baby in carrier
With such amenities as around-the-clock care and meals served in bed, what woman wouldn’t want to prolong the pampering? A husband, three daughters and a dog create enough housework to make a hospital stay seem like a weekend getaway, and after the birth of our son, Austin, I thought I should take advantage of the opportunity to rest. We had made arrangements with my mother-in-law to have the girls stay with her for as long as I needed. But after Austin made his entrance into the world, I felt I needed my family together again so we could fall back into our routine. So, we made arrangements to be discharged early from the hospital. We were eager to resume life as a family --- a family of six this time around.
Once we were home, we relied on a great deal of teamwork to help us manage the transition. It was essential for everyone in the family to develop a higher level of cooperation --- everyone had to take on more of the household responsibilities. While it was difficult for me to relinquish my control over some areas, I had to do it in order to make things work.
My husband was prepared to play a supportive role. In the parenting partnership, we’ve both had to learn how to give and take to make our family life successful. He took over the grocery shopping and, I must say, he did surprisingly well! In the past, his shopping adventures resulted in lot of items I would consider “extras” --- and an “extra” large grocery bill, too. In addition, I felt I had honed my shopping abilities to a science and no one in our household could do it better. But, equipped with my list, he was able to pull it off and spend less that I usually did.
After a few days at home, the kids became restless and I felt I was starting to lose control. Although my husband was able to be with us the first four days at home, I knew he would be returning to work soon and I didn’t want to be stranded with three bored kids and one infant. So, when Austin was just four days old, we ventured away from home for our first official family outing to SuperTarget. After just a few hours out of the house, my energy was spent and we returned home early.
When my husband called his first day back at work, he hesitantly asked, “So, how are you doing?” After almost eleven years of marriage, we have developed a keen ability to decode each other’s meanings. I know that he really wanted to know if I was surviving. Noting the concern in his voice, I told him I was doing okay. He understood that to mean, “It’s pretty much what I expected. I’ll be okay as long as you’re here by 5 o’clock SHARP!”
While holding down the fort on my own is one thing, taking the kids into town alone is quite another. To provide the girls with something exciting to do, I signed them up for swimming lessons that began when Austin was just 10 days old. Although I was hesitant to commit to something so soon, I knew I could probably use all of the outside help I could muster. Armed with a loaded diaper bag, the kids and I jumped back into life full steam ahead.
The lessons turned out to be just what the doctor ordered --- it was good for all of us to get out of the house and soak up a little sunshine. It took me quite a while to get used to having an extra person with us and for some reason, I was afraid I would forget to load someone into the car. So, I got into the habit of counting heads before we drove off. Buckled up and seated at the steering wheel, I commenced with my new routine, “One, two, three, four. Okay, let’s go!”
Bringing a new baby into the house brings a lot of changes and while we tried to be realistic about what a newborn and his mother requires, we had many discussions about how the new baby would affect our family life. We made sure everyone understood that in time, things would be back to normal. While there are days when it’s hard to remember what normal is like, I can confidently say that life is better with our new addition!