It's three in the afternoon, and your new baby is asleep. How do you spend the time?
- a. Tackle a pile of laundry or unload the dishwasher
- b. Pump to build your freezer stash of breast milk
- c. Nap
- d. Shower or go to the bathroom
If you're like me, you may not do any of these things. In the awesome event that both of my twins are asleep or someone else is home to watch them in the middle of the day, I can never decide how to spend my time. Rather, I wander around in a stupor, fretting about all the possibilities of what I could do and wondering how long my good fortune will last. In the end, nothing gets accomplished — clothes are everywhere, food gets burnt, or I may lie down long enough just to close my eyes before someone needs attention.
If you're like me, then some of the most common advice for new moms may be the most difficult: “Sleep when the baby sleeps” and “Accept help when you get it.” As far as the sleeping goes, I can never feel at ease sleeping when they sleep. At naptime, the longer they sleep, the more likely it is that they wake up as soon as I drift off, so in the end, I stay awake. At night, I’ve pretty much given up on trying to go to bed, and it’s not because their grunts and coos keep me awake. It just seems easier to wait for the crying to start than to be woken up every twenty minutes — right now my twins are in a relay race of fighting sleep and the interruptions are never-ending. And while I've had plenty of help from family, I usually have mixed feelings about accepting it. I need the help so desperately, but if someone volunteers to watch the babies so I can nap, for example, I can’t seem to tear myself away. I feel guilty for having some alone time, so I kind of hang around watching someone else hold and play with my kiddos.
So what advice do I have for you if you are, in fact, like me? Unfortunately the suggestions that are hardest for me to take are also what I would highly recommend to new moms. It’s what I would love to do. So to make these things easier, I would do these three things:
- Drop what you’re doing when the baby falls asleep. You never know if she’ll sleep for 10 minutes or two hours. Don’t waste precious time!
- If you feel guilty having someone else play with your baby, then ask them to do the dishes instead! Or laundry, or bring over a meal, or any other chore you can outsource while you hold your little one.
- Also, you could have them take the baby out of the house. You’ll be amazed how quiet it is and it might be easier for you to take a nap or use the bathroom without waiting to hear someone scream.
What's the best advice you've gotten as a new parent?