You may not be able to curl up and nap when the mood strikes, but you can embrace your second and subsequent pregnancies with younger kids in tow. Mighty Mommy shares six ways to manage pregnancy and motherhood without losing your mind.
Pregnancy is truly one of the most incredible journeys you will ever have! As the mom of 8 who struggled with infertility for 5 years, was blessed with a joyful adoption, and then experienced 7 pregnancies and deliveries I can say without question you will be in sheer awe of this miraculous time.
Depending on how your body handles a pregnancy coupled with your emotional state during these 9 months is another story altogether. Just like no two children are alike, you may soon find out that no two pregnancies are the same either. Your first pregnancy might have been easy-breezy and you enjoyed every precious second while the second one finds you feeling green around the gills and drop-dead exhausted from the moment you find out you’re expecting again until you have your first contraction.
Your first pregnancy is all new. You’re most likely excitedly enjoying all things pregnancy, even the unpleasant parts like morning sickness, swollen feet and unexpected mood swings but while doing so you’re probably being pampered by your spouse, receiving all kinds of attention from friends and co-workers and have the luxury of a little extra self-care—napping, sitting with your feet up at the end of a long day, quietly reading books on pregnancy and newborns—your only focus is you and your unborn baby.
Jump ahead 18 months and now you have an active toddler, possibly still working full or part-time and all of a sudden you find out you’re expecting baby #2! Pregnancy is still a miracle but now you have to figure out how to navigate morning sickness, your job, food shopping, housekeeping, paying attention to your spouse oh and chasing a spirited 2-year around all day long. Help!
You may not be able to curl up and nap when the mood strikes, but you can embrace your second and subsequent pregnancies with younger kids in tow. Mighty Mommy shares 6 ways to manage pregnancy and motherhood without losing your mind.
#1. Have Realistic Expectations
I used to be a perfectionist (in my former life before I had 8 kids!). One of my coping mechanisms when I was struggling with infertility was to focus on the upkeep of my home. There was just my husband and I and our two adorable cocker spaniels. I decorated for the seasons, alphabetized my pantry and actually vacuumed my closet floors. Today, I’m lucky to see the floor of my closet and as we head into June I’m ashamed to admit I still have a few Christmas odds and ends lying out and about so I learned quickly that priorities do indeed change once you are in the throes of parenthood. That said, give yourself a wonderful gift during your second and future pregnancies by letting go of pre-motherhood standards and try your best to go with the flow. Dusting, neatly folded laundry, and tidy kitchen counters may have to be pushed aside for a bit while you adjust to your new pregnancy and the demands your toddler and other children place on you each day. I picked two afternoons a week as my designated “trash and tidy” time slots and what I couldn’t get to on a daily basis I would try and manage during those two time frames. Doing this eventually gave me a peace of mind that kept me both motivated and calm when the house looked like it was falling apart.
#2. Plan Ahead
Some people say plan is a four letter word, but I say it’s a mother’s best friend! Use your energy (even if it’s quite limited throughout your pregnancy) to stay organized and if possible, one step ahead of your family. For instance, I had extreme morning sickness with all of my pregnancies for the first several months so I knew I was practically useless until later in the day. Once I felt better in the afternoon I would use that time to prep ahead for meals, stay on top of appointments, think of fun games for my younger kids to play while I was not feeling well, throw in a load of laundry etc. Shifting your schedule to meet how you feel is an easy way to meet the demands of pregnancy and motherhood.
#3. Snooze When Possible
I had a unique situation for my first pregnancy. We adopted our first baby and then I got pregnant when she was not even three months old, so at the same time I was discovering how to care for a newborn, I was also experiencing extreme morning sickness, working full-time and trying to sell our home because we wanted to move closer to our family. I went from nothing to everything in the span of a few short months! In addition to throwing up all morning long I was absolutely exhausted. The advice I kept getting was to nap as often as I could. Nap with a newborn? I thought this advice was just nuts until I found ways to sneak them in because the benefits were amazing.
In 8 Ways to Manage One Child at Home When You’re Pregnant, a study by NASA found that a snooze as short as 26 minutes can boost alertness by 54 percent — ideally one taken between the hours of 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. “When you find yourself dragging in your first (or second, or third) trimester, these little catnaps are key. Sneak them in while your toddler naps or is off at pre-school and don’t feel guilty about them. By fighting fatigue now, you’ll have more energy later to take on that mommy and me class or get dinner in the oven.” I would put my newborn baby in her baby bouncer chair on the floor next to me in the living room and would catch a power nap almost every night while dinner cooked. It was only for a quick half-hour but it was enough to reenergize me for the rest of the evening. See Also: 6 Ways to Find Time For Yourself This Summer