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#1 of 24 Old 09-20-2007, 09:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello!

Right now, I am working at a great job in a career I really enjoy, using the training I received at school. I’m making pretty good money, and I work with a bunch of really professional, positive, motivated people. I usually wear suits every day and work in fancy buildings.

In six months, I am leaving. I'm hanging-up my blackberry and turning into a Stay At Home Mom. Our first baby is due in March.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am very excited and a little nervous.

Do any of you SAHMS have any advice for a woman who is leaving the career highway and taking the Mom exit ramp to….. where?

My DH is just finishing his PhD, he will have a job in about a year or 18 months. His new job will move us somewhere else on this planet; it’s an exciting mystery for now! We are covered financially until then.

Currently, we are in a really child-friendly urban neighbourhood. We don’t have a car, we are a short walk away from groceries, schools, parks, museums, libraries, festivals, clothing shops, etc. We ride bikes and we are planning on getting a bike trailer/jogging stroller for the wee one when he or she arrives in time for Spring.

I strongly believe in being with my children when they are little. Once they are in school, real school, I might go back to working outside of the home part time… but that wouldn’t be for several years, since we plan on having at least two children.

I might do some at-home writing work on-line, if I can manage it with a little one. I have been home for one year once before, without children…. So I know how to be frugal, shop on sale, cook from scratch, fill a deep freezer, etc.

SO: Do any of you veterans have some advice for a soon-to-be newbie? I only have six months left! Is there anything that you wish you had done before shifting from a rewarding career outside of the home, to a rewarding life at home with your children? Not to mention those hectic first few weeks with a newborn???

I’m looking forward to joining you.

Thanks so much!

Trin.
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#2 of 24 Old 09-20-2007, 09:44 PM
 
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I don't know that I'm a veteran, I've only been at it for 10 months. Honestly, the best advice I can give: don't have any expectations. You will be continuously surprised at what your LO does and does not do, how you react to certain things, the things you end up doing that you swore you wouldn't, how the things that your DP did that used to get on your nerves now feel like grounds for divorce, how when you finally think you've got a good routine going your LO suddenly changes on you, how you desperately want to get out of the house, but have run out of places to go, and on and on and on. But, lest I leave you with the impression it's all bad, I should share with you the ways it's wonderful. Be prepared to feel like your heart is no longer in your body. Be prepared to just melt the first time your babe smiles at you. Be grateful that you will be the one to see all of the firsts. Feel proud about the fact that you are shaping a wonderful being. Nothing is so equally challenging and blissful, exhausting and fun. Oh, and even though in the first few weeks you think people are totally crazy when they tell you how fast it goes b/c your days will feel painfully slow, it really, really does go by fast. Enjoy it!
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#3 of 24 Old 09-21-2007, 02:33 AM
 
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HA! My advice was going to be to not have any expectations! Honestly, the first year was painfully slow for me, but now it's flying by and I never seem to have any time! It will be difficult and then one day you'll find yourself in a routine and you'll be comfortable with it. I've gone through every emotion possible in regards to staying home, but overall I love it and am so grateful that I am able to do it.
Good luck with your journey!
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#4 of 24 Old 09-21-2007, 08:37 AM
 
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I've been a SAHM for 3.5 years but I didn't have a career before, just odd little jobs, so I don't really know what that's going to be like.

The biggest thing is don't worry about being perfect. Yes you are home all day but that doesn't mean the house will be spotless every night. Children grow up so fast and they don't care if the dishes in the sink are dirty or there's finger prints all over the walls for an extra hour while you play with them. Be the best parent you can be, the rest can wait (unless you make it really wait then have CPS called on you for hazardous living conditions. )

The PPs are right, at first your days will be horribly slow. A newborn sleeps alllll the day and there's really not much to do but sit ther and watch them breathe. But once they get mobile, the whole world opens up. I've been super excited the last few months because my oldest is finely able to do crafts, like the egg carton bugs we made yesterday.

Don't stress too much. It makes your hair fall out.
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#5 of 24 Old 09-21-2007, 09:50 AM
 
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Make friends make friends make friends. When i first became a sahm, i felt sooo lonely and isolated. I was shy and young and nervous around new people. then we moved and a neighbor urged me to join a mom's group. Wow, other moms doing the same things i was! It made a world of difference.

Also from the get go remember you are staying at home to be a mom, not clean house. I get sooooo anal about the house staying clean sometimes,then remind myself that keeping the house clean is not why i am at home.

: Good luck! How exciting!!

Sahm mom to three lovely girls, and happily married to a great, sweet guy
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#6 of 24 Old 09-21-2007, 03:45 PM
 
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Expect that it will take you several months to get "in the groove" and you might feel a little weird/ unsettled at first just by virtue of not going to work every day. Give yourself time.
Go somewhere just about every day if you can (after the first little while, of course). Look for mom's groups, parks for walks, places that show free movies for moms of infants, check out your local library, go get a cup of coffee- just so you're not in your house all day.

De-clutter your house as much as possible BEFORE the baby is born.

Discuss ahead of time what w/ DH what staying at home means. Will you still be splitting housework the same way? Who is responsible for meals? Make sure you point out that you don't know what it will be like after the baby comes and you might need to revisit this...
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#7 of 24 Old 09-22-2007, 12:43 AM
 
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Read the thread about how everyone starts cleaning up an hour or two before their DP gets home.

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#8 of 24 Old 09-22-2007, 01:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by pinksprklybarefoot View Post
Read the thread about how everyone starts cleaning up an hour or two before their DP gets home.


And take one evening to yourself with friends. I never did, and was bitchy and grumpy, feeling at a loss. Now, three months of taking Thursday for ladies night... out on the boat, at a restaurant, hot coco and books, a play, pedicures........ the list can go on, I am happily recharged and more likely than not... my husband enjoys my amorous company later Thursday night.
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#9 of 24 Old 09-22-2007, 07:52 AM
 
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Don't assume that just because you're staying home that you'll have tons of free time to get things done. I've noticed that a lot with my first-time mom clients, they are totally shocked by the reality of life with a newborn! I had one client -- she's actually here once in a while, on this subforum so if you are, hi Jess! -- who thought she'd have time to keep the house spotless and even teach a class at the local college after the baby was born.

I've been a sahm for almost 5y now. It's always changing and evolving, just like my kids are. My three are almost 5yo (twin boys) and a 2.5yo girl. And I'm pregnant again and due in a few weeks, so I know it will completely change and evolve then!

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#10 of 24 Old 09-22-2007, 11:48 AM
 
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YES! I have been a SAHM for 5 years now. I really thought I would pop out some kids, put on an apron and bake cupcakes in my spotlessly clean kitchen. HA! LOL I just made my first batch of cupcakes like a year ago, and it was a huge pita. LOL

First of all, get up before your kids. At first you'll sleep in with the baby but after a while I find it IMMENSELY helpful to not let my kids be my alarm clock - I function much better if I have had one cup of coffee and a shower before I have to hit the ground running.

Dont stress about your housecleaning. If it gets too bad, maybe a once a month housecleaner would be helpful.

get out of the house as much as possible.

Brace yourself for how insanely difficult it will be to get simple task like grocery shopping done. Seriously. At first its not so bad because the newborn sleeps a lot but then they wake up. LOL It WILL get easier. Just breathe.

join a moms club of some kind, make friends who get it.

get time for yourself! Once a month, or more if you can, go get a pedicure, go with a friend for a cup of coffee.

And most of all, ENJOY it. It sounds so cliche but they really really do get big way too fast.
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#11 of 24 Old 09-22-2007, 12:20 PM
 
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I will preface this by saying that every baby is different so our experience while helpful to hear about may not be anything like your experience.

I found the first couple months to a year to be very easy. I napped a lot so I was rested, I walked a lot so I lost all the baby weight quickly, I felt good, my house was spotless because I had a baby who like to be worn while I cleaned and vacummed.

However, I was BORED OUT OF MY MIND. Newborns are not interseting IMO, they are lumps on logs and even though I loved her to death she wasn't exactly stimulating.

Sooo, my advice is to make other mom friends (I didn't have any friends with kids before I had my baby). Things are always more fun for me when I have company so I started going to LLL meetings and API meetings just to meet other moms. I went out whenever I could, even just running errands made my day more interesting.

Around one year, maybe a little earlier, she got more interesting and my house is now a mess. I am having tons of fun though and I feel like I have a friend with me everywhere I go.

All in all I was really happy with my decision to stay home and I wouldn't change it for the world. It has definitely helped me relax a bit too since before I was totally a type A work all the time crazy person. I refuse to run my daughter's life like that though so I end up slowing down too.
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#12 of 24 Old 09-23-2007, 08:59 PM
 
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My advice is to get out of the house!

I found that I feel much better if I got out of the house every day by about 10 a.m. If have a bad morning and don't have time to shower and don't feel like hitting the mall, I just take a walk around the block, or, when my kids were babies, I'd sit outside under a tree and put them on a blanket.

My sister is currently suffering from PPD, and whenever I go see her I make her get out of the house. The first time, I was following her in her car to the park and she called me at a stoplight and said the baby was screaming and she was going to turn around and just go home. I said nope, it's a beautiful day, you will feel much better if we go to the park! So we pulled over, she soothed him, and we kept going. She was so happy that we went and seemed to be in a better mood for the rest of the day. Now she makes a point to get out every day whether I am there to help or not.

So, no matter what, try to get out of the house every day! You could even keep a calendar (since you are probably used to schedules and organization from your job) and put one daily activity on each square.
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#13 of 24 Old 09-25-2007, 02:28 PM
 
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I also wore nice suits, had a great career, (blackberrys were not invented yet, I had a PDA), blah blah blah. It was nice to leave behind 5 plus years ago and now I spend my time w my girls. I also was and am used to going going going so I enjoyed being out of the house. I met other like moms at LLL meetings and also going to a local hospital's breastfeeding support meeting. I met a bunch of moms who I never would have met otherwise because there wasnt a lot of new moms in my neighborhood and I still see some today and some go to school w dd1. We formed a playgroup back then and brought others to it.

If you like this sort of thing, organize and get involved. Find other parents w similar views or find parents who have children and support one another. I have many mainstream friends who dont cd, ebf, practice babywearing, AP, etc but I enjoy their company and our children play well together. This wont be an issue for a while but you will see what I mean down the line

As far as the next 6 mos. Enjoy this time with yourself and your DP alone. Get your rest, do things child free couples enjoy, go on a vacation whatever but do it! If you have projects around your house DO THEM! its harder to do w a baby or plural- kids.

And remember- the days are real long but the years are short when kids are growing up.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#14 of 24 Old 09-26-2007, 04:49 PM
 
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Good recommendations!

I would say:

1.) Make Friends and Get Out! La Leche League, a birth group or a parent/baby class... anything. When my ds was an infant, we lived way out in nowheres land and I didn't have any friends. I would notice that DAYS went by without talking to another adult besides my husband. I have always been the independent sort, but it was lonely. At a job, you're always interacting with people- a laugh here, a story there, lunch with a buddy. But a SAHM without friends can get very, very isolating. We moved when DS was about 11 months. It was like heaven to go to a playgroup! Don't be shy- if there is a mom you like, invite her over for coffee! Times when friends are busy, go out. A walk, a museum, whatever. It really helps.

2.) Routine... Developing a routine really helped me. It helped in keeping things from getting crazy messy, helped me get a little exercize and keep things going. I didn't make it the guiding force in my life, but it helped to have a rough outline.

3.) Enjoy it! Live it up! Little tiny babies are very portable. Go to a museum! Get a jogger stroller and exercize! Let them snooze in a sling while you go to an art gallery. Start a hobby or do something you have been putting off (maybe not right away- it is kind of overwhelming at first, but once you get the rhythem, you'll find you can fit some fun stuff in- cooking, hiking, etc.). Once the baby starts having interests, you can share- a morning at the park, a trip to the zoo. Enjoy every giggle and bath and developmental step... Enjoy a cup of coffee and the morning paper at 11am when baby is napping. Don't feel guilty about that! Enjoy.

4.) Do as much organizing and things before the baby. I mean it. Clean out the closets, donate to Good Will. GO TO THE DENTIST and GET YOUR HAIR CUT! Sounds silly, but things like that become more complicated with an infant. Choose a pediatrician and interview them. Do their paper work. Get you "memory" makers in order- a baby book (this is important not only for the "cute-ness" aspect, but tracking developmental milestones is important). Start an account with an internet photo sharing site (grandparents will want daily pictures!). Get a box to save birth day memoribilia- hospital bands, the little hat they put on when they are born, footprints, etc. Think about what memories YOU want to make. For me, I took my son home wrapped in our Chuppah (a raw silk blanket that my husband and I were married under- it was symbolic for our family to have him come home kept warm by our marriage and love). You may want to give your child a special gift at birth. MAKE OUT YOUR BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS NOW! Buy them, address them, fill out what you can now. Then when the baby is born, add the details and send them out. The last thing you will think about in those first weeks is sending out announcements with those few precious hours of rest you get a day.

5.) Adjust your thinking. A lot of people think SAHMing is a day of mind-numbing drudery (and, some days it feels like that!). But honestly, this is so much harder than my "real job" was. I wouldn't recommend thinking about it like a "job"- its not. But, I would say that if you take it seriously and invest spiritually, you will find that it is challenging and stimulating. Find what SAHMing means to you, then tune out the rest.

6.) Go with each day. A plan is nice, but honestly, it took me 6 weeks before I even felt like I could organize even a simple outing. Give yourself time.

And here is a strange one (maybe)...

7.) Don't get obsessed with the baby. I found as a SAHM, your day revolves around the baby. The baby needs to eat. The baby needs to nap. Don't wake the baby! Did you change the baby? I should call my mom and tell her about the baby! I should look up this idea about the baby. The baby did this! Should I call the doctor? The baby doesn't like the car, so I can't travel. Maybe we should buy a new ___ for the baby. Did you wash your hands before holding the baby?... It can become all consuming. At the begining, it sure as heck IS all about the baby. Its so new and amazing! What a dream come true! But in the past and in many parts of the world, the infant just goes along with mom- to work, to the market, to do HER things. When it needs a nap, it sleeps. When it is hungry, it nurses. When it needs to be changed, it is. Here, when we are, in general, home to take care of the baby, it can get really intense and the idea of caring for the baby can become overwhelming when it literally consumes our every waking moment. It is important to have friends and interests that give you persepctive. Don't get me wrong- give everything to your child, just try and realize that making them the focus of every thought every day can be counter productive for everyone.
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#15 of 24 Old 09-28-2007, 08:45 AM
 
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I did some traveling before the baby arrived and it was a good idea. Once they're there you can still travel but it's... different.
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#16 of 24 Old 09-28-2007, 08:50 AM
 
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Keep your sense of humor; don't take yourself too seriously; buy a pair of groucho glasses and wear them 10 minutes a day! Enjoy!
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#17 of 24 Old 09-28-2007, 10:14 AM
 
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Congratulations! I've been a SAHM for about 4 years now. I wouldn't have it any other way. Here are a few pieces of advice from my own experience. Some of these things are more important when your baby gets a bit older, but still good to think about now.

1) Network with other moms. Find a LLL meeting near you and go to a meeting or two just before your new baby is due. Having a supportive network of other moms with similar parenting values is essential.

2) Invest in a good carrier, especially for the mobile urban lifestlye. We really enjoy biking, but infants under the age of 12 months should not ride on a bike or in a trailer. Their necks are not yet strong enough to take the bouncing and jouncing, the trailers aren't built for an infant who can't yet sit up well unassisted, and their necks aren't strong enough to hold a helmet. So, I would recommend taking long walks with the baby snuggled in a carrier instead of using the bike at first.

3) I do some work at home, and I like having the intellectual stimulation. I hire homeschooling teenagers to come play with the kids while I work, which works out really well. However, you do have to pace yourself. The first year, I took too many contracts, and I was working every evening and weekend when dh was home, which means I didn't get much time with dh. However, this did force him to take on more of a caregiver role, and he has really bonded with our boys. When he is home, we split the caregiver responsibilities. Now, my work tends to go in spurts where I'll be really busy for a while and then won't be working at all, and I like the breaks to focus just on the kids and catch up on the housework that goes out the window when I'm working.

4) Find out what your community offers in ways of child-friendly and free activities. If I stay home all day long every day, I go crazy. (But that might just be me!) So, we like library storytime, moms groups (LLL, Babywearing, etc.), and Parents-As-Teachers playgroups (offered through the schools in our county). Asking for a membership to a favorite museum or zoo or something as a family xmas gift can give you a good place to get away all year long.

5) Keep some activities you enjoy just for yourself. I continued to bellydance and play indoor soccer after ds1 was born.

Most of all, enjoy the time with your precious little one. They grow up so fast!

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#18 of 24 Old 09-28-2007, 10:23 AM
 
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I really mourned the loss of my career. To me, it was different than wanting to go back to work--it was just acknowledging that I had had a good career, that I enjoyed, and that that time in my life was over for now. Time will still tell if it's over for a season or over for good, but right now, it's not where I am. Until I let myself really grieve without feeling guilty about it, I couldn't seem to move past it.

I like the idea of getting out of the house, but everyday? Not for this mama. We go to Mops once a week or so, we go to grandma's once a week, and we do errands once a week, which leaves us two full days that we are at home. It's a good mix for us, and it works. So, find the right balance for your personality and your baby.
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#19 of 24 Old 09-28-2007, 11:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BetsyS View Post
I really mourned the loss of my career. To me, it was different than wanting to go back to work--it was just acknowledging that I had had a good career, that I enjoyed, and that that time in my life was over for now. Time will still tell if it's over for a season or over for good, but right now, it's not where I am. Until I let myself really grieve without feeling guilty about it, I couldn't seem to move past it.

I like the idea of getting out of the house, but everyday? Not for this mama. We go to Mops once a week or so, we go to grandma's once a week, and we do errands once a week, which leaves us two full days that we are at home. It's a good mix for us, and it works. So, find the right balance for your personality and your baby.
Staying home, in the beginning, was MUCH harder than I ever imagined it would be. My girlfriends were still working, Dh worked (and still does) very long hours, other "mom" friends had childre that were grown, I missed the extra income.... My DS was very high needs and going out every day was incredible stressful. I never planned on having PPD....It was all terribly, terribly, hard. But it got better...and better, and I found a few more friends, and learned it's ok to stay home a lot, learned to do without expensive dinners, purses, shoes, etc.

We now have 2, and while I love being at home, it is still a challenge. I thought at one point that I just had to work. I looked at one daycare and that was the end of that. I just am not willing or able to leave my children.

My advice is, find what works for you, and make some friends!!!
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#20 of 24 Old 09-28-2007, 03:30 PM
 
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I've only been at this a few months, but have a VERY similar profile and was VERY worried I'd hate being at home. So far, I've been consistently surprised. Surprised at how patient hubby and I instantly became once our son was born, how much more considerate we are of each other, and how I haven't missed work yet. Don't get me wrong, in the first couple weeks after a terrible birth experience (induction), having milk supply issues, and all the sleeplessness, there were a few hours where I lost it and thought I'd made a terrible mistake. But now my hormones are back to normal, I am absolutely fascinated with my son, and I'm really enjoying being able to do things like take a long walk every day and consider a 6-week roadtrip with my son and my Dad (next summer).

Our marriage almost seems easier, too. We don't fight about who does what at home since we split up all the duties, and I feel like I can take care of my husband better and he feels like he can take better care of me. Maybe things will change as time goes on, but we're talking about me going back to work in a few years and having hubby stay home. It's nice to have "specialties" sort of, instead of both of us being partly responsible for everything. And let me tell you, there is no greater aphrodesiac than finding out your husband snuck the baby out for a night feeding, let you sleep, and did housework for that whole 3 hours. Seeing him vacuuming with the baby in a sling is too good for words!
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#21 of 24 Old 10-02-2007, 04:27 AM
 
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Take some time for yourself every week. Don't underestimate the importance of this!!!

A ladies night out, a night out for yourself, a mother's helper/babysitter/grandma/relative in for the morning so you can go out for a few hours and enjoy the day, go to the bookstore, get a massage, meet your DH for lunch, whatever.

Remember, you are working 24/7 as a SAHM. Even when the kids finally start sleeping through the night, you are still "on call". Even if they sleep super well, they are still awake 12-14 hours a day - that makes your work-week 84-98 hours a week - you need and deserve some time to yourself.
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#22 of 24 Old 10-30-2007, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow.

Thank you all so much for your advice.

It's really interesting to read the different experiences you all come from.

I just realised that I only have about 19 weeks left of work. That feels SO STRANGE to type. I have always had a pay check. I am looking forward to it, but I'm curious as to how I will react.

I'm thinking of working from home, writing columns and doing agent work and such.... after I get into a groove and am comfortable with my babe. That way, I have non-baby stuff to do and I will still have some of my "own" money.

Quote:
Invest in a good carrier, especially for the mobile urban lifestlye. We really enjoy biking, but infants under the age of 12 months should not ride on a bike or in a trailer. Their necks are not yet strong enough to take the bouncing and jouncing, the trailers aren't built for an infant who can't yet sit up well unassisted, and their necks aren't strong enough to hold a helmet. So, I would recommend taking long walks with the baby snuggled in a carrier instead of using the bike at first.
Oh! I never even thought of that. We have a really good stroller now, but I guess I will wait on the bike trailer... as we will probably be moving before the baby is 12 months old.

I will think of some new questions and get back to you ladies!

Thanks.

Trin.
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#23 of 24 Old 10-30-2007, 04:59 PM
 
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Hi,

Echoing what others have said about being patient with yourself and dp and allowing yourself time to adjust ... here are a few things I think would have helped me if someone had listed them:

1) As a pp suggested, get up before your kids - give yourself enough times so you are ready to "go" when they get up. Otherwise, it's like a nightmare in which you wake up naked or in your pajamas at your desk, late for a meeting for which you haven't prepared, and with people running in and out demanding things that were due last week! (Okay, for me it often feels like that ) And sleeping in is a hard habit to break, even after night-time parenting pressures ease up.

2) Eat healthily (whatever that means to you).

3) Exercise daily.

4) Shower daily. !!!!!!!!! You might think I'm kidding, but I'm not!

5) DON'T delay or be afraid to get housekeeping/childcare help if you need it (assuming you can afford it).

6) This is going to seem shallow and un-crunchy, but ... if you can afford it, keep at least one pre-baby, "career woman" beauty/pampering ritual going on a regular basis, whether it's mani/pedi, facial, massage, haircut, etc.

7) Don't be surprised if not getting paid feels really weird. I still struggle with my feelings about being financially dependent on dh. Even though I'm working 24/7 with no regularly scheduled breaks! If you can WAH pt it's a good idea, IMO.

8) Don't be surprised if baby takes ALL your time and energy (some newborns don't sleep for hours at a time - mine didn't!), and you can't imagine WAH pt! It could be a long while or never.

Best of luck! It's all worth it!

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#24 of 24 Old 12-31-2007, 06:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow.

I just counted.

I have TEN WEEKS of work left.

This feels really strange. What a change this is going to be!

I have a laptop now, so when the baby is old enough, I will write freelance from home for extra money.... but it won't be the career I'm in right now, not by a long shot.

So far, the insane nesting urges have kept me from dwelling on coming changes!

Trin.
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