Staying at home with a newborn is hard. There’s a lot of things that people say are hard that I don’t agree with. Putting sheets on a bed, for instance. But navigating the world of being a mom and all of a sudden taking care of a newborn falls firmly into the hard category. I was lucky enough to have my son at the end of the school year, so my maternity leave was 4 months. With the one on the way, I’ll take 6 weeks, and then go back to work part time for the remaining 5 weeks of the year and then get 3 months over the summer. No matter how long yours is, here are a few quick tips to managing maternity leave.
1. Get a Netfix/Hulu account
We’re super frugal, so we don’t have Netflix or Hulu or cable. During the first weeks and months with a newborn, there’s not a lot of moving around that happens. It’s pretty much just snuggles and feedings, and when you’re home by yourself (or even with your spouse), it’s really nice to have something on, even if it’s just for the background noise. When we brought our son home, I rewatched all of New Girl and quite a bit of The Office. I’m actively deciding what I’ll watch when I bring the new one home. I’m leaning heavily towards Hulu, so I can binge The Goldbergs (If you haven’t watched this show, watch it! It’s based on the main characters real life which makes it even better.)
2. Snuggle as much as you can
The doctor told me not to do anything physical, including laundry and dishes, for at least a week. I did not listen. I tried, but when laundry and dishes piled up, I felt like I had to. My husband did a lot, but then I felt bad that he was doing so much. Obviously try to find a balance, but make sure to tip the scales towards more snuggles.
3. Sleep when the baby sleeps
Another thing that people told me to do, and in theory it makes perfect sense. In practice, however, that’s when the laundry and dishes get done! Leave them. Take a nap. This is a very short season and once sleep is stabilized, you can go back to doing chores when they need to be done, but being home with a newborn requires sleep and there’s not much to be had, so get it in when you can.
4. Download books
I read all 1000 pages of Atlas Shrugged from a Kindle Fire when I was nursing which we bought specifically for this purpose. It’s nearly impossible to turn pages while nursing or bottle feeding. This way, when you’re not watching Netflix, the next page is just a quick tap away.
5. Above all, give yourself a break
This is the hardest. As long as you’re loving your little one and taking care of yourself, you’re doing fine. Dishes and laundry will pile up. You’ll get more takeout than you want to. You may not shower on a regular basis. But you’re doing fine.
What are you tips for maternity leave?