becoming a new parent is no joke and not an easy task. you are constantly tested, consistently tired and continuously changing diapers. it is flat out hard, for both of you.
i used to shake my head when people us to tell us things like, “no matter what you do you can’t prepare yourselves for children.” now…i completed understand what they meant. my husband and i took the classes. we read the books. we did our research and nothing can prepare you until that baby is actually in your arms.
here are some things we have done in our first thirty days of being new parents together that have helped us remain sane and connected as a couple.
1) sunshine walks after the first week: 10 minutes of sunshine and getting out of the house is a game changer – plus it has totally made being pregnant in the summer worth it! sometimes it feels like you have to stay in and this actually took effort for us to put on clothes, tie our shoes and wrap the baby up for a stroll. breathe in the fresh air, close your eyes and let the vitamin D soak in your skin.
2) board games: we love games! remember, you are still aloud to have fun! take a table in the house and set up a board game or where you can play cards. most likely you won’t be able to get through an entire game without the baby crying or doing a diaper change but all you have to do is set the pieces or cards down and pick up at a later time.
3) hire a house cleaner: have your house cleaned while you are away at the hospital or birthing center and two weeks after you come back home. that way, when you bring your baby home for the first time you don’t have to worry about dirty floors or a messy kitchen. This was the best money we have spent in a long time!
4) disposable eatery: i didn’t want to do dishes when we didn’t have a baby let alone when i am sleep deprived and hangry (hungry + angry). get some disposable plates, bowls, napkins and plastic wear so you don’t have to worry about doing he dishes for a while. remember to find the ones you can recycle or that are compostable to be good to the environment!
5) family/friend visits: have them cook you a meal or pick one up after work to deliver it. have them come over and hold the baby while you take a shower or you two eat a meal together or take a walk just the two of you. this has been so helpful as my husband and i transition from just the two of us to now the three of us (one demanding slightly more than t others).
6) sleep when they sleep: i don’t care if it is 11am or 4pm if they are sleeping, sleep! your sanity will thank you and you will feel somewhat more rested, at least as much rest as you can.
7) re-watch funny reruns: log into that Hulu or Netflix account and watch some episodes of Parks and Rec or Seinfeld. Nothing suspenseful like CSI or Scandal because you need laughter! it is important to laugh while you are holding your baby and with your spouse/partner because throughout the day it can get tough. laugh often and have funny reruns on in the background to remind yourself to smile every now and again!
8) shower often then put on clean clothes: This one seems obvious but it took me about a week to realize this one! It is amazing how a shower and clean clothes can make you feel like a new person. don’t put on clean pajama pants and an undershirt, put on real clothes that you would go out in! it will make you feel productive and give you a pep to your step. plus, your partner/spouse will thank you for smelling better!
9) designate at least one de-cluttered zone: This one is crucial! Your house, if it isn’t already, is going to look like a baby factory exploded in your home and it is important to have one spot in the house that when you feel overwhelmed you can go to, take in a deep breath and realize everything is okay. Designate it the “de-cluttered zone” and allow nothing but Zen like items in it!
hang in there. you got this. being new parents is hard. we have so much to do between the doctor visits and diaper changes and balancing our personal and professional life! it can seem overwhelming but apparently people do it all the time and survive so we shall too! always talk to a professional when you need to or when things are getting too hard, there is no shame is saying, “i need help, i don’t know what i am doing.”
with that, off to nap because that baby is finally sleeping!