Bucket List for Baby #2
One of the first things I learned when I had my daughter is that nothing can prepare you for those first few weeks postpartum. No one tells you how much of a sleep-deprived, hormonal mess you are. You ride the waves and manage to keep swimming, but it isn’t until you get through it that you realize you weren’t fully functioning as a human being.
This time, I am a little more prepared on what to expect. I will have a better idea of what is worth stressing over and what is not worth googling and making myself feel like I am doing everything wrong.
Suffice it to say, my first maternity leave was a bit of a blur. This time around, I am a little more prepared and a lot less paranoid. I’m hoping to enjoy my time off (which I did the first time, once I stopped freaking out).
In just a few short months, here’s what I’m hoping to accomplish and enjoy:
Shower or bathe at least every other day. My first time, I was able to shower just about every day, only because my husband was home at the time. This maternity leave, I’m on my own. Which I’m both excited and nervous about. With my toddler daughter in daycare while I’m on leave, I’m pretty confident this one can get crossed off the list. Not having to chase around another tiny human will save my sanity. And hopefully help me keep my hygiene.
Get out of the house at least three days a week. I’m probably way too optimistic on this one, considering I’m going to be on leave in the middle of an Iowa winter. But I’m counting weekends in this as well. Instead of spending way too much time worrying about (and googling) newborn eating and sleeping habits and schedules, I’m just going to go with what’s working and not be afraid to leave the house. Even if it’s a little cold. Baby girl and I will have some serious Christmas shopping to do.
Nurse in public. The idea of this terrified me the first time around. I never did it, mostly out of fear of a wardrobe or nursing cover malfunction, or worse, drawing too much attention to myself and offending someone. This time, I plan to start early and do it often enough until I am comfortable and confident doing it.
Nap when the baby naps—at least once a week. I never thought this could be so hard. When I had my first daughter, I rarely napped, if at all. I constantly had things on my to-do list that I was looking to accomplish. I felt guilty for taking a break. I wanted to blog, scrapbook, cook, clean – you know, try to be supermom.
This time, I already know that I will never be supermom, and that’s OK. I am so much more tired with this pregnancy, I just know that what I’m going to experience postpartum is going to be a whole new level of tired. Sheer exhaustion will lead me to experience the bliss of a nap hopefully more often than I anticipate.
I look forward to not just what I’m hoping to cross off of my maternity leave bucket list, but also our new life together as a family of four.
Take friends up on any and all offers for help, meals, etc. I am not one to turn down a free meal. Especially a home-cooked one made by a great friend. When I had my first daughter, my church had a meal sign-up list, which was an incredible blessing for my family. If it’s offered again this time around, I will not hesitate to say yes. It takes a huge burden off of you at the end of a long day to not have to cook. And any other offers of help that come my way, whether for company, to play with my baby or even help around my house – I will say yes to in a heartbeat. I wasn’t as good at letting people help the first time around, but this time I will take all the help I can get!
Stock my freezer. My first pregnancy, I never did get that “nesting” kick during my third trimester that I heard so much about. I kept waiting for it to come, but I just got more tired the closer I got to my due date. This pregnancy, I have been a constant state of tired, so I’m not expecting it to get much better. Not that I am really expecting to rest much during maternity leave, but I figure I will have a little free time on my hands while baby girl sleeps. Since I’ll be on maternity leave during the winter, this will be prime time to stock my freezer with pastas, soups and other hearty meals that I can easily make as leftovers. I will be incredibly grateful that I did this once I go back to work.
Have regular one-on-one time with my toddler. I am anticipating the chaos of life with two young children, and I know our family’s routines will quickly shift, especially since I am planning to nurse again. One-on-one time with my toddler is going to take a hit, as our evenings will take on a new normal of nursing, spending time with both children, and then I will likely put the baby to bed and my husband will put the toddler to bed. Weekends will be slightly less crazy, but while I may get a little more alone time with everyone in my family, I want to ensure my toddler feels like she is still important. Whether it’s a Saturday breakfast date, an afternoon trip to the mall or even signing my little girl up for a dance class, I’m hoping to get some quality one-on-one time together while I’m on leave and beyond.
Have a day date with the hubby. Just like time spent together is going to change with my daughter, it’s also going to change with my husband. I’m hoping to bring my new little sweetheart out for a couple of lunch dates with my husband while I’m off of work. With my older daughter in daycare during the day even while I’m on leave, it will be a great opportunity to sneak in a day date or two with the hubby. Fingers crossed that baby girl naps while we’re out.
Have no regrets. I’m not going to have a lot of time off for my maternity leave – at least, not as much as I’d like (unless I move to Canada, which isn’t happening). It’s hard for me to think about time just the two of us adjusting to this new life together being so short, but I cannot dwell on what I wish I had. I am grateful for the time that I will have. I will have no regrets about the time we will share together. Our time the two of us will be special, and it will continue to be after I return to work.
Though the transition will be hard, I do not regret being a working momma. I enjoy working and am a stronger and more confident person as a working mom. I will not regret teaching my children the value of working hard and pursuing your passions. I will not regret trying to be the best role model I can be for my family.
I look forward to not just what I’m hoping to cross off of my maternity leave bucket list, but also our new life together as a family of four. How about you, mama friends? How did your baby preparations differ the second time around?
Contributing Sister Site and Author
As a momma to her sweet and spunky little girl Hannah (November 2013), Kristin finds herself enjoying and learning from the rewards and challenges of motherhood each day. Armed with the strength and grace of God, she strives to be a mom who embraces each moment and puts her family first. She married her college sweetheart David in August 2007 and lives in Des Moines where she attends the Vineyard Church. Kristin works as a freelance editor and is a wannabe freelance writer who enjoys baking, reading, writing, running, and spending time with family and friends. When she writes her own blog, Kristin loves sharing her heart, learning experiences, and adventures as a momma in letters to her daughter at Dear Baby with Love.