I have yet to say, “I have a new baby, cut me some slack!” Regardless, other people say that to me all the time — as in, “Don’t worry about it, you have a new baby!” or, “Relax, I didn’t expect you to get to that!”
At which point I tend to agree with them.
Yet, I can’t help wondering how much of this is valid. On one hand, having a new baby is absolutely a life-changing, world-jolting event. Even if it’s not your first, your daily patterns still get upended and the amount of time you have to get things done shrinks down to just a few minutes in the day.
On the other hand, since kids stay with you for 18 years (give or take), you’ve pretty much got to learn to adjust quickly, multitask, and pick and choose what you tackle versus what you just let go.
The other day, a voicemail message came through my phone because it had been saved for 21 days and was due to be deleted. I balked when I listened to it—it was from a new friend who needed some information, and I had completely spaced on calling her back.
That’s not the only thing that has fallen through the cracks. I have yet to finish sending thank-you cards for all the gifts we received when Chloe was born. Many of the personal emails I’ve received have gone unanswered. I even still need to take my friend out for lunch as a thank-you for throwing me a baby shower (that get-together got curbed since Chloe was born the morning after the shower!).
When it comes to some things, I’m perfectly aware that I’m being too hard on myself and I have to remember I have a brand new little cherub who occupies—and deserves to occupy—all my free time and attention. But how long does that last? When do people start expecting you to snap out of it and jump back in the race of daily living?
Cam and I haven’t made things any easier on ourselves. When Caden was born, Cam took two full weeks off and then worked part-time for three months. When Chloe was born, Cam just took the two weeks off. On top of that, we decided to install and plant a monster garden in our backyard as well as redecorate the downstairs portion of our house. Out with the old furniture, in with the new. And all of this has happened since Chloe was born.
The best I can figure is that it’s a journey, and you have to keep aiming high and striving to be better—but at the same time, you can’t let yourself get too bummed when you miss a goal. Would I like to be more productive? Absolutely. Am I glad we decided to take on so much at one time? Yes, because although it seems like a lot of work now, it’s actually got more to do with adjusting our lifestyle to complement our growing family.
The one thing I’m working hard to make myself do—and I advise this to you, as well—is to not worry about any pressures or timelines or stresses when you have your little baby in your arms. For me, that time belongs to Chloe, and that’s when she deserves my full, unstressed, focused attention.