And by YOU, I mean WE – we mothers (and dads) out there. We teachers, stay at home moms, and all the jobs in between. How does A PERSON manage it all, especially in that first year of a baby’s life?
And my answer is I don’t know. But I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, and the topic keeps popping up in my day to day life. I guess that means it’s time to write it down.
I’ve been struggling with this stage in the twins’ lives. Yes, they are 13 months old and therefore we are past the first year, but I’m extending it because this stage comes in second behind the newborn stage as the hardest for us so far.
B is a total walker now, C a complete crawler. They can’t be left alone unless they are in “baby jail” – the play yard made of baby gates – and even if they’re in there, they will bicker and fuss after a few minutes. With B switching to one nap and C still on two, I have babies napping at 9, 12, and 2 and NEVER during my day do I get even a five minute break with both babies sleeping. I’m not complaining, I’m just…whining.
B is still going through a sleep regression with middle of the night wakings and terrible naps. His one nap today was a whopping 40 minutes long. His personality has changed, and he’s become very head-strong, with many a temper tantrum every day. In the same breath, in recent weeks he has learned how to share (still a rare occurrence), he has learned many words he can say on cue (Daddy, Mommy, doggy, ball, spoon, cheese), many signs he can use (more, all done, eat, water, milk) and such random tasks as throwing and kicking a ball, sorting items into baskets, and retrieving anything I ask for (my shoe, the toy pig, etc.) He grins like crazy as he scampers down the hall. He runs full speed into my legs, clinging for dear life as he says “mama, mama”. He has learned how to play “chase” with his sister, a very cute game that sends them both into hysterical giggles.
And C is no different – she can do all of those same things B does (except walk), with an emphasis on language development – saying the word “more” (“mo”) as she signs it, trying out different words on her tongue such as “purple” and “yellow” that aren’t too far off the mark. She LOVES to sort and will put toys in different baskets for a long period of time. She also loves books and points to each creature with eyes and talks in her little baby language. She’s finally on to the sippy cup instead of the bottle and they both are done with formula. She’s an absolute charmer, batting her eyelashes for people in the grocery store and giving her best toothy grin when the camera comes out.
They’re getting big. They’re just BARELY babies – I’m holding onto that for dear life, but it’s almost over. They’re basically toddlers. And all of that is SO wonderful. And yet, I feel like I can barely keep my head above water!
For one thing, I’m going back to work after 1.5 years of being out of the classroom. One day in April 2013, I told my students I had a doctor’s appointment and would be back in the morning, but I never came back. I was on bedrest from 23 weeks until 35, when the babies were born. When I go back to work in a few weeks, I want to
1) teach our brand new curriculum that I haven’t yet seen, much less planned for,
2) have a classroom that looks decent,
3) NOT bring much school work home, but
4) NOT stay late at school to get it done, as I have a nanny and don’t want to pay overtime.Not only do I want to get home early enough and not do work at night, but I want to
5) have dinner ready in the crock pot 9 times out of 10 because if we don’t, we won’t be eating until midnight and
6) spend quality time with the babies when I get home from work at 4 until they go to bed at 7ish. And of course, after they go to bed, I want to
7) get my chores done right away (make everyone’s lunches, clean up from dinner, wash sippy cups, walk dogs, straighten the house, etc. – my husband I split these) so that I can make a firm dent in my couch, only to
8) get to bed at a reasonable hour so I can do it all again the next day.
Now, looking back on this list – it gives me some anxiety. This is CRAZY! But yet, it’s exactly what I want and in a way, expect of myself. Notably missing from my list are 9) QT time with the husband and 10) EXERCISE. Number 9 is important, and number 10 isn’t happening in my near future, so I’m letting that one go right away.
I just don’t know how to make it all happen. But some moms have this work/parent/dinner thing down to a science, so I want to know – how do they do it?? How do you find the balance, and how do you know what things to just let go?
While being a stay at home mom, the babies have come first. I have had first hand experience in “letting things go” – and the things I chose were exercising, the organization and cleanliness of my house, and our dinners. My nanny has spent a few hours with us, just getting to know the babies and myself. I’ve found myself telling her not to go into the basement yet because it looks like an episode of Hoarders (true story – but not the hoarding). Or opening up the garage to get the stroller and asking her to watch her step over the recycling items pouring out of the bin and onto the floor of the garage. Or the fur balls that C is picking up as she crawls around the floor. Or our lawn that hasn’t been mowed in weeks. I mean, I’m embarrassed. It’s BAD. I wonder how we don’t manage to find the time on the weekends to deal with these things, but we don’t. And we aren’t taking the babies to the zoo or hanging out watching movies (I haven’t sat and watched a movie since I was on bed rest). I don’t even know what we’re doing, but I can tell you this – it isn’t relaxing. So I let it go.
When does “Don’t worry, you have twins” run its course as an excuse for ANYTHING? Because I’m still applying it, but I think time may be running out.
And if I couldn’t keep my house together and get dinner on the table (or get my husband to get dinner on the table – ha) while being “home all day” – how will I do it when I’m at work?
I’m just struggling here, thinking about how to find the balance. I haven’t found it yet, but I keep assuring myself that when I go back to work, I’ll find it. Likely, the exact opposite is true and I don’t like how that feels.
I read once, and have heard it again since (from my own parents), what I’m finding to be the BEST advice I have heard in regards to what it’s like with a baby(ies). I only wish I heard it sooner and could’ve let it sink in. That piece of advice is this: When a new baby comes into your life, the things you used to do, you won’t do. The things you want to do, you can’t do. You may carve out a little time for a few of your most valued hobbies, but even then, you won’t have the time you used to. Your life will change for the better, absolutely, but you won’t live the same lifestyle that you’ve spent ___ years creating. It’ll be a
full year years before you can return to it. You used to be clean, healthy and fit? You prepared elaborate meals while doing your hair and makeup daily? You walked in a patient, slow manner and had time for friends and your expensive hobbies? Well now, that’s over. Really over. But it’s temporary. It’ll all come back, it just may be years down the line. And one day, I’ll have a clean house. But when I do, my babies won’t be babies. They might be entering school for all I know – and they’ll make their beds in the morning and argue over whose turn it is to load the dishwasher, saving me a few chores to do myself. And do I really want to rush to that moment? No, no I don’t. And maybe there’s my balance after all.