One of the hardest parts of being a parent is figuring out the logistics. I remember being pregnant with Bean and sitting up all night long worrying about things like how I was going to get him from the car into the doctors appointment, or what I was going to do with him in the grocery store? What I hated most about being a new mom was feeling like everyone else knew how to do things and I didn’t, and so I wanted to figure it out before anyone knew that I didn’t have a clue what I was doing!
If I could tell new moms anything, I would tell them this giant secret of parenthood: We’re all new moms.
Every time Bean hits a new milestone or a new phase or a new age, I’m back to the beginning. Sitting up at night, trying to figure out how to do this parenting thing. It’s a continuous cycle of figuring things out. Your only real objective is to learn only slightly faster than your children grow. And you quickly realize, that’s just darn impossible.
But, it’s the figuring things out that makes parenting so rewarding. The first time Michael ran a fever and I didn’t freak out and have to call the pediatrician in the middle of the night, I felt like Super Woman. The first time Bean had a successful time out, I felt like Wonder Woman. The first time I took both kids grocery shopping by myself, I felt like She-Ra. Watching yourself learn and grown as a parent is sometimes just as exciting as watching your children learn and grow. So, if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by being a new mom (of children ANY age), take heart. We all feel like that sometimes. You’re in good company.
I thought today, I would share some random, simple, logistical tips that I’ve learned over the past two and a half years. There are a thousand different ways to parent, so some of these may not be the way for you. But maybe they’ll at least give you one option in a sea of many.
– When we’re in a parking lot and I’m trying to get the kids into the car, I always put Bean in first. He is the one who moves around the most and the one who would be most likely to bolt out in traffic, so I feel better when he is contained somewhere. Usually, I put him in his seat (now he likes to crawl up himself) quickly, without buckling him, and he plays around in the backseat while I walk around and buckle Gracie in. Then, I go back to Bean and buckle him in. This gets Gracie in her seat quickly, but it also keeps Bean contained.
– If you have two little ones and you can wing it, it makes things much easier to do dinner, bath, and bedtime all together. We have to do modified versions of this routine with Gracie so that she can hang in there with Bean (ex. she sits in her high chair and feeds herself bits of food while I get his dinner ready and then I feed her the actual baby food when Bean sits down to eat), but for the most part, we give them dinner at the same time and then we give them a bath together. Then, Chris gets Bean ready for bed and I get Gracie ready for bed and they both go down at the same time. That way, our attention isn’t focused on one child while the other has to wait. It also helps keep our evening routine from dragging out for hours. Both kids are in bed by 7:00.
– If you’re able, having two people at bath time when you have two babies in the tub makes it easier and safer. One of us takes one and the other takes the second and we get them all soaped up and clean at the same time.
– If you move a newborn into their own room for the first time and you find yourself unable to sleep because you’re listening to every twitch on the baby monitor, try turning the monitor off. Trust me, when babies need something, they make those needs KNOWN. If they truly wake up because they need something, you’ll be able to hear them cry without the monitor (provided your room is within ear shot of the nursery). I finally took the monitor out of our room with Bean because I was jumping wide awake at every noise he made. And then I realized that if he actually needed me, he would make enough noise on his own.
– When you’re putting on baby shoes on little, bitty, pudgy baby feet, try putting them on at an angle and then twisting them onto the baby’s feet, like you’re twisting the lid on a jar. The shoe will just “snap” into place.
– When at all possible, carry your infant in the car seat/carrier. I know it’s super heavy to lug around, but when you’re on the go, babies sleep better in their own space. Plus, if it’s cold outside, keeping them wrapped up in their seat with a good blanket keeps them much warmer than if you lift them out.
– Never go ANYWHERE without a burp cloth! No matter how long you’re going to be gone. Even if you’re just running out to the mailbox with your baby – TAKE A BURP CLOTH. Trust me.
– I don’t usually carry diapers in my diaper bag. I have a pack of them that I leave in the car, along with a changing mat and a pack of wipes. I found that whenever we were out and about and I needed a diaper change, I’d rather take the baby out to the car to change them anyway than change them in a public restroom. A word of caution, though, keep diaper wipes in your bag! You’ll use them for so many things!
– If you have babies in daycare, be sure you not only label their bottle, but you label the lids, too. We had so many lids lost or sent home with the wrong families before I finally got smart and started labeling the lid, too.
– This might not work for everyone, but for my babies, we tried to take them out for errands during nap time. When they are newborns and very young infants, usually they can sleep just about anywhere. So, I’d give them a big bottle, load ’em up in their car seat, and on the drive to the grocery story, they’d fall asleep. Then, I’d just put the carrier in the seat part of the grocery cart and they’d sleep while I shopped. The only setback to this method is that when you get home, the baby will be wide-eyed and you’ll be wanting a nap! But, if you really need to get some things done, try doing it during nap time.