, there was no sleeping at night for the first few weeks. None."
If sleeping when baby sleeps isn't possible, for one reason or another, other options include taking shifts with your partner, pump and then sleep or just lie down, even if you can't sleep. It can be really restorative.
14 Pay The Bills
How lovely would it be if the bills just disappeared into thin air for a while during those first few vital months with your newborn? Sadly though, they're going to still keep coming and coming and coming.
But you know, it's so easy nowadays to pay bills online from your phone. If you have a sleeping baby on you, and movement is strictly limited to your arms and hands moving a few inches, take up your phone and get all them damn bills done in one swoop. You will feel so organised and on the ball.
You'll know this already - but when you're a mom, everything can be so hectic that important things can go out of the window - organising your bills is the key to having a more peaceful life.
13 Take A Shower
Showers don't have to be a once-in-a-blue-moon thing when you have a newborn. If you're home alone with little one, there's nothing stopping you from bringing them into the bathroom with you. Just set them down in their bouncy seat and hey presto! You're ready to get that 3-day-old sick scrubbed from your hair and that smell of god-only-knows-what out from under your pits.
Interestingly enough, apparently babies love the sound of the water. McKinney Mom writing on the Baby Center forum said: "I take a shower even when she is awake. I pull the travel swing into the bathroom and talk to her through the glass stall while I shower. She loves the sound of the water and the bathroom fan going, too. In fact if she's really being a sourpuss, sometimes that's the best thing for both of us."
12 Conquer The Washing Pile
Before I grew the hell up, I didn't think about my mom and her constant battle with the washing piles created by 4 kids. There were always towering piles. But now that I'm a mom to a step-daughter and have my first daughter on the way, my respect is colossal.
I've been practicing getting the stuff done and out of the way, though I can't predict how controlled I'm going to be when the little one gets here. Baby's clothes are, of course, priority, so having a separate laundry bag or basket for them and getting those through the washer and dryer first will be essential.
Something I discovered that might be a lifesaver is the fact that the white noise of the washing machine can actually help baby to fall sleep!
11 Eat An Actual Meal
My fiancé has been promising me that he's going to make a ton of meals and then freeze them, so that I'll always have a proper meal to throw in the microwave when he's not around. Whether it will happen or not is another story. I'd love to say that I have faith that it will...
When baby is sleeping, you'll probably find yourself throwing whatever you can find into your mouth - a handful of chips, a wedge of cheese, a gulp of milk from the carton. Sure, this will be okay for a few days, but not all the time.
Try and get prepared before baby even arrives. Make some of your favourites and package them up into meal-sized, easily frozen portions, so that as soon as baby is sleeping, you can hot-foot it to the kitchen and slide one quietly into the microwave.
10 Go To The Washroom!
While your baby will poop whenever, you're not going to be able to always go when nature calls. However when baby is sleeping, there's your chance. If your other half isn't around, you'll probably crap faster than you ever thought humanely possible, but if dad is home, let yourself sit there for a while. You're entitled to it, especially as dads are known for taking their time, whereas moms poop and get out pronto.
Ellie Beattie believes that the 'poop breaks' dads take is something that needs to be addressed: "You see, moms just poop, whereas dads have a poop break. Can you spot the difference? When I use the restroom, I have to treat it like a challenge. I race in and out in record time. My husband, meanwhile, takes his time, puts his feet up, and zones out of the havoc on the other side of the door."
9 Do The Dishes
We have a dishwasher. It is a small dishwasher. Probably the smallest dishwasher you can buy. It fits like 4 plates, 2 bowls and a handful of glasses. But oh my god, I'm grateful for it.
And I know I'm going to be even more grateful when baby arrives because I know the dishes and I are going to be even worse enemies than we are now. But I also know that my mind is clearer and I'm calmer all-round when the dishes are out of sight, so it will be a priority when baby is sleeping.
Advice that I've seen from experienced moms is to 'get it out of the way'. If you leave it until the end of the day, you won't feel like it, and that pile will mount ever higher. Do it when baby is sleeping, and you'll reap the benefits.
8 Write A To-Do List
I have literally no idea how I would cope if it wasn't for my daily to-do list, and I am more than sure that it's going to be a routine that I will maintain once baby is born (unlike shaving my legs, plucking my eyebrows and doing squats while the kettle boils).
When baby is sleeping, even if they're conked out on your boobs, you can still write a to-do list on your phone. Though I have to admit that using a notebook works much better for me. There's nothing quite like scoring through something with a pen. It's not quite the same as deleting something from a list on your phone. But whatever works best for you. Making a to-do list will help you to relieve stress, feel in control and prioritize.
7 Get A Workout In
While working out will probably be the last thing you want to do when baby has finally nodded off, it can do a world of good, not only to your body, but to your mental and emotional state too.
There are all kinds of workouts that you can fit in during the snoozes - just hit up YouTube or do a quick Google search. Though remember, it's important that you check with your doctor or midwife to make sure that it's ok that you start exercising postpartum. Six weeks is the usual waiting time, though if you had a C-section, it might be a bit longer.
It's also important to warm up first. Andrea Metcalf, a certified trainer and author of Naked Fitness recommends that you get your heart rate up in a practical way by cleaning the house for five or 10 minutes first.
6 Savor The Moment
There are going to be times when you should just abandon all of the above, and just savour the moment. Look at the little miracle that you've created. Marvel at their little toes and fingers, at their stunning eyelashes and the teeny, tiny flutters from underneath their eyelids as they dream. And those random smiles. Treasure those smiles that are aimed at nothing in particular.
Baby's grow at an impossibly fast rate, and your child will never be this tiny again. The time speeds by so fast, and the next thing you know, they're walking and talking. While you might, at first, think to yourself that the time is dragging on, and that you can't wait until they actually 'start to do stuff', you'll soon realise that actually, the time went really, really quickly, and you wish you could have it back.
And 5 Things Mom Ends Up Doing Instead.
5 Repeated Checks On The Baby
Until you get to grips with this whole new experience of being a mom, you're going to be checking on baby every minute or so. I can already envisage that that's going to be the case with me - I won't be able to leave her alone. That her nap will come and go and I will have spent the whole time going back and forth and back and forth.
But it will be this way only because you care so much, and you are scared that something, anything might happen to your little one. I think that the majority of moms will go through that stage of fear. But slowly, gradually, it will become easier to leave them be to sleep, to stop scooting in there whenever your brain says 'just one more check...'
4 Photographs Baby
Is there such a thing as taking too many photos of a baby? No? Good. I didn't think so, because I can foresee that most of the time, when baby is sleeping, I'm going to be taking photographs of her. The house will look like we've been robbed and I'll be messing around with angles and lighting and filters...I just know it.
But we can't be blamed for wanting to capture the sweet, young moments of our child's new life. We want to document our new addition to the family for ourselves, for our family, for our friends, for the world, because we are just so damned proud!
One way of getting past the obsessive clicking through, is to say, 'okay, five minutes and then I'll go and do A, B and C.' I think that's the tactic I'll need to use for myself.
3 Logs Onto Social Media
I hate social media but I also love social media. I think that Facebook especially is going to become even more important once baby is born, because that's how, as an expat, I keep in touch with close friends and family.
When baby is napping, I think the first thing that about 90% of new moms do is log into their social media accounts, whether it's to let people know about what's happening with the baby ('SHE'S SLEEPING NOW AND OH MTY GOD SHE'S SO BEAUTIFUL!') or to see what's going on in other people's lives. It can become easy to feel isolated when you have a newborn.
But like with the photo taking, maybe give yourself a time limit so that baby doesn't wake up and you realise that the only thing you've done with your time is like a few memes.
2 Stares At The TV
It is likely, very likely, that once baby has fallen asleep, your brain is going to feel like mush and you won't want to do much else than sit on the couch and watch some repeats of shows you've already seen a thousand times before. But you might feel bad about.
Get this though mom, it's ok! You're allowed to veg out and just stare at the TV for a while. It's called relaxing, and you'll need to do some of it if you're going to get back on your feet and back into the game. Loads of new moms grab the remote once baby is out for the count. In my ideal world, Grand Designs, Family Guy and Dragon's Den would be running on repeat 24 hours a day for my viewing leisure.
1 Relish The Silence
I love silence. I mean, I really, really love silence. I know that some people can't function without a constant stream of noise around them. I'm most definitely not one of those people.
I would be telling you a lie if I said that I wasn't worried about the noise that baby's going to make once she arrives, but I know I'll have to deal with it, and I know that I will deal with it, and I know that I will cherish silence even more than I do now.
Every mom I have met has said how much she treasures the silence once baby nods off. I know my own mom used to lie on the floor and just enjoy the peace. The moments of quiet are so few and far between when you have a newborn that silence takes on an entirely new meaning.
Sources: Babble.com, BabyCenter.com, Romper.com
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