I never believed my friends with babies who said ‘you’ll get nothing done’ and I never understood why they were always late. Such small humans must be the easiest thing to carry with you at the time you need to leave the house to make it to that dinner party. Or I truly thought that ‘sleep like a baby’ was a true saying. So if a baby sleeps that much you must surely get SO MUCH done in a day?! I thought of maternity leave as a 1 year long holiday.
I have in my 8 weeks as a newborn’s mother come to realise what that ‘nothing’ means, and that it is, while the best thing in the world, anything else but a long holiday. Inspired by another mother’s take on new motherhood I thought I’d share mine.
I spend my days doing the following:
Feed him. Every 1-2 hours throughout the day and night. Which not only paves a healthy path in his life with all the antibodies in my breastmilk, increasing his immunity, but potentially prevents me getting certain illnesses too. Win-win (but not if you ask my nipples)!
Hold him. During feeding, after feeding falling asleep, sometimes dancing to make him fall asleep without boob, and while he sleeps (and during this time he develop his brain the most) as his naps during days decreases in time if I put him down – and sometimes I just want a break and allow him to be my permanent hot water bottle and watch Netflix quietly, and finish the episode.
Teach him to speak. I speak to him, narrating everything from changing his nappy to making lunch and talking about my feelings – in true Attenborough style (recommended to me through one of my apps). This will be the basic of his language skills. At 8 weeks he already talks back!
Teach him about this world by stimulating his senses. Play with shadows, sounds, distances of objects, my voice…
Shower while keeping him entertained (singing and waving my hands). I have a window of 5 min each morning when I know he’s completely content on the floor by himself unless Matthew takes him before he’s off to work.
Feed myself – If I’m lucky. Make it & eat it one handedly. I would actually call this a super power of mums, harder than you think! If no hands then a biscuit will do. Or a pear. I cane pears at the moment. And honey sesame bars.
Express milk so Matthew can feed him in the evening, giving me a few hours of sleep before night shifts starts around 12-1 in the morning. Panic if I one day have forgotten milk. These few hours of sleep and ‘no baby’ makes me a sane mother.
Respond to tears, smiles, dirty nappies, tummy aches, pukes and all other baby body reactions.
I guess sleep should be in here, I try to sleep when he sleeps during the night. Daytime not so much as I got all this nothingness to do when he sleeps.
Walk our dog. Match her walk with Leo’s feed & sleep and hope he remains asleep throughout the walk. If not keep calm and carry on (with boobs hurting and leaking – happens each time he cries).
Maintain a somewhat social life. Maybe a coffee with a fellow mum at the local bakery. Always late, both of us, and takes a whole days energy to leave the house. But oh so worth it to speak to someone who speaks back (even though I love Leo’s ‘Ah’ ‘Eh’ and ‘Oh’).
Strengthen my body which took a beating by pregnancy. Yoga once a week? Need to wait for Leo to find it entertaining to be on his back though (hoping this will happen when he discover his hands).
And all the other stuff my breastfeeding sleep deprived brain have forgotten…
If this is what you call doing nothing. Yes then I do helluvalot of nothing all day every day.
Doing nothing can be the most challenging thing. But I would not change it for anything in the world. I would not even change it for a 1 year long holiday ‘no limit’. Being a new mom is 24/7 work. More so than any work I’ve done before, but more rewarding than anything.
Leo you are so important to me and Matthew and doing nothing with you all day and see you develop, makes us so proud to be your parents.