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Maternity Leave Milestones

Oct16

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Dear Amalah,
I’m getting ready to have my baaayyyybbbeee, which is super exciting and I just can’t wait. But there’s a little something I’m worrying about. Maternity leave. I’m taking at least 12 weeks, maybe a little more. And 12 weeks is starting to seem like a looooooooong time to be away from work for a type A girl like myself. I get a little crazed when I’m bored… So I’ve been wracking my brain trying to come up with a list of achievable projects or just things to do to keep me occupied while I’m on leave, little things to make me feel like I done *something, anything* each day. For example, our local theater has a Mommy/Baby movie morning on Wednesdays–so I’ll go to that. But what to do with the other mornings, and mid days, and afternoons? TV in my living room seems like a bad idea.
Do you have any advice on things that are worth adding to the list? Obviously I won’t be renovating my kitchen during this time, but what sorts of things can I reasonably expect to do while I’m on leave?
Thanks!
Overachiever

Oh hey, you remind me of ME. The me of just a little over four years ago, who was also about to go on leave and had All Sorts Of Plans for my leave. Some of those All Sorts Of Plans included:
1) Send out birth announcements and thank-you notes.
2) Regular weekly lunch with friends from work.
3) Regular weekly lunch with husband at his work.
4) Daily walk around neighborhood with baby and dog.
5) Have non-work friends and relatives over to meet the baby at least once.
6) Attend Mommy & Me events in the area, such as movies, playgroups, exercise classes
7) Re-organize closet (i.e. pack up maternity and swap out seasonal clothing)
8) Two or three contract copywriting assignments from my company
9) Blog
10) Resist all daytime television, except for maybe The Price Is Right, because come on.
See? All perfectly reasonable, in all honesty. Nothing that I previously couldn’t manage to do in a single weekend, or on top of an 8-hour workday.
So how’d I do?
1) Done! With some help from my mom, who came to help out around week three. We churned these suckers out…while sitting on the couch and watching television. (It was at least a DVD, and not soaps or Dr. Phil.)
2) Nope. Never happened. Turned out that getting out of the house with a newborn was a lot tougher than I ever anticipated — I needed a good two hours’ lead time to get us both up and cleaned and dressed, and then suddenly there was ALWAYS another poopy diaper or spit-up all over both of us. Since I was trying to accommodate my working friends’ understandably tight lunch break schedules, I had to cancel both of my attempts to meet them because I just always seemed to be running too late.
3) Once! I did this once.
4) I did take walks. They were far from daily, but I did take a few. The weather did not really cooperate the way I expected.
5) Yes, we had plenty of visits from friends and family. I actually preferred when my friends would invite us OUT with the baby, either to early dinners at family-friendly restaurants or for casual get-togethers at their house. That way I didn’t have to stress over my lack of hostessing skills or my messy house, and it was always, ALWAYS easier to get out of the house with Jason around to help than when I made solo attempts. So if your friends want to see the baby, consider fishing for an invitation OUT OF YOUR OWN HOUSE.
6) I went to one mother & baby movie screening, after probably two or three weeks of failed attempts. Again…I don’t know, I just sucked at getting us up and out of the house on time. I misjudged how flipping TIRED I would be, and how that sleep deprivation would effect my general life skills. Like I got theaters mixed up, misread schedules, got turned around in parking garages, would drive halfway there and realize that I forgot to pack a single extra diaper.
7) No.
8) No.
9) Yes! I did. A lot. And I’m so glad, because those are some of the most hideously embarrassing entries I’ve ever written, but HOT DAMN, I was tired.
10) I’m also grateful for all those mornings I got to spend with Bob Barker before he passed away retired (update: sorry for the confusion Bob. We love you!). It was a really special time.
I don’t mean to sound snarky here — those really were my goals and my results. I was not happy with them, for a long time, since I felt like such a clueless failure for not being able to leave the house without it being a big, rushed, late, frantic production. I wish someone had sat me down and taught me the great art of STREAMLINING with a newborn (something I didn’t learn until Ezra, until necessity forced me to). (Key points: sling or carrier instead of carseat/travel-system; the bigger your diaper bag, the more useless/pointless crap you will carry around with you while still forgetting essentials; keep essentials like diapers, wipes, spare outfits in your car, so if you do forget something you don’t have to abandon everything and go home.)
I guess I’m still trying to say that 1) it’s good to have goals, and 2) it’s good to be kind to yourself if you don’t actually meet those goals, in between all this business of caring for a new human being, being completely tied to the capricious wills of a new human being, and of being so tired you don’t even mind walking face-first into a wall because OH THANK GOD, the wall woke you up right before you were about to fall down the stairs.
Oh, and 3) those 12 weeks are going to go by so fast. You won’t even believe it.
So. If I had to come up with some new goals for a hypothetical maternity leave, it would look something like this:
1) Send out birth announcements and thank-you notes.
2) Bring baby to meet coworkers at the office, leaving the day and time non-specific so you don’t feel pressured if you’re running late or the baby is particularly off his schedule that day.
3) Same thing for your partner’s office and coworkers. Forget the lunch hour thing, just commit to getting over there so s/he can show off the baby at least once.
4) Walk around neighborhood whenever you feel a bit stir-crazy, or it’s a beautiful day, or you’re having trouble getting the baby down for a nap. If it doesn’t happen some days, eh. Experiment with carriers or the stroller, drive to a mall and walk around if the weather is bad. (I strapped Noah into a Bjorn and went up and down our condo building’s steps just to satisfy my need to get some physical activity in some days.)
5) Attend Mommy & Me events in the area, such as movies, playgroups, exercise classes. So…I sucked at these, but they exist for a reason. If you enjoy them, get on a local moms’ message board and find more. If they stress you out or bore you, cross ‘em off your list without a second thought.
6) If you can’t swing visits and outings, embrace easier, low-maintenance ways to keep in touch. Talk on the phone. Get a webcam so far-away relatives can “see” the baby. Spend as much time on Facebook as you want without guilt.
7) Take photos and/or video of your baby every day. Start a scrapbook or or online baby book or SOMETHING to start the good practice of keeping every organized and (especially for digital photos) backed-up in case of a hard drive failure.
8) Leaving the house is a goal in and of itself, and that includes the seemingly endless appointments with your pediatrician, lactation consultant, and OB/GYN. Hooray! You did it! And you remembered to wear pants!
9) And lastly, remember that taking care of your baby is also a goal. And kind of the whole point. The first few weeks that means feedings every two to three hours. Lots of diaper changing and laundry and then more changing. Then there’s pumping for your return to work, finalizing daycare, getting him or her on some semblance of a schedule…all while trying to get some rest and sleep yourself. It’s not as brutal as it sounds, honest, but it IS anything but boring.
10) Bookmark, read, live, learn and love RookieMoms.com. I KNOW I’ve recommended this site before but seriously. Click on the “months 1-3″ button for tons of practical easy activities you can do with your baby during maternity leave. For the most part, the activities are realistic, doable goals that should satisfy the Type-A in you while also appealing to the sleep-deprived Type-Zzzzzz reality. (There’s a book, too!)
You may also enjoy:
The SAHM Gig: What Am I Supposed To DO All Day?

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About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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35 Responses to “Maternity Leave Milestones”

  1. cagey Oct 16 at 8:42 am Reply Reply

    That is a great, reasonable list of things to do in the first month or so with a new baby!
    I would also like to add breastfeeding support groups to the list, if the new mom is planning on breastfeeding. With my firstborn, I went to my hospital’s support group and it was GREAT. It was a nice, comfortable place where I did not have to stress or struggle with the whole “breastfeeding in public” aspect. I felt safe there from judgment (because oh YES, folks judge when you breastfeed in public.) It allowed me to gradually get comfortable and figure out my own process for getting my baby fed without getting XXX on bystanders.
    I went to that support group for 15 months, the entire time I breastfed. I was a resource for new moms and I even ended up forming a walking group which helped new moms transition to breastfeeding in public as well. One of my best friends to this day is a gal I met in that group.
    Over that 15 months, we had loads of new moms coming in and out who were on maternity leave. There was no judgment or weirdness on that, support groups are for ALL moms. ;-)
    I have to say that first few months of staying home is no indication of how it is to stay home full-time – newborns really do not do much. In the beginning, all the activities are really for the mother, which is fine, no? When babies get older, staying home full-time really picks up and gets quite fun.

  2. Elizabeth Oct 16 at 8:42 am Reply Reply

    What Mothers Do: Especially When It Looks Like Nothing by Naomi Stadlen

  3. miriam Oct 16 at 8:42 am Reply Reply

    second that. i had all sorts of ambitious plans– catch up on my reading, get back into shape, finish shower thank-you notes…
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!
    12 weeks flies by. Work on: 1) learn how to take care of baby, and 2) recover from pregnancy. Once you’ve mastered that, feel free to learn a new language or something…

  4. Emily Oct 16 at 8:49 am Reply Reply

    I think Bob Barker is still alive.

  5. Ingrid Oct 16 at 9:09 am Reply Reply

    Is Bob Barker dead?

  6. Sheila Oct 16 at 9:40 am Reply Reply

    My baby was born last Dec. 31st so maternity leave is in my not-too-distant past… and yet I can hardly remember any of it. I was on modified bed rest for 6 weeks before she was born, so the two periods somehow blend together in my memory and I can’t quite remember what I did all day.
    I think Amy’s advice is great, but I will disagree on one point. For me, the 12 weeks did not fly by. The first half dragged on and seemed like it would never end. I remember crying to my mom that I must be a terrible mother because I was so depressed being at home all day (in January in Indiana) with the baby. But then somehow I got more confident and the girl got more interesting and at least semi-predictable, and the last six weeks or so really did disappear quickly.

  7. Sheila Oct 16 at 9:42 am Reply Reply

    My baby was born last Dec. 31st so maternity leave is in my not-too-distant past… and yet I can hardly remember any of it. I was on modified bed rest for 6 weeks before she was born, so the two periods somehow blend together in my memory and I can’t quite remember what I did all day.
    I think Amy’s advice is great, but I will disagree on one point. For me, the 12 weeks did not fly by. The first half dragged on and seemed like it would never end. I remember crying to my mom that I must be a terrible mother because I was so depressed being at home all day (in January in Indiana) with the baby. But then somehow I got more confident and the girl got more interesting and at least semi-predictable, and the last six weeks or so really did disappear quickly.

  8. Linsey Oct 16 at 10:01 am Reply Reply

    Hahahahaha… Bob Barker is still alive and well!

  9. Bliz Oct 16 at 10:09 am Reply Reply

    Another great post. Just chiming in on behalf of Bob Barker, who is actually not yet dead! Just enjoying his golden years free from the clutches of overly-excited and screamy contestants!

  10. Anonymous Oct 16 at 10:16 am Reply Reply

    Ha!! Ha, ha, ha, ha!! Oh, I really don’t mean to sound so condescending, but oh man. I think what you will be able to do and accomplish in the first few months will depend a lot on what particular flavor of baby you have birthed. I have several friends who had very easy going, non screamy babies and they got out a lot, well you know, relatively a lot. And then, there was my son, the one who screamed hours and hours and hours a day. We didn’t get out hardly at all, and when we did, I lived in white knuckled fear that he would start one of his screaming episodes while we were out. Which he did, many times. (For more info on this, see the Bounce Back feature on screaming hellbeast babies from a few weeks back.)
    Again, I am not trying to scare the crap out of the new moms to be out there, but it is really is a better idea to kindof have a wait and see attitude about the whole maternity leave and what to do with your time. It also will depend on what kind of delivery you have and said pain from the method of exit. Vaginal and CS births can both have painful and difficult recoveries. I guess what I am saying it set expectations pretty low. You may end up being one of those women with a slip n slide vagina and an angel baby and you may be able to do lots of fun stuff and get things accomplished. Then again, you may not. Either way, take it easy on yourself. 12 weeks goes by REALLY fast.

  11. Heidi T Oct 16 at 10:28 am Reply Reply

    Ummmm.. Bob Barker isn’t dead….
    As for the rest of the post, I totally agree…. You will have exactly enough time to take care of your baby and that’s really about it. LOL

  12. all things BD Oct 16 at 10:32 am Reply Reply

    This is wonderful advice, which I would have LOVED to have back in the day. And not to completely miss the point of the post, but Bob Barker isn’t dead. Just thought I’d head off any rampant rumors at the pass. :)

  13. Sarah Oct 16 at 10:40 am Reply Reply

    Amazingly and happily, Bob Barker is not dead.

  14. Camille Oct 16 at 10:57 am Reply Reply

    Bob Barker died?
    I had 8 weeks maternity and ended up working fully part-time hours (i.e. at least 20 hours per week) for a number of reasons (related to my employer, not to the need for the income). My husband is the at-home dad now that I’m back at the office, but both of us were home during my leave so that made it possible. What I WISH I had done (she says trying to cover up the tone of resentment) is started and made some progress on our daughter’s baby book and a photojournal because now I feel like I’m waaaay far behind, and now that she is 7 months and much more active AND I’m back at work, there’s even less time to do stuff like that.

  15. Floyd Oct 16 at 10:59 am Reply Reply

    Amy, totally love you and this is totally irrelevant but um….Bob Barker’s not dead.

  16. Christin Oct 16 at 11:13 am Reply Reply

    Good advice Amy – but – Bob Barker isn’t dead!

  17. Erin Oct 16 at 11:14 am Reply Reply

    Oh my gosh, as a type A mom just back at her first week of work, relish, relish, relish your 12 weeks. There were times when I would feel guilty for “not getting anything done,” but then I would remind myself that no, just staring at the baby and cuddling her is completely okay.

  18. Liz Oct 16 at 11:22 am Reply Reply

    My mornings totally revolved around getting the baby to nap for an hour at 9 am so I could watch Gilmore Girl reruns. This actually helped establish a morning nap pattern down the line! I liked to strap the baby on and Swiffer (baby didn’t like to stay in one place and thinking of ways to stay mobile was challenging). Walks were key, and regular lunches with a co-worker worked well for me (fingers were always crossed for a sleepy baby). If all else fails, put the baby in the car and head to a drive-through Starbucks. You get some caffeine and a break and the baby gets a car ride. If you want to get things done, the sling will be your best friend. You can do almost anything with two free hands!

  19. Kim Oct 16 at 11:26 am Reply Reply

    One thing – Bob Barker is still alive, just retired from Price is Right.
    I found my second maternity leave much more productive than my first. There were several reasons for this. 1. Much more experienced mom the 2nd time around. 2. I knew how fast it would go by and put no pressure on myself. 3. Older child was in preschool so those were some really productive hours while she was gone. 4. Number one biggest reason – baby number 2 was supremely mellow.
    That first maternity leave, there’s just SOOOOO much to figure out. As you say, getting out of the house at all is a major undertaking. One to be applauded. You also just don’t know what kind of baby you are going to get. Some really need to be doing stuff to be happy others are just a nightmare if you don’t stick to a great schedule and everything in between. It’s great to have goals, but man, there’s nothing like kids to just knock all those goals on their asses. Even later in life. Wow, goals, who knew they’d be so hard to achieve when your kids come out with like personalities and stuff.
    Still good times, just really different than life before kids.

  20. Anonymous Oct 16 at 11:43 am Reply Reply

    Seriously, after the baby was born my daily to do list consisted of:
    Feed the baby
    Change the baby
    Try not to cry
    Take a shower
    And, let me tell you, after that shower, I felt so accomplished! Even though sometimes I didn’t get one until 4pm.
    Good luck with your goals! Becoming a mother is life-changing – some things that seemed so important to achieve before the baby, suddenly seem not so important after all.

  21. Kim Oct 16 at 11:44 am Reply Reply

    So…the only thing that I picked up is that you said that Bob Barker passed away. I thought I missed something…He’s NOT dead! Don’t scare me like that!
    Besides that…I have a 3 week old and a 16 month old. As much as I would love to leave the house and go to Target every day, just the thought of getting out with 2 kids makes me just want to stay inside. Once you get a routine, it will become a lot easier to take the baby out and about. In the meantime, take this opportunity to enjoy your baby. They grow so fast!

  22. Michelle Oct 16 at 12:44 pm Reply Reply

    Ok, I can help with this one as I just returned from maternity leave this week.
    Amy is absolutely right that the time flies by and its easy to have lofty goals that aren’t totally grounded in reality. I also planned daily walks that um, didn’t happen nearly as often as I imagined.
    On my list was to get the baby’s professional newborn portraits. Which I did both times. Woo! Go me. Ahem.
    Numerous dr appointments for the baby and me (I had a c-section).
    Took the baby to both my office and my husband’s to show him off.
    We did probably 3 or 4 lunches with my husband. But we went on his slower days and just called when we were on the way so it was a little more flexible.
    Met my mom friend and her kids at the park probably weekly after the baby was a month old or so. But we met at the park literally 5 minutes from my house.
    Took care of small errands/phone calls. Like calling to get our refinance rolling, scheduling the guy to blow out our sprinklers, scheduling the baby’s next checkup, etc. And frankly I had to deal with several phone calls with my company’s disability provider and HR about my maternity leave, etc.
    Prepped some meals for when I was back at work. Ok, I know this sounds insane but we are kind of food snobs and don’t really like casseroles. Plus I don’t like grabbing take-out too often (not good for us or the old pocketbook). So I made a batch of spaghetti sauce, chile verde, beef stew and some corn chowder to put in the freezer. Also browned up several pounds of ground beef and turkey to have in the freezer to speed up meal prep for things like shepherd’s pie and taco.
    But early on…like in the first few weeks? I took naps with my baby, nursed him, gazed at him lovingly and drug ourselves to the dr appointments. The rest of this stuff I mentioned? Mostly happened after 6 weeks or so.

  23. Bitts Oct 16 at 12:45 pm Reply Reply

    One of the thing I’ve learned, after 2 postpartum times after my 2 kids is that you just DON’T KNOW what it’s going to be like when you bring that baby home from the hospital. Even when you’ve done it before and you *think* you know, you DON’T.
    I’m a Type-A ‘planner’ like @Overachiever, but it didn’t take long after bringing my first home to discover that my plans were pie-in-the-sky when faced with the concrete reality of a newborn. That’s not to say that nothing got done — life just didn’t look the way I thought it would.
    Also, you don’t know what your emotions will be, either. Of course, you expect to be sleep-deprived and hormonal, but you may also be ambivalent or panicky or more stressed than you’ve ever been, or more chill than ever … you just don’t know. You really don’t.
    So, @Overachiever, take Amy’s advice to get a general idea of your options, but then don’t expect much of yourself. You’ll be taking it day-by-day once you bring that baby home and so much of what will happen will be disappointing and elating and confusing …
    You won’t know what to expect until you’re in the thick of it, so try to let go of your expectations now and enjoy the ride as much as you can — which, sometimes, may not be much at all, and other times may surpass all the joy you’ve ever known was possible.

  24. eva Oct 16 at 1:17 pm Reply Reply

    In my area the local community centres hold weekly drop ins in partnership with the Health Authority from 1-3pm and there are community health nurses there helping you with breastfeeding, weighing your baby, and giving talks about relevant baby subjects like feeding, safety etc. Totally loved this because there was the 2 hour window, so I was usually able to get in there at some point no matter how long it took to get out the door with my daughter. I met two good momma friends this way!
    I also did a mom and baby boot camp for most of my maternity leave year, once or twice a week, and loved it – mainly for the socializing part where the moms would go for lunch after class:) We also did mom and baby yoga. It kinda sucked because my daughter preferred to spend the whole yoga class breastfeeding and I found yoga-types to be, well, not my type.
    Friend lunches? HA HA HA HA …made it approximately twice in my whole year off. Like Amy, it was just too hard to organize, and friends who *SAID* they would be totally into my baby? Really were…but only on their terms and their schedules:)

  25. Fawn Amber Oct 16 at 1:39 pm Reply Reply

    LMAO…dude… Bob Barker isn’t dead, just retired. And my oldest is now 15, so this is all a distant memory now. I just remember being oh. so. tired.

  26. solitarysunrise Oct 16 at 3:03 pm Reply Reply

    I am about to return to work after 3+ months of maternity leave. Beleive me, it went by so fast! Just yesterday I finally cleaned/reorganized my closet and put my maternity clothes into the garage for storage. Don’t stress about getting nothing done, you will be busy enough with the baby. Since this is my second son, I definetly had to learn to be way more relaxed with him and a preschooler demanding my attention. Sometimes just going to the park for some fresh air seems like a major accomplishment. I agree about streamlining your baby goods, smaller bag is definetly better- less junk to haul around. Take your time. In about 5 minutes you will be heading back to work and feeling bittersweet, leaving the little personality you are finally getting to know and enjoy to someone else.

  27. lindswing Oct 16 at 3:05 pm Reply Reply

    I, too, had high hopes for my maternity leave. Currently, it’s almost noon a month in, and I’m still in bed. I’m in grad school, so I have things due right now (and last week and the week before…) that I haven’t even close to touched, while historically, I’m an academic perfectionist who would be horrified by the thought of turning something in late and half-assed. Now I’m just happy to be getting it in at ALL. There are new mom/breastfeeding support groups in town that I’ve tried to attend every week since my son’s birth, and I’ve barely made it to each once. I managed to clean up the kitchen, put dinner in the crock pot, and unpack a suitcase the other day and was overwhelmed by how successful I had been. And I have a super-easy baby. I’ve been pretty taken off guard by how I’d rather lie in bed all day and kiss my baby’s cheeks than do anything else. It’s been a weird change, but it freaks me out how much he’s changed in the past month already, so I remind myself daily that I’ll regret missing this time with him more than anything else I might do in its place.

  28. kakaty Oct 16 at 4:14 pm Reply Reply

    I agree with everything Amy said for the most part. However, I wasn’t confident enough to go to the Mommy & Me Movie until the last few weeks and wished I had done it more. I love those times out of the house and my girl slept through them all (tip: take a Boppy or pillow and your baby can sleep in your lap & your arms won’t go to sleep). We did 2 trips to my office, 1 trip to my hubbys office, a few outdoor walks and spent a TON of time at the mall (September baby). after the first 4 weeks or so my main goal (beyond showering) was to get out of the house once a day lest I went crazy).

  29. Genevieve Oct 16 at 5:03 pm Reply Reply

    I think everyone has offered a lot of good advice. Some days your major accomplishment is brushing your teeth -before noon. You should also take the time to enjoy your new baby. There is a great deal of fun to be had in just cuddling a little baby. I just had my second baby a little over six weeks ago. In many ways it is easier this go around and for the first time yesterday I took both kids (the other one isn’t quite three yet) with me to the grocery store. That was a major accomplishment thankyouverymuch.
    Often our days are filled with hanging out, maybe reading some stories, watching some Curious George and just cuddling together. It is actually pretty fun.
    It is good to get out of the house. I am a fan of a walk around the neighborhood when it is dry out. Even if it is just a couple of blocks it can help you get out of your head.
    Don’t over schedule yourself or create a huge laundry list of tasks. There is something to be said for giving yourself some “lazy” time. When you have a new baby (especially when they are under three months of age) there really isn’t lazy time.

  30. Elizabeth Oct 17 at 9:05 am Reply Reply

    My only addition is to plug the mother-baby groups you can join as a new mom, to meet other new moms. This was huge for me, to give me opportunities to leave the house in a very casual setting. Plus, almost 3 years later, those women are some of my best friends and go-to playdates.
    Our hospital offers a “class” that’s really just a setting for establishing these relationships, but try meetup.com or craig’s list.

  31. Della Oct 18 at 12:52 pm Reply Reply

    As someone whose first five years of employment consisted only of caring for other peoples’ kids – multiple kids at each of my regular households, I might add – I was no newbie to babies. But I was a newbie to having a newborn, in my own care, all day, every day.
    It is SHOCKING how much time they eat up.
    That “eating 2-3 hours apart” thing? Sometimes it would take 45-60 minutes to complete a feeding, then diaper change and oops blowout change his clothes too! and suddenly it was only 30 minutes until the next feeding was supposed to happen.
    I scoffed at people who said it took an hour to get ready to go somewhere, thinking they were ignoramuses (ignorami?) with poor planning skills. I no longer scoff at these people. Add an extra hour if you’re breastfeeding and decide you’re going to feed the baby before you leave so s/he won’t get hungry while you’re out.
    I’ll stop listing examples because I’m sure others have made the point as well or better than I could. And please don’t feel condescended to, either, when I say you WILL be shocked at how much time this “little bit of work” of taking care of a newborn will take.
    Above all, I hope that if you are like the rest of us and find it a bit overwhelming at first, that you are patient with yourself. It gets better (you get better at it), to some degree, but even trying to be a work-at-home-mom with an 18 month old, who plays by himself and only eats 3 meals a day, was amazingly difficult to pull off when I wasn’t willing to plop him in front of the TV for an hour or so.
    Enjoy your new baby and anything that you do accomplish, and be proud of it! (And echoing Amy – definitely a good goal to take a photo or two every day, and one short video a week. You’ll love going back to them a year from now.)

  32. class factotum Oct 20 at 11:40 am Reply Reply

    This question made me laugh (not in a mean way, though) because
    1. I can identify with the writer. I don’t have a baby, but I lost my job four years ago. Then I got married. Then I wanted to work because I thought, Oh, I’ll be SOOO bored if I stay at home. Guess what? I’m not. It’s really fun just to go to the gym and hang out with my friends. And there is always plenty to do around the house. I am retired, baby.
    2. My friend who used to negotiate union contracts and is one of the most organized, calm people I know was brought to her knees by her first baby. She would call me at 4 p.m. and say, “I haven’t even taken a shower yet.” I don’t wish that on you (she had a colicky baby) but feeding and changing a baby can be time consuming.

  33. Jaymee Oct 20 at 11:41 am Reply Reply

    OMG a whole list of things to do!?!? I consider myself lucky if I get to change my shirt after being spit up on!! My husband was deployed when our son was 2 weeks old. My days go something like this: Feed the baby, change the baby’s diaper, change the baby’s clothes because he spit up all over himself(and me, but I’m usually not lucky enough to change my own clothes), change baby’s diaper again because in the amount of time it took to change his clothes his diaper is full again, and let the dog outside just in time to feed the baby again. My son NEVER sleeps though, so if I get to go to the bathroom it’s a miracle. Hopefully your child will understand the concept of sleeping.

  34. Margie Oct 23 at 3:41 pm Reply Reply

    Yes to all of this, with one addition: If you plan to breastfeed, it may be helpful to know that one of the many cool benefits of the oxytocin you’ll release is that it makes you more able to handle monotony. I’m not even sure what I did those first six weeks, especially, but I know I gazed at the baby a LOT and not much else, and I was so happy, just like all these other commenters described. I held her so much that my hubby even made lunches for me that I could prepare and eat one handed because I couldn’t bear to put her down. I look back at wonder at how I wasn’t bored, but I also am so glad that I went with my gut and just reveled in the baby whenever I felt like it. I loved those weeks!

  35. Lori Oct 25 at 10:45 pm Reply Reply

    I agree with a lot of these comments. I wouldn’t even try to make a list of stuff to accomplish that is longer than 4 things:
    1. GET TO KNOW YOUR BABY
    2. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BABY
    3. SLEEP
    4. SHOWER
    Yeah, that’s about it. I spent 12 weeks doing that and it flew by. I did get one lunch out w/coworkers but that was right before I went back to work! It took that long to get my stuff together. ;) Good luck!

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