I first became a mom in 2004...I was 24 years old.
The first few weeks of being a mom are hard, but I had prepared myself the best way that I could and had a strategy. And I worked hard. I made sure that Adele was getting full meals, rather than snacking. I kept her up after she ate to play and then laid her down when she was getting sleepy (but was still awake) without nursing her or rocking her. I let her cry (within reason).
The results? Within 8 weeks she was napping like a champ. Just lay her down and walk out of the room...babysitters LOVED me. During the day she would eat every 3 hours (almost to the minute). And at night? I would feed her at 7 and lay her right down for the night. Would wake her again before I went to bed to feed her once more, laid her right back down and wouldn't hear from her until 7 the next morning.
It was such hard work in those early weeks...especially when I tried to let her cry a bit to fall asleep for a nap and grandparents were around. Let's just say that they struggled being supportive of my system. But as you can see, it paid off, big time. And as a mom, I felt confident. I felt like I knew what I was doing and even on those days when nothing seemed to be going right, or following my system, I knew that there was a good chance that tomorrow would go back to normal. And this kept me sane.
People continually told me how lucky I was that I had such easy babies. Oh how I hated it when they said this. I mean, my girls were certainly not really difficult babies, but they were hardly easy. I had worked really hard for those results. (Anthony was an amazing partner in this, by the way, so really it was "we" not just "I", but whatever.) And I was proud of the little family team that we all were.
Elise and Lucy worked about the same. By a few weeks, they each had a solid schedule that they had settled into and by 2 to 3 months all were in sleeping through the night.
Now I've been a mama for 8 and a half years. I've parented 3 newborns and brought an almost 1 year old into our home. I've been FAR from perfect as a mama, but I am proud of the mama that I have been. And it has worked well for our family.
Then Matthias came.
Have I told you how delicious this baby is? I posted as my Facebook status a couple of weeks ago that I now understand why the baby in the family is so spoiled...Matthias is spoiled. I mean, he is just so snuggly and he just loves being held. Sometimes he spreads his arms out and grabs my shirt with both hands and just hugs me...and I LOVE it. Sometimes I let him nap on me and when he cries it doesn't take me long to go get him and just hold him close to me.
The result? We have NO schedule. I mean, I have kept the eat, play, go to sleep schedule. But there is no consistency in the times. We are doing a little better at night (he only gets up once to eat), but the days are a mess. I feel less confident now as a mom with infant number 4 than I did in my mid-twenties with baby number 1! I am exhausted (and don't give me that whole "you have 5 kids" thing) and I am having the worst time getting anything done for myself. The second I try to do anything he is screaming for me, just waiting to be snuggled. And I ALWAYS cave in to him.
So here is the thing, I need serious balance. I want to enjoy Matthias...my last newborn. (I'm serious this time.) I want to take the time to snuggle him and enjoy his sweet little hugs, but I have got to help us form a better routine. I want a little of the mama that I was in my 20s, so that I can walk on the treadmill for an hour, confident that he is going to settle down into a nap that will leave me with plenty of time. I know that he is only 6 weeks old and all, but I guess I am just seeing where it really was my hard work back then that I was reaping the benefits of...not just the luck of 3 easy babies in a row.
Can you believe that Matthias is already over a month old?! Time is just flying and yet I forget what life was like without this little man.
The last month has been just wonderful AND a total adjustment. It feels good to have a month under our belt.
Matthias is such a sweet little man. I definitely wouldn't call him an easy baby, but he is such a good little guy. He loves to snuggle and enjoys being held by the other 6 members of his family...and everyone makes sure to get their turn! He's a pretty good sleeper, although his night starts (and ends) a little earlier then we would like, but we'll get there. He is even beginning to coo and smile a little which just melts me.
Its crazy to think that it has been so long since we have done this whole baby thing. In a lot of ways it didn't feel like we even skipped a beat. We just settled right in. In other ways, it feels so very different. I'm sure there are a lot of reasons for this. I mean, we are older and more settled into our parenting. All of our other kids are older and much more self-sufficient, so we are able to just chill with Matthias in a way we couldn't with the others. Oh, and Anthony just quit his job (still going to school of course) so he is home so much more. IT IS GLORIOUS!!
Basically we are just in a sweet spot in our family life. Not an easy spot necessarily, but we are enjoying one another so much. We are laughing and snuggling and constantly talking about how cute Matthias is (although Nate did inform us that he wishes Matthias was brown). It's been a good month.