K-Pants and I are excited about the arrival of baby number two. That is, we’re excited when we’re not worried. And we’re worried a lot. Probably because we haven’t been taking very good care of our fake baby.
Our neighbors lent us a Cabbage Patch doll named Baby Jesus. K-Pants decided to dress Baby Jesus in a sweat suit.
We tend to leave Baby Jesus on his own a lot. K-Pants will hide him around a corner when we’re out to eat, or I’ll stash him in the car—unbuckled, with the windows rolled up. And Baby Jesus gets a lot of what Mr. Pants calls “Big Ow’s.”
I think we both realize that our world is about to be upended, so why not neglect the fake baby until the real thing comes?
Which brings me to the second installment of survival tips for the arrival of the second child, furnished by my Real Housewives of New Jersey. Last week’s new baby tips came from Kim at Let Me Start By Saying. This week my good friend Donna is up. She just had her third boy—and they’re all under five—so she knows what she’s talking about.
Have a goal everyday. This sounds lofty but I mean have a purpose to get you out of the house. Sometimes ours are as small as walking to the post office, getting to the store or the pharmacy, or getting to swim class on time. It’s like that movie with Hugh Grant—the day is made up of little half-hour segments and you can fill them one at a time until the day is done. Just getting out of the house can improve things most days and it is good for the boys. Also, I make it a goal to check email and check in with my Momterage (the ladies) everyday, which is hard but necessary even if it is just how is everyone sleeping, did you get a shower today, etc.
Take a break from dinner (I am the queen of this one). We are on the Fresh Direct circuit to be sure. [Editor’s note: if you don’t have the Fresh Direct grocery/meal delivery service, figure out what grocery stores or take-out places deliver in your area.] I am also limiting all meals to two things on the plate and three ingredients each if I am actually cooking. Friday is “kitchen closed” for pizza night and weekends are strictly for Daddy grilling.
We also make a menu for the week posted on the family board to make sure we have everything from the store and know how much time we need for prep. There is no longer the opportunity to run into the grocery store to get something last-minute, so we make sure we have a plan and punt if we do not.
Send it out. Okay, I know we like to do everything ourselves, but sometimes subbing it out just has to be the way. I have friends who send all their laundry out; I do not do this but definitely take all my husband’s shirts to the cleaners—the iron has sadly not been plugged in since baby number two was born. We now have a cleaning lady twice a month, which is great because she does the “hard cleaning” and changes the sheets on the beds. This also motivates us to keep the house in order else we have to rush around stressing the night before she comes.
Nine out of ten is just fine. No one is perfect, especially a mom with babies, so sometimes getting through the day has to be your goal. My kids do watch TV some during the day but I limit it most days. PBS Sprout is great for that because they have little 8–10 minute shows during the day, so the boys can watch Thomas while Mommy gets ready or eats lunch. I’ve also learned to take little things the boys love and use them to my advantage—like they love picnics so sometimes I make them a picnic lunch and serve it on a blanket in the living room to get them to eat, or I act like a waitress to get them to try something new off their plate.
Overall, I laugh that if they are clean and smiling, crazy hair is not the worst thing in the world, nor is missing a swim class here or there because you can’t get it together, nor is picking up fries as a snack because you are dying for a Diet Coke.
The kids are happy and healthy (most of the time), and I have to make amends with the rest, right?
Above all else, remember the mantra that the days are long but the years are short. These are the times we will look back and smile and wish they were here again… before the kids get sassy or don’t want to snuggle anymore. We might as well enjoy them, right?