When you find out you’re pregnant with baby number 2 or 3 (or more!) you rather quickly realise that all those pregnancy and new baby books aren’t going to be particularly helpful this time round. Full of tips about not lifting when you’re 8 months pregnant, and napping while your baby naps.
So what the heck do you do when you have a new baby and you’ve already got another small person or two to look after?
Here are my best tips from my own experiences of surviving the three kids aged three and under mayhem
- Buy a chest freezer. Fill it up. Cook double or triple batches of meals, buy ready frozen dinners, if friends offer help, ask them for a meal. It will save your life on those days (and there are many) that you are too tired to even think about how and when you will prepare a meal. Check out Trade Me or The Warehouse for good deals.
- Get help if you can, particularly in the afternoons. If you can stretch the finances, find a nanny who can work a few afternoons a week. Or ask family if there’s anyone around who can spare an afternoon a week to take the older ones out while you feed the baby (who is notoriously hungry all evening when you’re trying to feed the other kids and get them to bed!)
- Have LOW expectations on what you’ll achieve over the next year or so. If your kids eat baked beans for dinner every night for a week, they will be fine. If they eat scrambled eggs every night the next week, they will also be fine. Now is not the time to work on your Donna Hay cooking repertoire. Keep it simple!
- Cut back on every extra curricular activity / community involvement that you have – for at least 6-12 months. You will have plenty of time to resume such activities, but if you try to do it all you will go mad.
- What makes you happy? Music? Good food? Getting outside? Think of 2 or 3 small things that make you happy, are important to your sense of wellbeing, to aim incorporate into your day. Mine are –
- Coffee – I aim to have an uninterrupted cup of coffee every morning before my husband goes to work (it’s the only hot drink that I get a chance to drink all day, and is essential to my ability to function!)
- Creating – making anything in the form of sewing, hand craft, or baking feeds my soul.
- Exercise – has been less than regular for the last 2 years, but when I do get my running shoes on and head out the door, I always feel better for it.
- Food – treats from the supermarket or local deli are a welcome contrast to left over marmite sandwiches and spaghetti that I eat most of the day.
It’s the little things every day that are important, and if you don’t make an effort to incorporate a handful of things into your day, you will very quickly start to feel resentful of the fact that you are constantly making sacrifices, and that nothing in your day or week is about you (I learnt this the hard way). The reality is that it is a season in which there is not a lot of time for you, but if you carve out even 5-10 minutes each day that are all about you, it will definitely help keep you from going mad!