while trying to live today
so i am sort of on a productivity roll lately.
i even have evidence
morning workouts, daily español, full days of work, evening studying, cooking, and an early bedtime. i’m actually kind of proud of how i’ve managed to adjust my routine over the last month or so. but i keep having the same panicky thoughts, day after day:
i have no idea how i’m going to function with a baby.
to be clear, i am SO excited to become a mother and already love the little 19.5-week being that is inside of me so much. i have dreams about her. i think about all of the time i want to spend with her and the things i want to give her, teach her, show her.
[and also outfit her with. can’t help it.]
but sometimes — i can’t help this either — i think about me. because as much as i am going to gain, there are some things i am going to lose. particularly after my 12 weeks of maternity leave come to a very sad end.
it’s not that i will have less time — i was about to write that, but it’s not true, unless giving birth shortens my lifespan in some unanticipated way [hope not]. it’s that my time will be filled with so many more things. i am going to have to let go of the ideas that i need to do X, Y, Z to be a good/worthy person.
something is going to have to go. perhaps multiple things. and i often think about what those things will be.
✔ first of all, i realize [and accept] i will get A LOT less sleep. i’m hopeful that some sort of hormonal magic will kick in and that i will just . . . FEEL OKAY on less for a while. after all, that would make evolutionary sense, right?
✔ i am hoping that i will still have time for exercise — especially running, but yoga/strength work too. but once work starts back up, i know it will be a challenge. i am envisioning home yoga during naps + early morning runs with the stroller, but i can’t help but wonder just HOW EARLY we’d have to start for me to be able to drop off at day care and still make it to work within a reasonable hour.
✔ my leisurely mornings are going to go away — at least to some degree. i am not sure if i will be able to keep up with this daily writing thing, which makes me so sad! posting may become more sporadic and i will accept that if the trade-off is more time spent with our baby girl.
✔ elaborate dinners are likely to become a thing of the past. i am guessing that i will have to become much more streamlined in my weeknight dinner prep.
last night’s homemade cajun meatballs — not going to fly
✔ housekeeping/cleaning may end up outsourced. i will probably have to give something up so that we can afford this [sniff . . . goodbye, anthro — for now], but if i’m spending 1/3 weekends distracted by the pager, i’d rather not spend another 1/3 cleaning the bathroom.
✔ nighttime couch relaxation will probably morph into bathtime, story-time, try-to-get-her-to-sleep-PLEASE time. i don’t know if i’ll have the time or energy to read books anymore that aren’t filled with pictures or fun textures to touch.
though i admit i’m looking forward to these, too
i am more excited than i am worried
i really am. i know things will come together. but i can’t help but have a little bit of practical anxiety mixed with loving anticipation. josh and i have many friends who have struggled with the infant stage, and others who have sailed through as if it’s the easiest most wonderful thing in the world. by my observations, the following traits seem more prevalent in the latter group:
◼ more relaxed personalities [ie, go-with-the-flow kinds of people]
◼ flexible jobs
◼ mo’ money [it does NOT = ‘mo problems’ as far as having babies are concerned]
◼ nannies [it’s true. we’re not planning to go that route, but in our circle, i have noticed that those who have had nannies — as opposed to day care — tended to find things easier early on. maybe because of the flexible aspect? not having to rush?]
◼ babies that were just calmer by nature [you get what you get!]
◼ close parental/family support
we do not have mo’ money [not yet, anyway], nor do we have nearby grandparents, and we’re not planning on a nanny [see previous day care post]. my job IS flexible at times, but not-so-much at others, and i’m certainly not part-time [YET]. there’s little we can do to ensure that our infant will be a sleepy happy baby and not a colicky midnight screamer.
but i can work on the whole ‘relaxed personality’ thing. the ‘one-day-at-a-time’ thing. which probably means spending less time worrying about all of these things and more time just being appreciative of the fact that today, i’m doing the best with what i have — which is exactly what i will be doing 4.5 months from now [when baby SHU debuts] or 7.5 months from now [when i have to go back to work].
enough of my ramblings!
this was one of those posts i had NO IDEA i was going to write until it all came out! mothers/mothers-to-be: thoughts? suggestions? of note, most of the above applies to the 13 months from end the of my maternity leave until the end of my pediatric endocrinology fellowship. i am truly hoping that after that, i will be able to find a job situation that fits my desire to balance things the way i want to [though i don’t even know what i WILL want at this juncture!]. although really, i can’t necessarily count on that either.
workout: 3 mi run, 9:55/mi pace. and i signed up for this:
i had mentioned an 8K, but it turns out there’s also a local 5K — which i think is a better idea, seeing as i haven’t run much more than 4 miles in months. obviously this will be a fun run and not a ‘race’ for me, but i’m still excited!
dinner: see above! what i did not know when i began cooking these cajun meatballs [from this month’s clean eating mag] was that i’d be cooking for one! josh never made it home from the OR last night but i made these with him in mind — they’re a pork/shrimp mix with spicy seasoning, which is right up his alley. the recipe was fairly easy but dirtied a lot of dishes! i had my doubts about its tastiness [the ingredients just seemed so . . . simple] but it actually came together very well.
espanol: check. i love that the spanish word for laptop is . . . ‘la laptop’. wish it were all that easy!
endo: more work on the journal club — just have to finish tonight!
I concur completely on the housekeeper. I’ve had one since I was in third year of medical school, and it is probably the single best "unnecessary" thing that I spend my money on. It makes such a huge difference in my quality of life to know that once a week my apartment will be cleaned, with no effort from me.
Also, I know that fellow mothers will undoubtedly have more baby-specific advice, but don’t discount your childless friends as a source of support and advice. Childless people (particularly those of us drowning in residency) still struggle with time management and may have good suggestions for making your life easier. As well, childless people often have siblings/friends with kids and so may be aware of local programs/resources through those connections. While we don’t know firsthand what it’s like to have a baby in our lives, we aren’t completely useless. 🙂
I have nothing to share about being a mom simply because I don’t even have a pet goldfish…but I think you’ll do wonderfully. I have no doubt that it is probably a stressful time, but you find ways to make things work. Priorities will get shifted, morning posts may not happen…but you have so much else to look forward to and hopefully things will get a little better at the end of fellowship (yikes!) when attending salaries kick in and you score an awesome part time job of sorts. In the meantime, I can’t wait to see how you dress the little one because she’s going to be one styling little SHU.
Don’t worry about it now because there’s nothing you can do. You don’t know if the mini-Shubox will be calm, or high maintenance. You can prepare all that you want, but you also don’t know how you and Josh are going to be as parents. I thought for sure I was going to be so high stress and slightly crazy, but once Aaron came along, I became the most calm, go with the flow mom.
I only work part time, so I can’t really sympathize with your crazy schedule, but many of my friends are doctors, so I know to an extent what it’s like. You do what you have to do and you make it work. Maybe it means spending a few more hours prepping meals ahead of time for the week so you can workout, or finding new ways to workout. Everything works out for the best, I really believe that. You never know what you are capable of as a parent until you become one.
I have no worries at all that you will find a great routine that works for you, Sarah! You will certainly have to give some things up and change some things around but you will make it work for you and your family. I was SO nervous about going back to work and it was really, really hard but it definitely gets easier as you establish your routine. I actually found the evening to be a great time to go running with the stroller – it is the "witching hour" so babies are generally fussy and it is nice to get outside with them for a while. If you can find another mommy friend to go with – even better. I went running with my nanny share friend most of the time. My mornings were too crazy to even contemplate running (but I don’t get up at the crack of dawn like you do :).
I wish I could offer some more specific advice, but as we learned oh so quickly, everything depends on the behavior/personality/habits of your baby. We had an extremely difficult first four months because our son was (and sometimes still is) a horrendous sleeper. I thought it would be easier being at home full-time but I think I was more sleep deprived and strung out because I spent 24/7 trying to get him to sleep. All of that said, we have a lot of friends with babies and no one had such an extreme sleeper, so chances are you won’t:) You will certainly feel shell-shocked at first by how radically things change, but the insane, overpowering love you’ll feel makes up for all of it and more. Also……get a cleaning service!:) If I worked it would be the first thing I did!
I know that this isn’t the focus of the post, but since I don’t have kids, I can’t add to that discussion!
However, I do have to quibble with the "laptop" translation that they give you. While there are plenty of anglicisms that come along with technology vocab, what is a bit more common for ‘laptop’ is "ordenador portatil (a with an accent) OR "computadora portatil" (also, a with an accent).
I’m having the exact same worries, and basically trying to ignore them since I know I can’t know what to expect! I also know that I function "well" under pressure- so I’m hoping that instinct kicks in when baby arrives, and through my return to work (etc). I think flexibility is one of the keys- having a flexible job doesn’t mean less work, but it does mean you may not have the same extreme pressure points around 6:30am and 6:00pm!
I had the same worries as you did, or even anxieties, being that I am such a high strong A personality with penciled schedules, to-do lists, organizers and everything planned out well in advance and than all of a sudden when Lexi came the anxiety was all gone. I actually let her change me. Don’t take me wrong, I still plan everything out, with no family in town or near us you kind of have to be super organized (though we do have a nanny and a housekeeper, but I gave up my Starbucks and eating out every day), but I adjusted my life to her. I changed my mind set of how will I fit her into all my activities to how am I fitting my activities in her life. It didn’t happen over night and I am still learning an changing. They don’t say for nothing "motherhood changes everything", but change this time is so welcome and good. Six months later, the life as I knew it is very different but so much more fulfilling. Perhaps she is teaching me to be a more relaxed and easy going person.
Trust yourself and your decisions. Different things work for different people. You will be a great mom and you will find your balance.
I don’t have any children so can’t help with the practical advice. Have a good friend who is an OB/GYN and her husband is a cardiologist at a teaching hospital. They have three girls — 6, 4 and 1. The younger two go to daycare, the oldest is in school until 2 pm’ish. They have a nanny from Noon until 7 pm. Helps with overall straightening, picking up the daycare girls, meeting the oldest from the school bus, helps supervise play and then gets dinner started for her. I think she gets home from work around 6 pm’ish and the nanny helps a good bit with that 6pm-time frame transition (she gets home, kids are fed, she can slightly decompress, etc). I’m not sure how straightforward their schedules are (e.g., how they balance on-calls, whether or not his schedule is predictable). I know she is extremly busy but they manage to keep in touch and get out/be social.
While I’m not a doctor, it seems to me that medical residency would give you a good foundation for the "prepare for the unknown" that is often half the battle with children. Anyway, the idea that you are recognizing the potential stressors and that your life will change no matter are key.
I also wonder how I’ll balance it all (assuming I ever find a job). It is nerve-wracking but also super exciting! I have no doubt it will be hard, but I also know we’ll both find ways to make it work 🙂
not being a parent yet i don’t really have knowledge to comment with but i want to thank you for sharing this–it’s comforting to know other people have the same worries i have about my (future) life!
I think that’s a great distinction– not less time, but instead more full. I’m glad all this spilled out in the morning post because I loved how honest it was. Thanks for sharing, and as always, love your blog:)
I think your fears are normal and I have them too. Luckily, i have spent some time getting a good non-full time job that I really like and am already working less hours. Full time isn’t for me anymore, but my newer schedule is great. When we first got a dog, I made a lot of changes to our routine (being away from the house less, exercise in morning instead of night, thinking more about someone else’s schedule), and it is totally worth it but different. I think this will be the same on a greater time-eating scale. Looking forward to a new way of life!
I love your observations about parents! I really do think that flexibility is critical. I totally agree that yes, your little she-SHU will change pretty much everything, but most of those changes will overwhelm you with such intense joy that you will welcome and embrace it as much as you embrace your little button! Totally agree with JT…love that she "let" the child change her…it’s about being open, which you TOTALLY get!
That said… let’s get practical. Take help whenever you can, and if you can outsource, do it! Cleaning help, paying for your laundry (HUGE, baby laundry will shock you!) all help and can be budget-friendly.
ALSO: Letting go of clock time=happy parents. My hubs and I both work in live breaking news, so our schedules are 24/7 too, which means we kinda live in a different (scary) world. Docs do too, and I think that will be a HUGE benefit for both you and Josh. The parents I’ve seen struggle the most are the ones who just can’t imagine being awake at 3am for anything — ever. The less tied to the clock you are (flexible) the easier your first year will be. I watched Petticoat Junction reruns every night at 4am on TVLand with baby#1 and loved it. ?
Also clock related, yes, routines are critical for children, but not always for infants. I would encourage you not to rush too fast to establish your guidelines on sleeping/eating. That usually induces stress in everyone. I satisfied my need to keep order by keeping a running list (wish I had had the app) of when Connor ate/slept/did diapy stuff so that I could monitor, but HE drove all the whens, not me. In my view, most parents who tend to be more type A don’t really embrace flexible until baby #2 arrives. whole.different.world (we’ll tawk in much later posts!)
Sorry to dump all the mommy advice on you…you will be so great at this, you really don’t need it!
I will leave you on a downer with a note of caution…the change that may be hardest may be in your relationship with hubs. We decided to work opposite schedules because we could, and because day care wasn’t right for us. It worked cuz we worked at the same place and did "baby-hand off"… I did early am, he did evenings and we switched out baby (babies) in the newsroom. It was fun and worked perfectly for us, but we often felt like 2 single parents raising the same kids. But we were truly equal parents on (almost) every level (he couldn’t lactate dang it!) but our relationship was pretty much on hold for a long time. It won’t last, but you may feel that distance deeply. But then, watching the relationships grow between the three of you will make it all worth all of it!
WOW..novel, sorry! I’m getting nostalgic! Thanks for the trip down memory lane!
Have a great weekend!