As I begin to type this one handed (while nursing), my two year old is wearing a t-shirt, a sweater, and rain boots, but otherwise is nude. He is successfully potty trained, but apparently not "put your underwear and pants back on" trained (any how-to books on that one? No? Okay). I have a half full cup of cold coffee I forgot to drink from earlier, and I am wearing maternity leggings and a shirt that is not technically a "maternity" shirt, but one I bought from Old Navy about three sizes bigger than my "normal" size to wear as maternity. But still, not technically a maternity shirt, so that's a win. I last showered yesterday morning. I think. Pretty sure that happened. Every single one of my throw pillows, from everywhere in the house, are on the floor assembled in a complex fort that connects to my ottoman. And I just emailed myself the same reminders for the third time. One of the reminders reads: "Look at To Do list from Monday" (it's Friday, right?). This is your brain on a newborn.
Along with those lovely warm fuzzy snuggly newborn feelings also comes the fog. The haze that sets in from lack of sleep and the extra chaos. The kind of fog that makes you question what day it is and even what hour it is, that leaves you standing in the middle of Target wondering what you actually came for in the first place (okay that one might just be due to Target's unexplainable pull maybe not because of newborn parent fog). Your priorities take a major shift, and everything gets shuffled around to make room for this new little baby's needs. Things like showers and clean shirts for yourself and putting make up on get bumped way down the line (if you can even still see them on your daily to do list) and instead you have little spurts of productivity that make you remember you are actually a functioning adult. Like, oh hey I went to the bank! Yes! Mission accomplished! Maybe I came back and put on two straight hours of Yo Gabba Gabba for Jack while I lounged in half-awakeness with the baby, but I WENT TO THE BANK. I did something. And that something included leaving the house. Score one for me.
The other day while at the doctor's office I momentarily blanked on what the new baby's birthday was. I stood there, staring off into space for a few moments, and then I actually looked at the nurse and said, "Hold on, I know this". I eventually did remember it (it was less than three weeks ago after all) but for a few seconds I was just completely hopeless. Completely lost in the fog.
One side of me, the slightly more OCD side, craves productivity and organization, and I do have some of that, still, out of necessity. The mornings have to be organized to get the older kids clean and clothed and fed and ready for school, and after I successfully get two kids on the bus with lunches and backpacks and library books I pat myself on the back and give myself a break for a few hours. I follow the baby's schedule. Maybe throw a load of laundry in, watch the toddler as he runs around like a maniac in the backyard.
Superficial things I am grateful for as a mom of a newborn: Sunglasses. Coffee. Scarves and easy jewelry to throw on to make me feel like I am at least slightly dressing up my yoga pants and long tanks. Pizza delivery. Coffee. Netflix. My favorite drugstore beauty product that helps hide the fact that I spent more time awake than asleep the night before. Amazon Prime. Twitter being the perfect social media for someone with a sleep deprived attention span like mine right now. Oh and coffee. Coffee is good. Good stuff.
More important things I am grateful for: Teeny tiny baby fingers and toes to kiss. The opportunity to be lazy and lay in bed with my new daughter when I want to. Being able to say no when I need to. Having Sean, all four kids and two dogs all in one bed to watch a movie together (we have a huge bed, thankfully). Little notes and thoughtful gifts and adorable personalized giraffe towel blankets from good friends that arrive at my doorstep and make me feel loved.
I'm also grateful for the opportunity to slow down, to be forced to slow down actually, and to streamline the things that are actually important and the things that aren't worth the time. And I hope that even after the newborn fog has lifted and I get back to my usual self, I'll still hold onto some of the "laziness" and let some of those other things slide, maybe I will just let go of some of it completely and just leave some room, some space in my day or in my week, for something new, or nothing at all.
But for those of you still in the trenches like me, here are my "New Mom Hacks" for all of you out there that are looking for some tips on how to stay sane during the newborn fog. Are you ready for these? Okay here they are...
2. Bonus points if you can teach one of your older children how to use it. Good luck! xoxo