Ok, maybe I’m a little late in making the announcement. After all, Joel was born 6 weeks ago today… And we knew he was a boy a long time ago. But, better late than never, right?
Consuela and I haven’t posted an article here for over 6 weeks…but I’m excited to announce that we’re back!! We took time off because of the baby. And, although I would love to tell you that we planned to take exactly 6 weeks off from writing when we had the baby. That it was always part of the master plan. We thought about it, prayed about it, and came up with the plan that we would wait to write for 6 weeks.
But, that’s not at all how it went. Not. Even. Close.
Things change when you have a baby. Maybe you know that. But, you would think that after having three others, we wouldn’t experience as much of a change. Once again, not the case. Here are 3 ways that parents’ worlds change when you have a baby and some ideas to help lessen the blow that comes with that change:
1. There’s no sleep to be had. No, don’t get me wrong, Joel is an awesome sleeper. He’s the best of the four. In fact, I find myself wondering if it’s really that he’s a good sleeper or if it’s simply that mom and dad are less anxious and jumpy about every little thing. But, regardless, he sleeps great. But sleep is definitely NOT what it was before. We’re waking up in the middle of the night. Going to bed late and waking up early. Missing naps. etc. etc.
The best way to help here is have correct expectations. Going into it, have it in your mind that you will get less sleep with a newborn. Of course, there’s ways to “share the load” of having to get up in the middle of the night so that your spouse and you can still get a good night of sleep every other night. In other words, Monday night is my night to get up and Tuesday is Consuela’s. Or I get up with Joel if he wakes up before 2am and Consuela gets up with him if it’s after 2am. Expect it and then work together to find ways that you can both enjoy a good night of sleep every now and then.
2. Routines are wrecked. Whether you’re having your first or your eleventh, the routines that you had pre-baby can no longer be the same. Babies eat multiple times a day. Babies poop multiple times a day. Babies need rocking, soothing, cuddling…multiple times a day. And, although we try to keep up at the pace of life we were used to, it just isn’t possible.
It can be difficult to know exactly how your routines will be wrecked, because every child is different. But, start by evaluating your calendar. What are the things that can be moved? What are the things that aren’t necessary during this season of life? What are the things that can be scheduled differently (i.e. on days off, earlier in the morning, later in the day, etc.)? Also, since the other children in your home will have to deal with a changing routine, begin talking to them about it and prepare them as well – you can even enlist their help in identifying the answers to the questions I just listed.
3. Mom and Dad are irritable. With the lack of sleep, the change in routines, and everything else that comes with having a baby, mom and dad can have the tendency to be irritable. With each other. With the other kids. With co-workers. With the person behind the counter at Starbucks. It’s a reality.
Consuela and I have had the agreement since our first child that when a new baby enters the mix, I take ownership of caring for the older kid(s) and she takes care of the newborn. I give baths, fix breakfast, get them ready for school. She changes diapers, feeds Joel, and gives him baths. Of course, we still share these duties, but it happens in this way most of the time for us. We’ve found that when we feel like we have help in this battle called “parenting” and when there are clear expectations, we are better able to manage our emotions.
We enjoy this season of life. Joel is already a blessing to us and we love him so much. Our other 3 kids are thrilled that he’s a part of our family too! And the best thing about having a newborn is that they won’t be a newborn forever. There is light at the end of the tunnel. But, being aware of and addressing these three areas have helped us tremendously in how we “do life.”
Comment below and let us know your thoughts…