Amy Peters, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Mom of Avery, 2 and Archer 3 months
December I became a mom of two. Avery had just turned two late September. It was a great time to welcome new baby Archer into our family. Over the holidays we enjoyed slow days at home with our new precious gift. I fully expected a house of chaos, a jealous two year old, screaming baby and a toddler who was acting out. Maybe because I mentally prepared for this I was pleasantly surprised? Having said that we have our moments.
Before Archer arrived we prepared Avery by talking lots about the baby growing inside me, how he will be a big brother and that he will have a friend to play with forever. At the advice of other friends, I picked up the book 'I'm A Big Brother' by Joanna Cole. We read this to Avery countless times. We also purchased a train set for Avery and said it was a gift from his new brother. We figured the gift should be something that will keep him busy and entertained as we adjust to our new routines. To date, Avery's been the most loving, sweet, protective big brother. Those things I feared have not happened (yet). When or if they do, I will make sure to be very patient with Avery and give him extra time to ensure him he is very loved.
The first two months, over the winter Avery has been in daycare full time to allow me to get used to life's new routines but also provide Avery will the opportunity to keep busy, social, active and stimulated. I can't imagine having a toddler stuck in the house with mom and a new born everyday over Canada's cold long winter. Beginning this month Avery will be in daycare part time. I really miss having him home so I think it will be a good balance for us all. Those days Avery is home, I realize it will be difficult to 'accomplish' anything so I will stick to just getting through the days and have no set agenda so I won't feel defeated if we don't do much.
One thing I've found important, for myself is taking Avery out on a mom and son date once a week. Almost three months in, we've done pretty good and go out about once a week. Having that time alone with Avery is so valuable and special. With no interruptions and I can just enjoy being with him and soaking up the sweetest silly things that two year olds say and do.
Being a new mom can certainly be overwhelming. Motherhood is truly incredible and so rewarding. I've heard the quote countless times - 'No one ever said it would be easy, just that it would be worth it.' I'm not even sure who's quote that is, yet I use it time and time again. It is my favorite sentence to sum up being a mom.
Here are a few of my favorite tips for new moms: Trust your instinct. There is no rule book for being a mom, listen to your gut and remember to have confidence. You will get so much advice how to raise your new baby but take it all lightly, there is no right or wrong way. We are all doing the best we can and ultimately as the mother of your child, YOU know whats best. Take all the help you can get. After the baby turns one, people forget to help out. Don't be shy to ask your visitors to do the dishes, or fold laundry, pick up groceries or help prepare dinner. They are your friends and family and they are there for you, just as much as they are there for your new baby. Sleep when the baby sleeps. I know, I know, this is typical advice new mothers hear often, but it is important to take care of yourself, rest, hydrate and make sure to fuel yourself. Everything else can wait. Enjoy those nap times! Treat yourself. Take a few minutes for yourself each day. I always enjoyed putting on a little bit of makeup even if we weren't leaving the house. (Just enough to cover my tired eyes.) Freezer meals. These meals are heavenly after a long day with a baby, you have nothing in your fridge to cook, no energy and somehow it is 5pm and you haven't even gotten dressed. These pre-made meals have made me feel like I won a small lottery. Spaghetti sauce and shepherds pie are two of my favorites. Patience. There will be good days and bad days, but try to have patience, the baby phase is really so short so try to enjoy each moment. Those frustrating times are so easily made up by those sweet smiles, giggles and other moments that completely melt your heart.
Lately I've been really appreciating the little things and soaking up all the moments, good and bad. I'm so thankful for my two healthy boys, they really make going through life more beautiful and my husband who is so supportive, loving and a great father. Life with baby number two seems to go at warp speed so I've been focusing on the 'today' and the 'now' and loving all the craziness of being a mom of two little boys.