After I took this picture, I promptly consumed half of these strawberries. YUM.
It has now been almost six weeks since the Mouse joined our family and I must say, every bit of that time has been one adjustment after another. We're all learning how we fit together, who goes where, and every day we get a little better. The trickiest part thus far is figuring out how to keep the house and the husband happy whilst juggling the two kiddos all day. We're figuring it out. Some examples:
It has to be one load a day, every day, at least. I can't have a "Laundry Day" or the pile will be so enormous (Remember how newborns blow out of their outfits? Even if it's just a little blowout?) that you would have to paw through the massive explosion of clothing in our laundry room to find me huddled underneath it all, sucking my thumb and consoling myself. To prevent such a fire hazard, laundry is a constant. I don't separate whites and darks. I just throw it all in. If I have something expensive that requires special washing ... it sits in my closet until next summer. Sweet! I heart cotton.
Move Over, Hungry Man
This one is tricky, but I've found something that works for us. Monday is my self-proclaimed Food Day. This means that any chore, be it laundry (except that one load), vacuuming, mopping, dusting, or whatever else that might need to be done gets put to the back-burner and my primary goal, my ONLY goal on Monday is to take care of the food for the week. That means looking at our calendar and planning our menu for the week and then loading up the kiddos and hitting up the grocery store. After we come home, the rest of the day is spent preparing meals for the rest of the week as I have time to do so between naps and playing trucks. If we're having spaghetti and meatballs, I make the meatballs and freeze them. If we're having any kind of chicken, I chop it up and freeze it so I only need to marinate and bake it the day we need it. I also chop up strawberries, blueberries, and pineapple and store them in the fridge for Cub to eat as snacks the rest of the week. This has worked out wonderfully thus far and has prevented us from eating out too much. I always keep one day optional, though, and leave dinner up to the pizza delivery guy. Or the nice homeschool teenagers at Chick-fil-A.
Working Father of Two
My husband and I realized we were often butting heads when he walked in the door after work, as he carried the stress from his long day and wanted to rest and I carried the stress from my day and wanted his help, and our two worlds would collide at approximately 6:00pm every evening. It was aggravating to say the least, because, even if we wanted to talk and figure out why in the world we were being so grumpy, the conversation would have to wait until the kids were in bed. So, we began instigating Daddy Rest Time. That means that when my husband walks in the door, he has fifteen minutes all to himself. He can go into the bedroom and close the door and his wife and his children will not require his attention. He can decompress, take a short nap, look at lame YouTube videos, or stare at the wall. Whatever it takes to clear his head. Then when he re-emerges, he's in Daddy mode the rest of the night and I have his help. He can take his fifteen minutes whenever he'd like. Cub always rushes the door when he walks in and they tickle and giggle and play and all of that, so sometimes he waits until after dinner for his break. That's fine by me. Whatever it takes. That way, he knows he has time to himself when he gets home and won't immediately be slammed by me, and I know that I can depend on him the rest of the night. As for Mommy Rest Time, well, I might not get a nap in every day, but I at least have the luxury of going to Starbucks to refuel whenever I wish. It's a fair trade-off in my mind. And I can always ask my husband to watch the kids for a short time during the evening and he will.
Please Pass The Concealer
My favorite aunt and I went out for coffee a few weeks ago and we discussed the challenge of being a mom of two little ones, primarily the challenge of still feeling like a woman amidst the spit-up and the sippy cups and the melodies of Baby Einstein swirling in the air. She told me that when she was in my stage of life with babies and toddlers, she would always make it a point to get up and get dressed before she started her day. Whether that meant a full-blown shower or just a dab of mascara, she would put on jeans and a cute top and be presentable to the public, even if she stayed at home all day. Genius, I thought. Impossible, but genius. It was a bit more feasible with only one baby, but now with two, there were several mornings where I would stay in my sweats until noon, which is to be expected with a newborn, I think. But I was ready for some revamping. So, for the past two weeks, I've made it a point to get ready in the morning. Whether I'm toting Naomi into the bathroom with me and putting her in her bouncer, or whether Caleb is playing in my make-up bag while sitting in the empty tub, I'm taking that time to get ready. And y'all, it has made a huge difference in my attitude. There's nothing worse than feeling like a worn-out Mom and then actually looking the part when you suddenly run out of milk and have to take an unplanned trip to the grocery store. It adds extra stress. On the other hand, it's wonderfully empowering to actually like the way you look when you go out into public to run unexpected errands. For me, anyway, it takes out a huge chunk of stress. And having two cute kids as accessories is just an added bonus.
Bringing Down The House
By the time all of our heads hit their respective pillows at bedtime in our home, I make sure the living room is picked up and the kitchen is clean. It might sound like a small or easy task, but trust me, some days it feels like the mess is breeding within itself and slowly taking over the house. So, to dim the lights in a tidy living room and hear the hum of the dishwasher in a clean kitchen is honey to my soul. Don't get me wrong, there might be some unopened mail on the kitchen table, but I can at least see my countertops and my kitchen sink is empty. Cub's room and the nursery need to be picked up, too. Nothing major, but enough so I feel like we're starting the next day with a clean slate.
There you have it! Our current survival mode.
Have a lovely weekend!