I didn’t want to write about it here at the time, but Max was away for a work trip over eight days in the last couple weeks. He had the chance to go to Washington, DC, for a training induction at his job, and he had a blast touring iconic sites, eating and drinking the American way, and working hard during the day. I was super jealous, to be honest – in our pre-baby days, we would have found a way for me to fly over there, too, and fill our evenings with exploring what sounds to be a pretty amazing city!
Instead, Zach and I kept it pretty low-key here on our own. I ended up coming down with some sort of cold, and man was that tough! Taking care of a baby 24/7 with no respite is hard enough as it is; adding sickness to the mix made things difficult to say the least.
One thing is for sure- after those eight days, I now have some serious respect and empathy for single moms (or dads). I can’t imagine taking care of a bub and a home and pets and my own life by myself all the time, not just for a week here or there. Props to you single parents out there! (Do people still say props? Am I out of the pop culture loop? Is this what motherhood does? Will I soon start writing on my own Facebook wall when trying to wish others a happy birthday? Only time will tell).
Anyway, one thing I learned from my brief stint as a single mum is that organisation is king in managing a home on your own. I’m normally pretty organised as it is, but I took things to a whole new level last week. The dogs and cat were fed with military precision and timing. I’d prepare the dogs’ leashes and harnesses before bundling Zach up on my chest for a walk that covered exactly 45 minutes of our neighbourhood before we came home to start a feed. I would tidy the house each night before bed, setting up things I’d need for the morning, getting my French press prepared with coffee grounds next to the kettle, sterilising all the pump parts and bottles, washing any dishes, scooping the kitty litter, and wiping down the shower. Rather than worry about cooking and grocery shopping, I organised Lite n Easy to be delivered so that I could just grab food out of the fridge or freezer and eat it as needed. This provide to be a real luxury, but an expensive one – to just feed me, it cost nearly what we normally spend on our entire weekly grocery budget for two. If it weren’t for the cost, I’d seriously consider ordering Lite n Easy more often, given the convenience, and the meals were pretty tasty, too.
Last time I wrote I addressed the little man’s naps…I have an update here that is good and bad! Thankfully, he has started taking some great naps that are 60 to 90 minutes long! Being the advanced little creature that he is, however, he started rolling a couple weeks ago, which means that I needed to transition him out of his swaddle for sleeping (if he rolled onto his tummy in his sleep and didn’t have an arm free, he could suffocate). We usually wrap him up in a Woombie, which keeps him feeling snug and secure, and taking an arm out proved to be a tough change for him to handle. It only took about two days to get him used to it, but those two days were filled with tears and very little sleep..for both of us! Thankfully, he has returned to mostly great naps now (aside from the last couple of days since he just received his four-month vaccinations yesterday and also seems to have caught my cold).
All things considered, though, keeping things running smoothly at home and with Zach’s sleeping wasn’t my biggest challenge while Max was away. I think what really stood out to me most was how isolating it can be to be a new mum. Normally I try to get us out and about during the week, but I canceled our plans due to my cold so we were homebound nearly every day. I actually quite like spending lots of time one on one with the babe; he is adorable and fun company, but when you go days without seeing another human being or stepping foot out the front door, the loneliness can get intense. Luckily, as you can see from the photos above, we got outside a bit this week to enjoy some lovely end-of-winter weather. In any case, I think it will be important to continue to build friendships with other mums and build up a network of women and families to connect with.
How do you meet like-minded people in your community? I’d love to hear any ideas you have! I have met several lovely women in my Child and Family Health Services Mothers Group, which has been a great start.