A New Mom No More
One morning when my nine-month old twins were napping, I found myself in a rare situation: bottles were cleaned, I was showered and fed, I wasn’t exhausted and I wasn’t dying to nap. This meant only one thing: I had time to surf the internet! It was getting hotter outside, so I searched for indoor classes or activities for the babies. I found an ad for a “New Moms” group, something I’d never had time for before. I looked over the details: in my neighborhood, didn’t interfere with naptime, affordable price.
But then, the final detail hit me like a punch in my not-pregnant-but-still-jiggly belly: I wasn’t considered a New Mom. The group was for moms with infants under 6 months old. Could it be true or was this just a harsh rule for this particular group? So I searched for others, and all of them considered six months to be the time you graduated out of New Mom status.
I considered the facts to see if I agreed with this philosophy. My babies were crawling. They slept eleven hours a night with two routine naps. They had teeth. They had distinct personalities.
I took stock of myself: I was training for a 10K. I had a waistline. I had semi-regular sex. I was cooking dinner that didn’t come out of the freezer. With one fell swoop, I could wrangle two crawling babies onto my lap for a story, sing them a song, and put them each down in their crib for a nap. I could bathe both babies alone in the big tub. I had freshly painted toenails.
I couldn’t deny these facts. I was no longer a New Mom. I was starting to get the hang of things. So, the planner that I am (or used to be) decided to look ahead and figure out what comes next now that I have to admit I’ve shaken off that New Mom fog. I decided I would become Organized Mom, and here are a few steps I took to transition into this new phase of motherhood.
Get It Together: Long gone are the days when I sometimes didn’t have enough sleep to perform simple math, let alone clean the bathroom sink. With two kids under a year old, there’s lots more to do around the house, but things are stable enough that I have the energy and time to stay on top of things. I bought a whiteboard to make a chore chart, with tasks for both myself and my husband. It includes a running shopping list, meal plan for the week, a daily to-do list, a group of bigger projects to tackle on weekends. One glance, and we know what we’re up against.
Book Up Your Calendar Before Others Book it For You: We’re so lucky to have family close by and good friends who want to hang out with our babies. But our weekends become so booked up with family trips and visits with friends, we were having a hard time getting our own activities scheduled. Or, when a rare unplanned Saturday snuck up on us, half the day crept by before we realized it was too late to pack up and go anywhere significant. So we made a list of all the summer activities we wanted to accomplish, and slotted them into our calendar.
Stop Calling the Babies “The Babies”: We make an effort not to refer to Sydney and Ryan as “the twins.” I read that this habit, started very early, helps your children maintain a sense of individuality as they grow older. And as they are boy-girl twins, I don’t find anything “twinny” about them. So my husband and I always refer to them as “the babies.” But just like I’m growing out of new mom status, they are growing out of babyhood.
Accept That I Have a Houseful of Toddlers: My go-to parenting book, Baby 411, has great advice about being aware of your children’s developmental stages and abilities and making sure you treat them accordingly. They have this hard-hitting piece of advice for when your child reaches her first birthday: “You don’t have a baby any more. You have a toddler.” So I need to accept that diaper changes will be squiggly, furniture will be gnawed on, food will be tossed onto the floor, and heaven help me, there will soon be only one nap a day. But I also look forward to first steps and first words.
Everyone who told me during my sleep deprived state of new motherhood that time would go by so quickly it would make my heart spin was completely right. So as the days of Ryan and Sydney napping in their stroller for a two-hour walk are gone, and I can no longer clean a sinkful of bottles while they lay still in the middle of the living room floor, I bid farewell to my new mom status and look forward to the future.
Ryan and Sydney are now ten months old and while some days are still hard, overall we’re doing really well. I have a routine and enough tricks up my sleeve to admit that I know what I’m doing. I’m proud to say I’m no longer new here.
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