Some of you have been waiting a really, really, long time for me to answer your emails, and for that I apologize. Hopefully it just makes you realize that I am normal and have a threshold for what I can handle, just like you! I am not Supermom
If you have time and think it would help other moms, can you talk a little about how you survive the last 2 weeks of pregnancy and the first 4-6 weeks postpartum, when the baby starts sleeping longer stretches? We have a daily schedule, meals in the fridge, and a somewhat structured home. We have three little girls right now, ages 6, 4, and 2, with #4 due today, and obviously not here! J We are homeschooling the oldest two, and started school back in June so we could take our ‘summer’ when the baby comes, and just do as much school as we need for sanity & structure.
Thank you so much for your encouragement & example!
Well, if I've figured correctly, that sweet baby due "today" is now two months old. Yipes! I am behind, aren't I???
You know, my life is very different now than when I had the same ages as yours: 6, 4, 2, and a newborn. For one thing, having older kids is an amazing amount of help, and for another, I actually have help coming into my house now. I'll blog on that later, but suffice it to say that I think those earlier years when the oldest of four is just six years old are HARD.
My husband can't take time off from work. Once a patient actually got upset with his receptionist when she told him that my husband wasn't in the office because his wife was in labor. Between impatient patients and running his dental practice solo, he just can't be away from the office very long. I can't remember which baby, but with one who was born in the morning, he actually went back to work and saw patients in the afternoon. I just can't rely on him for help and I marvel at the dads who are given a paid six-week paternity leave. If that's your husband, be thankful!
As for surviving the last two weeks, I can tell you that I haven't been very good about it in the past. The pressure that feels like a bowling ball (you all can relate, I'm sure), the sleeplessness, the exhaustion, the constant heartburn, and my sciatic nerve keeping me in pain made those last weeks a marathon of emotional and physical endurance.
But then the last pregnancy was completely different, although considering the pregnancy (my eighth), the fact that it was on the heels of a miscarriage, and my age (36), it shouldn't have been. But the last pregnancy was the first one in which I was taking a fabulous supplement and having regular chiropractic care. One or the other or both made all the difference in the world.
It might be a good idea to store up freezer meals during the second trimester when we feel good. Then in the last few weeks, dinner is done. I'd also think about super-simple meals the rest of the day-- cereal or peanut butter toast for breakfast and cheese, crackers, and apples for lunch. If that's what you serve for 14 straight days, it's ok. It's a season. Oh, and eliminate or simplify snacks. You don't need a fourth meal to clean up. Oh, AND, eat outside where the crumbs don't have to be swept up
In the weeks postpartum, life is about survival and being a kind mom. I'm a failure at this. Apparently day four is my worst, or so my husband has noticed. So I am already thinking about what I can do to be prepared for the day my hormones all attack at once and I am an exhausted, crying mess (wow, I sound pathetic, don't I?). I might try to see if some of my littler or "trickier" ones can have a play date at a friend's home, or if I just need to sit the older ones down and let them know that I need to be in bed for the day. My older ones are all so sweet when I have a need like that, but when I just had little ones like you, I think the best thing would have been to ask a friend to take them for the day.
Take the first few weeks or months (whatever you need) postpartum to ease into life. This is a great time to invite all the children to snuggle in bed with you in the morning and turn on a short video to watch together. Take the day slowly. Don't stress about school. Enjoy the baby but insist everyone have an afternoon rest or nap time. Make hot cocoa with marshmallows and read picture books aloud while recouping on the couch. Keep the little ones close by so they aren't in another room destroying everything in reach.
I am sorry it took me so long to respond to your questions, but hopefully your postpartum weeks went well.