You're Outnumbered. Now What?
Congratulations and welcome to the club! You are going to be outnumbered soon and will know what it really feels like to have your hands full. You already feel stretched thin and the thought of adding one more child seems impossible. You’re right. While you may be at your limit, that doesn’t mean you are completely maxed out. You are just maxed out right now. Once you welcome your new little squish into your home you will learn to cope with even more demands on your time, I promise. Here are some things that helped me when I became a mother of three. Remember, you got this.
1. Lower the expectations. Unfortunately, motherhood is nothing like the movies (you learned this real fast in the labor and delivery room) yet the expectations we put on ourselves might as well be. It’s a trend that needs to go away and go away real fast. We are quick to judge ourselves harshly based on what Penelope Perfect posted on Instagram. What?! Girlfriend, give yourself grace, love yourself and for the love…lower the expectations! You may think you are doing a shit job as a mother of three (or more) but the fact that you are taking the time to read this right now says a lot. It tells me you are a kick ass mom. Keep doing what your doing and please continue reading. It gets better.
2. Take the help. There’s no need to try and do everything on your own. Believe it or not, people want to help mothers when they bring home a new baby. When they offer anything, take it! When they ask, “what do you need?”, tell them and don’t be shy about it. I’m sure later down the road you will be happy to return the favor when they need you because your awesome like that.
3. Babywear. This one is pretty straight forward. Wear that baby! Trust me mama, it will make caring for the big kids so much easier. We are talking about free hands after all. Your baby can even catch a snooze on your chest while you drop your older kids off at school.
4. Meal plan. I know what you may be thinking. This sounds like a HUGE task and impossible right now but sit tight and refer back to tip #1 if you need a refresher. Meal planning does not have to be this perfect thing you found on Pinterest. Think simple. Start with snacks. I’ve learned the quickest way to a toddler meltdown revolves around food. By the way, toddlers have the worst timing of anyone I know. The second you sit down to feed your newborn the big kids will get the memo and want to eat too. Like, right now! The quickest way to fix this problem is to have easy snacks prepped and ready to go. Your kids can still eat healthy without you standing in front of the fridge wondering what to give them.
Another great way to stay ahead of the food game is to meal prep with friends. Grab the wine and turn this into a fun time with girlfriends. They may be in the same boat you are and would love to spend time prepping meals with you.
5. Self-Care day. Self-care is key! You can’t give what you don’t have so if you are running on empty, girl fill your tank. There’s no right or wrong way to do this and may even require some experimenting. You may find taking a full morning, afternoon, or an entire day to get exactly what you need. How does a weekend away with girlfriends sound? You may not be at that level yet but when you get there, I highly suggest it.
For now, start by asking your partner, your mother, your mother-in-law or your really close friend to help give you a break. Let me be clear, this time is all about YOU! This is not the time to wash the dishes, fold laundry or clean the house. Find a quiet place and read a book, plug into your favorite podcast or binge watch that Nexflix series you’ve been putting off for so long. It’s ok to be selfish sometimes, healthy even. Think of it like a teaching tool for your kids. By taking care of yourself, you are teaching your children the importance of self-care. You are showing them, hey, it’s ok to ask for help.
Bonus tip. Hire a postpartum doula. What’s a postpartum doula you ask? A postpartum doula is postpartum & newborn care expert that is there for you in ways you need her most. Light housekeeping, meal prep, laundry, and breastfeeding support are just a few things you can expect when you hire a postpartum doula. Overnight care, you got it! Your doula is happy to feed your baby and give you the night off so you can catch up on sleep and recharge. Breastfeeding? That’s cool too. We can bring your baby to you when she’s ready to nurse and then soothe her back to sleep so you can do the same.
You may be outnumbered and that’s ok but remember, you got this.