For the next 3-5 weeks, we’re waiting. Patiently, excited, and nervously… waiting. One way I’m staying occupied is by blogging! I’ve loved how this blog as allowed me to connect with other wives, moms, salt water loving, island living ladies like myself!
Well since that post, Kristina has welcomed sweet Cooper into the family, and into the blog world! She’s learned a lot about business and blogging with baby – something I’m sure I’ll learn eventually. But right now that concept blows my mind. So instead, I’m going to let Kristina tell you what she’s learned so far!
Thank you, Kristina for sharing what you know with our readers! I can’t wait to look back on these tips + tricks with our twins in a few short weeks!
Make sure you all go follow Kristina on all the pages!
Toward the end of my pregnancy work became harder & harder. Events were out (can you really see someone with an eight month belly setting up a tent at a craft fair??), sitting in the studio with sciatic nerve pain meant alternating between a high back chair covered in pillows to the couch to an exercise ball & exhaustion led to shorter hours (I worked my first 40 hour weeks in years). But even that didn’t prepare me for having such limited time to take care of my needs or the business post baby. I was completely disillusioned in thinking I could function even close to what I was currently doing & it ended up leading to a lot of stress & less time with Cooper when we came home from the hospital. All because I didn’t set myself up for success. So I’m sharing what I learned over the past 10 weeks with baby, & am still learning every day.
Be in the moment where you physically are.
This is a tough one, & something I have to remind myself to do CONSTANTLY. If you are sitting at your desk then work. If you are sitting in the backyard with baby then don’t work. If you are juggling dinner & laundry then don’t work. And make sure to carve out a bit of time to do the things you enjoy (check out this interview with Jada Pinkett Smith about just that). Scheduling time to work on me so I could be my best self for baby & husband was tough at first. So I started with baby steps (pun intended), reading a chapter of a book while breastfeeding, blogging on my phone while Cooper played by my side. But as we’ve gotten into more of a routine that personal time has gone from a couple minutes a day to a solid half hour & has brought smiles to my face & more balance to my life.
This may seem completely contradictory to what I just said, but it’s not. When it comes to life top 5 priorities should include you, baby, husband, family/friends & (in my case) business. In the past I had a tendency to put work ahead of myself & loved ones, something that led to me being in a really unhappy place. Remembering now to prioritize myself, while realizing also that the #1 slot needs to fluctuate when baby is sick or hubby & I desperately need a date night or it’s Christmas & the business flooded with orders.
I was fortunate to have some amazing advice given pre-baby & what stuck out the most is breathe. Just breathe. Example- one of my first full days home alone with baby I had it happen that the washer had a panic attack while filled with things covered in baby bodily functions (think my clothes, his clothes, boppy… the list goes on), at the same time Cooper was freaking out because he wanted to eat, I had to pump before feeding him because of cracked nipples, the business was suffering because I just didn’t have time , the dog was barking to go outside & I hadn’t showered in 2 days. Yes I’ll admit it, 2 DAYS. Tears filled my eyes as I stood there, completely overwhelmed, in our family room staring at the washing machine with baby in my arms & Scooter the dog circling. So I stopped & hit the pause button on everything. Me in my current mental state wasn’t helping anything so deep breaths ensued until I calmed down, the fog cleared over what to do & attack mode ensued. Thirty minutes later- rinsed laundry was drying outside, I had a calendar full of REALISTIC business to-dos, Scooter the dog had taken care of business & best of all baby was full of milk & cuddled in my arms.
Put baby down and take that shower.
NOTHING feels as good on your body as a shower those first few weeks. Seriously. NOTHING. I was petrified to shower when hubby wasn’t home. Regardless of having an amazing baby monitor with video, or that our bathroom is no more than 15 feet from where he slept. Then one day I forced myself to take a 5 minute one while baby napped, & amazingly the world didn’t end. And I learned it’s okay to take a few minutes when baby sleeps, or even while he fusses in between sleep cycles. That some things are necessary to function & shouldn’t be forfeited in lieu of starring at baby breathing while he dreams (though that is one of the most adorable things in the world to look at).
Nap time is go time.
Everyone told us to sleep when baby sleeps, which we did for the first 1-2 weeks after coming home from the hospital. But after that nap time became go time. I do EVERYTHING that can’t be done with a baby in my arms or by my side. Any work that requires focus or 2 hands- business phone calls, taking out the garbage or cooking to name a few. Things like laundry, dishes & even sweeping we do together; with Cooper on the bed while I fold, in the bouncer on the kitchen table while I wash dishes or in one arm while I swiffer with the other.
It’s okay to do things while baby does something else.
At first I didn’t want to miss a single thing during baby’s day & essentially tied myself to him. I would forgo chores in lieu of watching Cooper lay on his play mat, leave the blog by the wayside so as not to miss any milestone, you get the picture. But it’s okay to miss moments & focus on the bigger picture- a happy household (with clean clothes), happy you & happy baby learning he can play independently without a helicopter mom hovering. Now I’m not saying go outside & garden while baby’s inside by himself, but sitting on the couch while he’s in the pack ‘n play & within eyesight 3 feet away can do wonders for both of you.
Take the help, & offerings of pre-made dinners.
This was more amazing advice given to me pre-baby. Those first few weeks I took family up on every offer of visits, frozen meals & support. We’re fortunate to live in the middle of lots of family/friends on the Connecticut shoreline & had no shortage of visitors those first few weeks. Remember though, there is a line & make sure not to overwhelm yourself; it’s also okay to say no or postpone visits, everyone understands & new baby means no explanation needed.
Get out of the house & be productive, with baby.
A friend gave my husband the advice of taking Cooper everywhere from early on to get him adjusted to travel, & after the first few weeks of recovery I was all about this. We do everything from house to work errands, including wholesale deliveries. At first I wanted to separate the business out of fear that bringing a baby would show less time available to clients or distract from conversations, but its done the opposite. The congratulations from our retailers were OVERWHELMING & Cooper brings smiles to every space we visit. #mompreneuralltheway
Balance is constant learning & adjusting. There are times I’ll sit and remind myself to breathe for 5 minutes straight and not be able to get a good breath. But every day we take another step forward, be it a good nap, finding a play (& mom support) group or getting a new wholesale account for Painted by the Shore.
I’d love to hear from YOU! What helped make life easier those first few weeks home with baby? Be it a product, mom community or nap time ideas (especially that last one for our house) we’d love to get some tips & thoughts.
Meet our Guest Blogger:
About the Author: Hi! I’m Kristina; owner of Painted by the Shore, blogger behind loughs in love, wife to Eric & new mom to Cooper. We live in Branford CT with our 2 Basset Hound mixes & Bobtail. I love all things creative & bonding with other moms (or soon to be ones like Annalee!!) over baby talk.
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Photography by Alex Corey