The first time around, I was
prepared over-prepared. I had my bag packed a month before he was born. I had my nursery designed and finished in May, and he was born in October. I read up on the latest and greatest in baby technology, took classes in breastfeeding and prenatal yoga, and discussed my birth plan with my husband and the doctor. I was ready and couldn’t wait for my first little one.
The second time around, I wasn’t over-prepared. In fact, I only got prepared a couple of weeks (uh…the weekend) before he was born. The last pictures were hung on the nursery wall at the last minute. I didn’t have new tubing for my breast pump ordered. What was I going to pack in my bag again? It was, I felt, a stressful mess. But now, three weeks later, here’s five things I wish I would have done before the peanut was born…
- Enlist more help. I didn’t ask for help the first time around because I wanted to “do it on my own.” Let me tell ya, that’s for the birds. When they say “it takes a village,” it really does. In fact, I wish I would have added more people to my village before the baby was born to ensure I had my life together as much as possible. But I’m not saying I did a shabby job – in fact, quite the contrary! We hired someone to clean the house, asked friends to help fold clothes and put things away in the baby’s room, and my brother helped me run errands in the days leading up to delivery. After he was born, my mom came over and helped prepare some freezer meals for ready-to-go dinners and a few of my students’ parents got together and dropped off meals for us.
- Go to the grocery. I don’t know why I didn’t think about this beforehand. I wasn’t able to drive for a few weeks following delivery because of the pain medication and the general healing process. Plus, my husband isn’t the frugal grocery shopping type. It would have been nice to stock up on things like snacks, breakfast items, etc. prior to having the baby. Right now, we’re still in a holding pattern where my husband runs to the grocery for essentials like milk and muffins because I can’t do a big shopping trip just yet. But believe me, when September rolls around, I’m headed to the grocery to get my pantry and refrigerator back in order.
- Snuggle my first baby THAT much more. My first son will be 5 in October, so he’s hardly a baby anymore. But, he’s still MY baby. I got really consumed with work and preparing for the second baby at the last minute, that I didn’t focus on Andrew and spending extra quality time with him before Thomas arrived in the way I would have liked. I also wish I would have asked his daddy and grandparents to take him out of the house a little bit more, considering those last few weeks in the Louisiana heat were BRUTAL for this pregnant mommy. He doesn’t seem to have suffered because of it, and I am focused on spending time with him now – between feedings, baths, homework, cooking, cleaning…the list goes on and on.
- Get a massage, manicure, pedicure, haircut… Ok, I know this is like my “vanity” list, but for real. Can you imagine doing any of these things with a newborn? Or, better yet, an exclusively breastfed newborn? Now my life consists of planning things around 3 or 4 hour feedings, hoping the baby doesn’t wake up wanting to eat earlier than that, and praying that my husband doesn’t lose his mind. He’s great, and I’m not taking anything away from him, trust me. It’s just frustrating when you have a crying (hungry) baby that can’t be soothed by anything you do, and that’s his dilemma. Plus, we don’t want to take stored breast milk out of the freezer and then not need it. These things are all able to be planned around the baby, but it would have been great to get one final hurrah done before the baby was born. Oh well!
- Stop sweating the small stuff! In the grand scheme of things, the stuff I was worried about not getting done didn’t matter. So what if his closet isn’t Pinterest-worthy organized? It will get done eventually. So what if my closet looks like a bomb went off? I’m not wearing half of those clothes right now anyway. So what if I didn’t finish all of the work in my business before taking a mandated maternity leave (per my office manager, who is an absolute doll)? It will still be there when I’m ready to get back to it. Meanwhile, I have a first-born that craves my attention, and a husband that wants family time. Those are the important things to think about before having a baby, not the cleaning and preparing and anticipation of the new baby. I know that sounds a little like I’m brushing off the new one, but that’s totally not the case. I’m merely saying that they don’t stay little for long, and these moments are to be cherished, not brushed aside for the things we think are more important.
Well, there you have it. The five things that I wish I would have done before I had baby #2. And as I’m typing this, I have a big boy who wants help with an iPad game and a little peanut grunting for feeding time. So, I’m going to go enjoy the moments while they last. Until next time, ya’ll!