Do you see a theme with the blog posts lately? We are slowly getting the hang of life with a baby and boy is it sweet! Emerson treats us well and is spoiling us. She's down to one feeding during the night and Brandon and I finally feel like we're out of "survival mode". We're actually enjoying life as a family of three (+ puppy Link) and that's a great feeling. Throughout these past 7 weeks, we've learned a lot. By no means are any of the things we've learned innovative or original, but they're things that we've found helpful and I thought they might be helpful for other new parents or couples who will find themselves in that boat soon.
- Do something every single day for yourself + for your marriage. // After several weeks, I noticed that I wasn't feeling as fulfilled as "Katie". I felt confident that I was succeeding in my role as wife and mother, but I knew that I had been neglecting myself in the process. I did a great job at balancing housework and caring for the baby and felt like I did a pretty good job with caring for Brandon, too. When I told Brandon how I felt, he quickly put in to action a plan to solve the problem (this is something he's great at - fixing problems). We decided that when he'd get home in the evenings from work that I'd take an hour to myself. I could use that hour however I wanted - most nights I spent it upstairs in the tub with a good book and social media. This plan is still in effect now that I'm back to work except we've added in an hour for Brandon to have by himself, too, and time after the baby goes down at night for us as a couple. Whether its cuddling in bed or enjoying a beer together on the couch, we make sure to take time for us.
- Keep a basket in the nursery labeled "Too Small" // This is something I read about over and over. What a genius idea! It's as simple as it sounds, too. Just keep a basket or bin in your baby's closet and chuck in items that you notice are too small whenever you need to. I was changing Emerson one day and noticed that her newborn pajamas were uncomfortably small on her. So, in the basket they went! Since we always keep the next size of clothing hung and stacked, it was as simple as grabbing pajamas in the 0-3 month size and resuming her outfit change. Once the basket is full, I load it up in to her clothing tote in the garage and store it away to loan to friends or keep for if we have another baby!
- Store items where you'll actually use them! // Novel idea, right?! This is something I figured out quickly because I would constantly be running upstairs for something that should have been downstairs. For example, we kept Emerson's nail clippers and file upstairs in her little grooming basket that also houses a brush, nasal aspirator, thermometer, and other things. We realized, though, that it's easiest to trim and file her nails when the other parent is feeding her a bottle - which almost always happens downstairs on the couch. So, any time we needed to do this, we were running upstairs to grab the clippers and then having to come back down. Now, we store them downstairs in her baby basket and they're always where we need them. Another example would be shampoo and soap. If you keep them upstairs in their bathroom, but bathe them downstairs in the kitchen sink, it makes sense for them to be downstairs - so make room, I promise you'll be glad you did!
- Do a load of laundry at least every other day. // Even if it's a tiny one! I've found that by doing this it helps keep the weekends (more) stress-free. Laundry can quickly pile up with a baby, two parents, and a dirty dog in the house. Between swaddles, burp rags, and pajamas your baby's laundry basket is bound to fill up quickly. Don't feel like you have to keep your baby's laundry separate from your own, either. I did this in the beginning and noticed that we had such small loads and were being really wasteful with our electricity and water usage. If Emmy spit up on her onesie and doesn't have enough other laundry to make a load, I'll toss it in with one of our full baskets and do a load of our laundry that evening. Between our three laundry baskets, there's always enough to make a full load.
- Keep your diaper bag stocked with the essentials, but not much more. // Trust me, there's zero need to have 5 different toys, 3 pacifiers, and two board books in your diaper bag. Keep your bag full of the essentials and not much else. A good rule of thumb, I've found, is an extra outfit (2 if your baby is prone to spitting up), a handful of diapers, a travel pack of wipes, a bottle + formula, a paci, and a toy. If it's cold, we keep her blanket in the carseat with her and she wears a light jacket and hat. The essentials - that's it.