Motherhood! This has been the sweetest of chapters. I was never that girl who was obsessed with having babies but just knew I always wanted them. I’ll even be the first to admit I decided to start trying to have a baby the first time around out of sheer boredom (probably not wise). I was in a new city without very many friends and so I thought, oh maybe this is a good time to get pregnant, I’ve got some free time? Flash forward three years and Rex and Willow have been the very best things to ever happen to me. My world is crazier for sure and most days my brain is completely jumbled, but they’ve also slowed me down in the best way possible and motherhood has taught me so many life lessons along the way. They have completely changed how I look at most things, like what’s truly most important at the end of the day… family. Of course it’s a chapter in life that comes with lots of struggles and challenges but it’s the best ride and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, if you really tune into yourself and tune into them, they will show and teach you all the answers. Filling your world with such pure and simple joys!
Now… about how I prepped for baby number two. I’ve had a few friends who are newly pregnant ask for my advice and those on their second / third ask if I did anything special this time around. Just a few months ago I was the one asking all of my girlfriends with multiple babes–how do you juggle two?! Everyone’s answer was always, you know what you’re doing. This second time will be easier than you think. And honestly I really don’t like to give any kind of parenting advice because every baby and family is different and who knows if what I’m doing is right/ wrong–but there are a few things I did for myself this time around that have helped me so much emotionally / physically. In no particular order here…
1. Figure out what you want your maternity leave to look like. | First, since I run my own small business and didn’t take any “time off” after having Rex (because I thought I could keep up with the blog while he was sleeping) my main priority was to give myself some proper time off with Willow. I can’t recommend this enough! I don’t really regret not giving myself that time with Rex because I did slow down a lot then too (I didn’t take on any styling projects), but it’s more like–why not Alicia? This is the only time in your life they will be newborns… just enjoy it and embrace the slowness. Why try to over do it and push yourself to keep up with your normal? So this time around I scheduled out as much content as I could and really kinda just coasted this summer enjoying my babies and this time. I didn’t take on any additional projects and it was the best for me. Even just a few weeks to check out completely is so necessary for that special bonding time with baby (and your family)! We also didn’t go on a lot of trips or have much on our calendar at all this summer (we did book a trip to Santa Cruz but otherwise stayed local / within Northern California). Even little weekend trips become taxing so we limited those as well. It’s been my absolute favorite summer because of this! Actually super relaxing with lazy Saturday naps, lots of backyard bbq’s, appreciating home and really falling in love with the city we live in.
2. Decluttering and all of the organization. | Nesting mode is real as you all know and so I went on a complete decluttering spree. Everything from organizing everything in our house (I mean this is on-going) and donating Rex’s old clothes / toys to organizing the files and photos on my computer. That last one was a major project in itself!
3. Assess what you need. | Since this was my second baby and I strive to keep a minimal(ish) house (i.e.: I am in the camp of wanting the least amount of baby things as possible) I actually got rid of baby gear before we had Willow rather than accumulating. Once you have a baby you will quickly realize you actually don’t need much. We have the bare minimum when it comes to play gyms etc., and also what might work for one baby doesn’t always work for the next so I’ve learned to hold off buying much until you actually understand what gadgets might work best for your little one / life.
Okay so the one baby item we did get this time around? The SNOO. Woah, if sleep has price tag this is worth it in my mind. I didn’t think it was necessary ($$$) plus I love the sweet wooden craddle that Rex slept in as a baby (that I also slept in when I was a baby)… but our in-laws surprised us with it. I’m not sure if it’s Willow or the SNOO–maybe a combo–but she’s been such a great sleeper since that first week. She’s slept through the night completely since month two. We can’t believe it because this was definitely not the case with Rex (I don’t think he slept through the night until closer to 9 months.) So if you are thinking about the SNOO and can justify that price, I’d say for sure go for it… and now you can rent them which actually might be the best way to go. And this is 100% not sponsored–although Tanner did have a meeting with founder, Dr. Karp shortly after we got ours and says he’s such a nice guy!
4. Food prep for you! (And your family.) | Now I didn’t go crazy like my organized Virgo cousin (haha, Nikki!) who was pregnant at the same time as me… but I did freeze some soups and bone broths to have on hand for those first couple of weeks. I was inspired by the book, The First Forty Days, which also was my main source of inspiration to really carve out that slow time. Having warming and nutritious foods on hand was so nice. I also found it helpful that right before she was born I cleaned out my kitchen and went on a spree of organizing our dry goods so I’d have plenty on hand to cook with. I love to cook so even just a day out of the hospital I was in the kitchen. It’s really calming and has become a happy place for me. So having a grandma in town to hold Willow just so I could make a healthy meal for my fam was so nice.
Besides food prep for yourself… it’s also helpful to have things on hand that will be easy to make for the whole family and your other little ones. The thing about a second or third baby is that you don’t get to come home and necessarily relax. You’re on mom mode for more than one (although hopefully you’ll have help in those early days!). I made sure to stock our pantry with Rex’s faves each week leading up to my due date… but also, didn’t go crazy because it’s so easy to order in food and run to the grocery store. But one tip I do think is nice to consider if you’re not a cook–a meal delivery service. A friend recommended a healthy delivery service to me and I thought that was such a great idea for those first few weeks! Something to consider if it’s in your budget.
5. Prep your first born and create a plan for after the baby is born. | Of course our main priority this time around was Rex and how he would take to this change and addition to our family. He was so sweet during my pregnancy, understanding that their was a baby growing in my belly but we weren’t sure how much he understood that she would be sticking around for good. Two and a half years as an only child means he needs lots of attention and that’s also his personality–a high energy little guy who needs constant stimulation and/or interaction. He’s obsessed with Willow for sure (no one makes her laugh as hard as he does!) although we’ve had our fair share of jealousy issues. I enrolled him in preschool that started a month after she was born. I thought this would be something fun for him to go to and give me time with Willow. In hind-sight I’m not sure if the timing was right as it was a big adjustment for him. I’ve also realized how important it is for me to schedule mom-and-me dates with him. We spent all day together and then to go from all of that quality time to him now sharing that time with Willow, or more time with our nanny or my husband has been hard on both of us. I’ve been mourning my time with Rex (now that I have Willow to take care of)–which is a whole other post in itself. But making special dates with him has helped so much!
Right after she was born–we went back and forth on whether to send Rex to the grandparents for a week so we could actually sleep some and have that time with Willow but ultimately I’m glad we didn’t. He was going through so many new little emotions that I didn’t want him to feel as if we were shipping him off. (As much fun as he does have at the grandparents–he’s at that age where he’s just much more aware.)
6. Logistics. | Then lastly, lots of planning and logistics to be figured out. From the day of–who would be with Rex when I went into labor … to after–who would help me after T went back to work. (He went back after a week this time around so I wanted to make sure I had our nanny lined up to jump in for more hours.) Knowing I had help lined up ahead of time was huge!
There’s a whole lot I still don’t have figured out and that we are learning as we go but these few things helped me so much!
On Me. | MIRTH kaftan from their fall collection. On Willow. | Misha & Puff onesie.
*snapshots all captured by me of a slow Sunday spent at home