I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people say, “You *just* stay at home with the baby, so you have plenty of time.”
And, if they don’t say it, I hear it. <— That could be my own projection. Let’s just be honest.
I’m a doer. A mover. A shaker. I don’t get my jollies sitting on the couch, eating bon bons, and watching old episodes of I Love Lucy. Although, sometimes I think life would be a lot easier if I did.
I’m the one, two months out of work, who creates a totally new business from the ground up. Who takes pre-orders while on maternity leave, and now works while the baby naps.
So, here’s a snapshot of my day.
It begins at 4 am. Okay, let’s just be honest. It begins at about 1am. Diaper change. What can I say? The kid might not need food, but he can’t sleep without a clean canvas, either. (I can hardly blame him.)
If I’m lucky, he goes back to sleep in a matter of 10 minutes. If not, then I can usually be found, laying on his floor, until about 2:00 in the morning. This is just simpler than getting up out of bed, disrupting my husband, and the dogs, every time the baby wakes back up. Which, can be, every 10 minutes.
Up at 4:30ish, again, for a bottle. Now he’s hungry! And, he doesn’t want to wait. I’m often outside at this hour, with the baby, waiting for the bottle to warm, and saying in a soft voice….look at the trees sleeping, how quiet it is, the bugs have gone to bed, and the birds aren’t up yet. The flowers can’t wait until morning….
Then, I get to sleep again. Usually until about 6:30ish, when I get up, let the dogs out, and get my pump on. Double barreled. I know you’re jealous. This takes anywhere from 15-30 minutes, depending on how much milk I’ve produced. I’m checking email on my cell phone and what not, staring, also, at the baby monitor video….crossing my fingers the kiddo doesn’t wake up before I’m done.
If he stirs, he usually just has to poop. You can hear it through the monitor…it’s pretty funny. *rrriiiiipppppp* Then, he usually falls back asleep. Unless it’s a particularly big poop. Then he won’t sleep. No matter what.
Diapers. That’s a whole thing. The #1’s aren’t bad. The #2’s are livable, but here’s the thing. You never know what you’re going to get with a #2. It could be in the diaper. It could be leaking out of the diaper. It could be in the back, quite frankly, where it belongs. But, it could be in the front, too. Side? Yep. All over in mass chaos? Often. And then there are the ones that look like they skipped the diaper altogether, and just jumped out into the sleeper. I’m still trying to figure this one out.
If I get done pumping, and he’s not up yet, I take the opportunity to feed the 5 dogs that are now looking at me like my legs would be tasty morsels. I also give them their assorted medications, because we run a nursing home for aged dogs. Then follows their morning treat. I guess….the treat is like a dessert.
With that done, usually the kiddo is stirring, so I go get him, and try to coax him back to sleep for at least 10 minutes so I can get his water heated up, and the bottle warming. I’ve tried to do this in anticipation, but it rarely, if ever, works out in my favor.
If I can get him back to sleep, I run to the kitchen, plop the Tupperware container, full of water, in the microwave and zap it for 5 minutes. I let the dogs out, who are now crossing their legs, and I stare at the monitor hoping he doesn’t wake up, again. I plop the bottle in the water, and go retrieve the baby.
(If I can’t get him back to sleep, he’s usually screaming in my ear while I get his bottle ready. Nobody is happy, if hungry baby isn’t happy.) ;-)
Usually, he’s a happy kid while he’s waking up, all smiles. Even through the diaper change. But once he sees that bottle…..then the kicking and grabbing and oh so excitedness…. And if it’s not ready, then the whining, and crying…
Sometimes I take him in the family room, where he can stare longingly at the ceiling fan. Other times, a nice breeze outside will do the trick, while we wait.
Then, we get our eat on. It usually takes about 15-20 minutes for him to eat. And, hopefully by this time, I’ve remembered to let the dogs back in. The worst thing you can do is take a bottle away from a baby. Or, according to Pete, the worst thing you can do is leave him outside. On pretty, non-rainy days, I’ve learned to just leave the back door propped open for the dogs, and hope a bird doesn’t fly in or something.
There’s usually another diaper after the bottle, followed by another pumping session while Asher plays on his mat. This has become particularly difficult lately, as he’s learned to roll over. Reaching with pumps attached to your chest isn’t the easiest, or most comfortable thing, in the world.
When I’m done comes playing with Elmo, singing songs, making faces, playing on the activity mat, playing with blocks, petting the dogs, dancing down the hall to music, sitting outside under the arbor, or anything else that’s mildly entertaining to the kid. This is for about an hour and a half. Letting him play by himself doesn’t work because he loves mom’s attention more, and will have a fit until he has it.
There are 2-3 more diaper changes in this time frame.
Then, it’s time to read a book and nap. He loves books. He also loves to gnaw on books. One time, I had to yawn, and when I stopped talking, Asher started talking….just as if he picked up on the story where I left off. :)
His nap will last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. The first in the morning may be a glorious 2 hours, and boy, can I get a lot done in that time frame.
While he sleeps, I’m setting up the next bottle, and pouring what I just expressed into bottles for tomorrow. Then, I’m cleaning the house, doing random chores, the laundry, working for my business, etc.
There really isn’t a lot of rest to my day.
The shower gets worked in somewhere, and it is done while making faces through the glass at the kid, making him smile, playing peek-a-boo, and singing silly songs I make up about shaving armpits (♪♪♫♪♫♪♫ “We have to shave the arm pits or they get really haiiirrrrryyyyy…” ♫♪♪♫♪♫) and getting all the soap off.
I do enjoy putting the laundry away with him, because he can learn organizational skills at the same time.
I live life in 3 hour time periods. When I was nursing, it was 1 hour to eat, 1 hour to play, 1 hour to sleep…repeat 4-5 times a day. Now eating only takes 20 minutes and that means a longer play time.
If I need to go out and run an errand, this is strategically placed right after the kiddo eats. That’s his happiest. And, I just have to be back within an hour or two. Not in the middle of his nap. That can be very bad and can throw an entire day’s schedule off kilter. I have to plan a little bit more than I used to.
I’m by no means complaining. I used to live in 2 hour time periods. This is like a vacation to me. It’s just primarily why I can’t always answer things in a timely fashion.
Somewhere in there, I remember to pet the dogs, fill their water bowls, and let them outside periodically.
Maybe you read this and think it’s not really that busy. But, this mothering thing, it’s hard. It’s challenging. The good days are good, and the bad days…well, we like to just forget they every happened and move on. I’m learning my limitations. I’m learning to ask for help when I need it. I’m learning this mom thing isn’t always enjoyable. And I’m learning that parenting is way harder than any job I’ve ever had….however, it’s also the most rewarding.
But, trust me, through it all, I’m doing the best I can. Life is pretty good, it’s just at a different pace. ❤