PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Just keep swimming.
Sage advice from Finding Nemo’s Dory, but that little tip had more simple poignancy when put into context by my dental hygienist (a fellow mother of twins). It’s double the adventure with two newborns to take care of.
There’s A LOT to do — seemingly constant feedings, diaper changes, soothing, laundry, dish washing — it feels like I’m symbolically treading water 24/7 attending to the needs of these little bundles. As such, I’ve found it an absolute necessity to let go of control and any semblance of planning.
Let me just say, I am LOVING this new adventure. My two little girls have turned my world upside down in the most amazing way. I actually really enjoy this new full-time job. But I’m also a planner, always have been…and trust me, that trait has to fly out the window sometimes!
Here, an excerpt from one of my days on maternity leave:
Wake up around 2:00AM to the sound of babies crying. While quietly feeding both girls, my mind is plotting away: “I’m going to be so productive today. I’m DEFINITELY going to get the girls at least 3 sessions of tummy time, read them some Mother Goose, and give them their baths. I’ll do laundry, give myself a manicure, wash my hair, work out, maybe start reorganizing the pantry! Heck, I’ll even make a home cooked dinner. I’ll totally have time. My day’s an open book!”
Yyyyeeeeah, right. Best laid plans, girlfriend.
Complement the day with exploding diapers, upset tummy in one baby, severe case of the fussies for the other (where there’s no consoling her but to carry her around for 2.5 hours straight), one baby crying because she lost her binky, the other baby crying because she lost her binky, binky duty on repeat…and again…, two outfit changes due to spit up…oh, and only clocking a total of 4 hours sleep over the last 24… Honey, you need to lower those expectations!
Here’s what I’ve learned. It’s great to have a list of things to accomplish. And frankly, I think you CAN do it all with the right perspective on when you’ll actually get to the items on that list. I simply had to give up the idea that I’d manage to get to everything all while maintaining total control over how my day would pan out.
The biggest part of being a parent is putting those little angels first. And while it’s a lot of work, I think it’s so sweet how much they need us. But that will mean your “stuff” has to take the back burner more often than you might like. You may have to let go of control sometimes, which in full disclosure, is a lesson I’ve had a hard time accepting!
A Little Tip From Experience: If there’s something you must get done with a newborn (or two!) in the house, make the most of baby’s most reliable time of day. For me, that meant cranking out chores, shopping, exercise, a shower etc. in the morning after my little ones had eaten their first feeding. Unpredictable as they may be, we had the calmest feedings and fuss-free nap/play time early in the day.
So, I continue to tell myself deeeeeeep breath…and just keep swimming. All I have to do is love my little peanuts and take this new (amazing!) life one feeding, one diaper change, one day at a time. And if I can’t get to folding that load of laundry, so be it.