What it's really like coming home with a new baby to a full house!
What happens when you don’t have time to “rest” post-partum? Haven’t recently given birth to my 3rd child (a week ago today) I still am bombarded with the great advice of “rest well and utilize your village for support”. What does that even mean when you have other kids? For me we have two other kids ages 3 ½ and 17 months along with a pair of older kids ages 13 and 16. The teenagers are my step kids who we have every other week. So, to say we are a full house is an understatement. Bunch of kids and varying needs. While the birth of our 5th child is awesome the reality is life goes on. Life doesn’t stop because a new person got added to the mix. In fact it often makes things more complicated, less funds and overall can induce stress for all parties involved. Here are the realities of bringing home a new baby when you already have a full house.
1. Expect to rest whenever and however you can. Rest for me does NOT include uninterrupted sleep. Instead its being awake (because supervision is important) and having my husband do the cooking, cleaning (light) and laundry. So while I’m not laid in bed getting my beauty rest, I am physically resting my body by not doing household chores and instead looking after our brood (aka putting on the TV, supervising snacks and propping my feet up).
2. Don’t rely on friends and family to offer help. I don’t mean the arbitrary “do you need anything” but seriously now is the time to use your voice. When they call to check in don’t be shy about saying “Hey do you think you could bring over etc.” and if they ask to come over and see the baby here is your in to request anything your family may need outside of blood and organs😊
3. Be firm with family members and well-meaning friends. If someone annoyed you before they will absolutely irk your nerves post-partum. Limit any visitors as you see fit. Don’t attend the birthday parties, holiday celebrations or anything that will stress you out. It’s okay to say “no”.
4. Help the other kids understand that your attention and time will be stretched until you find your new normal. While I know folks snub television and I-Pads for toddlers they are saving us right now. When we need a moment of sheer piece out comes the I-Pad. No guilt just surviving over here. If you have older kids help them assume more responsibility for themselves. They can make their own meals, snacks and keep things tidy while you and your partner recover and attend to the needs of the most vulnerable.
5. Be gentle with yourself. Whether you are breast or bottle feeding, disposable or cloth diapering, returning to work at 6 weeks or staying home indefinitely leave the judgement to others. You’ve JUST had a baby and you’re doing the best you can.