I am loving being on maternity leave and spending all my time with Olivia, but after Tim went back to work when Olivia was 6 weeks old the days started going by a little slower and I started finding myself looking for things to do to fill my time. I did the laundry and the dishes and the straightening up everyday, and once I started getting the hang of getting Olivia down for a nap I found that I had excess time on my hands. I’m an over thinker to the extreme, so idle hands to truly make the devil’s playground in my case. I started using my time to read about parenting methods and being a working parents versus a stay at home parent, and the comparison game got me good.
I’ve read multiple articles about not comparing yourself to other moms and that as long as you’re loving your baby and providing her with her basic needs then you’re doing all you are supposed to do, but that wasn’t enough for me. I needed to know I was doing everything right. And, much to my dismay, I have found since then that there is no right in parenting. The right thing to do is the thing that works. That’s a hard pill to swallow. But, once I swallowed it and we got Olivia’s two month shots, I had a friend tell me that I really just needed to start getting out more.
It’s true. Though I was going on walks with Olivia most days in our neighborhood and once went to Target, it still wasn’t enough. I had a few days where Olivia missed a nap and went haywire for the entire day, so I was convinced that if I went places it would throw Olivia off. But for my own sanity, I needed to get out. So I started making plans!
And since her two month shots, Olivia and I have been to water babies with daddy, lunch with a friend, and the zoo with a friend.
Since starting to get out more, I’ve found that Olivia really is capable of being flexible in her naps. She needs to have days here and there to recover and recuperate, and she needs to go straight down for a long nap when we get home from an excursion. But, we don’t have to be chained to the house to get in sleep. This is good for my sanity and also Olivia and my bonding.
The actual act of getting out, though, is challenging. I’m not going to pretend to write a tips post on how to get out of the house with an 11 week old, because I’m just learning myself. What I have learned, though, is that going out with a baby is nothing like going out without a baby. I’m constantly thinking about when Olivia last ate, whether she’s sleeping, if I need to change her, etc. I keep forgetting to think about my own eating or drinking. Trying to interact with another adult while also existing outside of the house and mothering is like completing a triathlon of another type. I love getting out of the house with Olivia and will continue to do so to enjoy my maternity leave and our bonding time, but by the time we get ourselves home it’s funny to see what state the diaper bag/my purse/the stroller are in.
Getting out has also caused me to slow my mind and stop comparing, because I don’t have as much time to just sit and think. A two hour outing requires so much planning and preparation that I can’t think much before, and by the time we get home I’m tired and just want to hang out on the couch and watch tv after getting household chores done. It also allows me to just do what works.
I do look forward to going other places. I know I’ll continue to get better at it! Eventually I may even be able to share my own tips or tricks on getting out of the house!
Any tips on getting out of the house without panicking or forgetting anything?
Where are other good places to take a baby that include a lot of strolling around?