>> September 26, 2011
The other day, right before I left for work, Caroline threw up all over me. And I mean all over me. So I had to change at the last minute. I had a meeting first thing, so not only did I have to hurry, but I needed to look presentable.
This marks my 4th week back at work. And it's going. Fine. .....It's going fine. But since coming back to work I have had a surprising number of discussions around babies and how to prepare. This got me thinking. I was thinking about my routine and what was working and what wasn't working. Now that I am balancing trying to get out the door in time, with spending the morning with my favorite snuggle buddy, I wish that I stressed less while I was on maternity leave. And admittedly, that I stressed less period.
So I am going to dedicate a few posts to "what I wish I knew". Perhaps it will help me be more contemplative (read: level-headed) from day to day. Or perhaps by putting this down in words, I can see that I am managing just fine! Or perhaps you're preggers, thinking about getting preggers, or planning to NEVER get preggers and this will reinforce your current mindset - into whichever category you fall.
This first post is all about "what I wish I knew before getting pregnant." And because I am a list maker by nature, let's bullet this baby out, shall we?
1. Sleep lots. Honestly, this should be number 1 on all my lists. "Get more sleep" is the illusive holy grail of parenting. By nature, I am not very good at relaxing - it's a genetic default. Anyone in my family would tell you this is a disease passed down from generation to generation. But really, looking back, I wish I had the ability to just let go and relax. And then while I was relaxing, maybe I would sleep more. Or, at the very least, maybe I could have just gone to sleep before 1 am? Either way, the house, the Hubby and the pooch did not need me so badly that I couldn't have made a habit out of going to sleep at 10:00 instead. The bags under my eyes would have thanked me.
2. Cramming in all those house projects was worth it. I wish we had tried even a bit harder, in fact. Granted point 2 almost entirely contradicts point 1 on the list. We have a few projects lying around the house right now that are on a semi-permanent hiatus. Remember that bathroom shower we were thinking of re-tiling ourselves? Yeah. right. Now that we have a little one, that project would probably take us 1,582 days to complete on our own. So if we do this, we will most likely have to PAY someone to do it for us. I hate paying for things we could easily do ourselves. So looking back, I really wish we could have squeezed that project in - along with a few others. It's great living in a house that feels relatively complete, so our days can be spent hanging out with Caroline and not dwelling over a list of renovations.
3. Streamline everything. I did a lot of this while I was pregnant, but I wish that I had started a bit earlier. Some of my processes are still in place, but I don't adhere to the same level of efficiency. Maybe if I had started earlier, before I was pregnant, things would be more of a habit by now. And when I say "everything" - I really mean it. Figure out a recipe and meal plan that works for your family. Put all your bills on auto pay. Update your address book. Do it all and do it now - make it a habit when you have time.
4. Get in really great shape. This is actually one thing I did pretty well - but it needs to be on the list. I totally under estimated a few things: how much I value the feeling of a really great workout, how long postpartum recovery takes, how little time I would have to myself, and how 9 times out of 10 I would give up a trip to the gym to spend one more hour with Caroline. Unfortunately, those things are usually mutually exclusive. Right now I make it to the gym once a week - twice if I'm lucky. And right now, I have to be okay with that. But because I was in really good shape before being pregnant, and kept working out while I was preggers, at least I don't feel like a total sloth these days. Yet.
5. Spend time together. Lots and lots of it. This one is huge. Make sure you are in a really good place with your spouse before deciding to start a family. Make sure to spend time doing your favorite things together - big and small. Make sure to have long conversations about where the next big vacation will be (and TAKE that vacation). Go on dates - lots of them. Because afterward, it's hard to make time to appreciate each other. Don't get me wrong - I still appreciate Hubby everyday. But now my appreciation list is different: I appreciate that he still curls up with me when my hair hasn't been brushed and my tank top is covered in vomit. I appreciate that he holds Caroline so I can shower. I appreciate that he takes our tiny, yippy, emasculating dog to get her nails clipped - even if it is only every 6 weeks. I appreciate that he doesn't need gourmet dinners every night and that tomato soup and grilled cheese is good enough. But when you're not sleeping very well (or perhaps even at all), and it's so easy to get angry at one another over who's going to sacrifice sleep and personal time to pay the bills - you'll be glad that you went on that vacation and said "screw it - let's go out, just the two of us."
I have two more posts up my sleeve along this same "I wish I knew topic" - I just have to finish writing them. So stay tuned.
And because I can't have a post entirely of words (sacre bleu!), here's a recent one of Caroline who is just learning to really use her hands.