In some ways, life with Clara is exactly as I expected, and in some ways it is not.
At first, Tim and I were surprised at how bored we were. For the first four weeks (or so), Clara slept in 4-6 hour chunks all day and all night. I expected to be sleep deprived, and I've actually slept more with a newborn than I did during pregnancy or even prior to pregnancy. (But the thing is, somehow I'm still more tired now than I ever have been. I'm not necessarily sleepy, but I'm mentally/emotionally/physically worn out each day, if that makes sense.)
Those first few weeks, we really had nothing to do, and there were two of us to help with everything. Let me tell you, that makes a difference.
Then Tim went back to work, and Clara started staying awake longer. I love when she's awake. I could stare at her little blue eyes forever. Plus, she's a happy baby and spends lots of time by herself, just staring at the ceiling and grinning. I have no idea what she finds so amusing, but she's clearly a self-entertained little one. In the past few days, she's started to focus on our faces and smile back if we smile at her. It's seriously so freakin' precious.
This is why I can't get anything done, Clara and I spend a lot of time staring at each other.
I feel blessed that we don't have a fussy baby, and that she can eat in 20 minutes or less (which has always been the case, thank goodness) and that we generally have a pretty easy time during the day. But, I say this relatively. We have an easy day compared to other moms with newborns - life is by no means easy compared to what my 'old' life was like!
When Tim went back to work, this is how I thought my day would go: Clara would sleep, I'd make myself a healthy lunch, we'd walk around the block if the weather was nice, we'd maybe run an errand, I'd find projects to keep me occupied and I'd spend time doing laundry and organizing the house, I'd have time to read, and then I'd prep dinner... you get the idea. (I clearly didn't know how messy babies are.)
Obviously, my life is not like that. What actually happens is that we finally get out of bed in the late-morning because Clara doesn't really wake up until 10am and so neither do I, and at that point I try to decide if Clara needs a bath or not (based on how much she pukes on her hair in the morning), then I give her a bath, she poops in the tub or on her towel and I need to rush to change her and then she pukes on her outfit and I change her again, and then I realize I'm still not showered or dressed and I try to decide if that actually needs to happen and right when I decide to take a shower Clara decides she's hungry so then I feed her again and she pukes again... and seriously by the time this all occurs it's 2pm and the bathroom is still a mess and Clara is wide awake staring at me and I'm in pajamas with 'Divorce Court' on in the background wondering where my day went.
I consider it a major victory if we get out of the house at all!
And then, sometime in the late afternoon, I realize I never ate lunch and the thought of preparing dinner is just too much for me.
This is about the time I pull out a box of crackers and decide that the term 'lunch' can apply to just about anything.
Lately we've gotten a little more prepared, though, and we've stocked our freezer with frozen meals. We've been trying different brands and meals, and so I was very excited when Chili’s® at Home gave me the opportunity to try one of their meals.
I chose the Pepper Jack Mac 'N' Cheese because, I mean, it's mac & cheese, and I happen to be obsessed with all things noodles and cheese and used to eat at least one meal of mac & cheese each day. I'm not proud of this... or maybe I am.
Anyway, the other day it was 3pm and I hadn't eaten lunch and Clara was asleep so I didn't want to bang around anything in the kitchen to make anything, and I was so freakin' excited that all I had to do was reach into the freezer, pull out a box of goodness, throw it in the microwave, and 4.5 minutes later I could enjoy a delicious meal.
Honestly, I loved it. It had way more flavor than I expected - I'm not sure if it was from the pepper jack cheese or the peppers - and I devoured the whole thing within minutes. This was one of the best frozen food meals I've had in quite a while - yay!
It's the little things that make my life easier and happier as a new mom, and this frozen meal did it for me!
So now I'm going to be stocking up. Breastfeeding makes me ravenous (this is something else I didn't expect) and it seriously makes such a difference to eat a 'meal' rather than a snack when I get hungry.
This is my advice o' the days for new moms: stock up on frozen meals.
(To help you with this, Chili’s® at Home is offering you a $1 off coupon for a frozen meals - every little bit helps!)
Yes, in a perfect world you'll be able to whip up dinner each night, but lunch is a whole different ballgame, and you may not have time to prepare meals ahead of time. I think setting realistic expectations in the beginning is important, and you should definitely have a back-up plan! Friends and family might bring you meals, but in our case people brought us lasagna and pasta dishes and dinners that still took a lot of time to reheat/cook.
I'm telling you, fast and easy will be your friend.
(This post is sponsored by Bellisio Foods, but my love for their tasty, bold, and quick meals is all my own!)
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