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#1 of 26 Old 04-23-2007, 07:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OK. So lurking around the "Life with a Babe" forum I came across a thread that basically was a big rant on how little time any of the new parents had to do anything at all besides care for the baby... like folks were having a hard time bathing!



Well.. I need to hear that I will be able to carve out a couple of hours a day to write and finish my thesis this summer after the babe is here. I mean, I don't mean in the first weeks. And I don't mean I need uninterrupted time. But I just started to panic as I read that thread, and I am wiping everything else from my summer- no work, no social committments. I'll have lots of support and dh sets his own schedule so it won't be as dire as some have it. I guess I am just looking for some inspiration ladies- advice, feedback, and some reassurance that, although it will be challenging, it's doable (right??)....

Grace Comes.

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#2 of 26 Old 04-23-2007, 07:13 PM
 
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Well, IMO, you can finish your thesis, but it will be hard, and you're likely to lose a few tears here and there...which would probably happen during the first month anyway. I recommend setting very loose goals and giving yourself permission to change your mind.

I finished my MBA just before my dd was born, and had agreed to publish an academic article about 8 weeks after delivery. In the final weeks of that pg, I kinda lost motivation, YK? I was so ready to take a break from business & meet the baby. Well, my motivation returned pretty quickly after birth, but with the fatigue, bf issues, and some other family issues that popped up, I found it very difficult to find time to write coherently. Not that I didn't try - it just took me an add'l 2 months to publish something I could put my name on!

I did not have family close by to help, nor was I comfortable/able to hire a sitter during the first 3 months, but certainly those factors would have helped. Looking back, I am so glad I took my time writing, because though I remain very proud of my publication, it pales when I think of the wonder of my dd's first year.

Best wishes!
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#3 of 26 Old 04-23-2007, 07:18 PM
 
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in my experience, it is very doable. ds slept A LOT in the beginning. he was asleep far more often than awake for quite a while. the very beginning was hard because he nursed round the clock every 1.5 hours, but he slept in between those times. he stretched it to every two hours and then every three hours and stayed at that for several months (probably 6). once he hit about three mos., he became a lot more interactive, but even then he still slept several times a day for at least an hour. the biggest thing is you will probably also feel like sleeping when your baby does.

it is when ds reached a year and cut out a nap and became a toddler when things started getting a lot harder for me. especially now that he is obsessed with getting to bathe - he loves it. and i just want to take a shower alone...so, i often wait for dh to come home before bathing and then sometimes it ends up not happening.
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#4 of 26 Old 04-23-2007, 07:19 PM
 
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I found a lot of time in the first weeks and since then by becoming semi-nocturnal. My daughter sleeps best at night, and slept just as well up against my husband as she did up against me, so I would take a shower then usually. I have a laptop so I'd sit in bed and work while she slept, and I was still right there to nurse her immediately when she started wiggling the tiniest bit.

My husband takes her in the mornings, so I sleep in later. He brought her to bed whenever she needed to nurse and she'd usually fall asleep so she and I would sleep together a little bit, then both get up.

Yes, it's hard to shower if the baby is awake and no one else is around to hold it. Don't even try! I wouldn't even try to shower if the baby was asleep and no one was there to be with it. Just make it a priority to hop in the shower as soon as your husband has a few minutes to hold the baby. I think moms think they need to shower while their husbands are out of the house for some reason? I don't know. Maybe they're used to showering at a certain time of the day.

It's totally doable. And honestly, the sooner the better. Once the baby is 6-7 months old and more active and alert, it will want to be down on the floor more and will require a lot more supervision/time/interaction. And it just gets more and more needy in my experience - needy is a bad word, but maybe I just have a weird daughter. She very rarely goes and plays by herself. Which is totally fine, but she "only" sleeps 12 hours a day now so it's not at ALL like a newborn who is only awake 4-6 hours a day. Sure, most of the time it's sleeping it needs to be worn or next to a human body to STAY asleep, but that human body can easily be writing a thesis!
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#5 of 26 Old 04-23-2007, 07:20 PM
 
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I have never understood that! I didn't have any help with dd1 or dd2 (aside from dh when he was home from working) and I bathed every single day! Newborns sleep so much. My house stayed nice and clean, laundry got done, baby and big sister were happy, and momma was clean. I took baby into the bathroom with me and put her in a bouncy seat fro showers. This worked until she was big enough that I worried she might tip the thing over. Then I started bringing her in with me and a bunch of toys so she could play on one end.

With dd2 I was a full-time student. I would put her in the bouncy seat next to my desk and while I was typing I would gently rock her with one foot. I also got really good at typing with one hand so I could hold her with the other and breastfeed or whatever. When it was time to do laundry she went in the sling. It is totally do-able
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#6 of 26 Old 04-23-2007, 07:22 PM
 
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My son was raised on a Boppy with me typing over his head! He was born, I took 6 weeks off and then went straight back to grading papers, writing grant proposals, and finishing all the qualifying stuff for starting fieldwork for my dissertation. It is TOTALLY doable. You need to be self-motivated and have some discipline because you will be tired, but you can make it happen for sure.

My son would not sleep on his own (woke up after 10 minutes) so I would nurse him for naps and night time on the boppy or in a sling and then work until he woke up! I wrote my disseration proposal & my qualifying exams this way!

Just make sure you drink lots of water! Start keeping big bottles of it at your desk so you will drinbk while typing on that thesis

Megan Davidson, Labor & Postpartum Doula, Breastfeeding Counselor, Anthropologist, Mom to August (9) and Clay (4), Partner to Shawn.

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#7 of 26 Old 04-23-2007, 07:29 PM
 
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ditto what everyone else said. I was certainly able to bathe when dd#1 was tiny, I just kept a bouncy seat in the bathroom with me, I plan on doing the same for this one (more to protect her from her big sister)

Teeny tiny babes sleep, alot. That's realy all they do I think the quoted # is like 18-20 hours a day. So find yourself a good sling and you should be able to do you work. I would say earlier is better, there comes a point where they are awake more and more and it gets harder but in the beginning they are content to sleep eat poop and repeat.

Tracy, Wifey to Jeff . Mama to Maya-Papaya 7/04 and Carolina Bean-a 5/07 and Jack 7/4/10!!
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#8 of 26 Old 04-23-2007, 07:36 PM
 
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Personally, I found it hard to find time to bathe after dd, but that was BECAUSE I was a full-time student, working on my MA. All my extra time went to school work and things like hygiene became a bit of a luxury! But of course there are ways around it... I used the bouncy chair in the bathroom and eventually got a water sling to take dd into the shower with me... you adapt. You can do it.
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#9 of 26 Old 04-23-2007, 07:56 PM
 
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it will be hard, especially if it your first baby.
However, the more you wear your baby the easier it is to get things done.
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#10 of 26 Old 04-23-2007, 08:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank goodness for you all! I am amazed at how I started to panic... I know I just need to take it one day at a time. I have been a highly motivated and organized person in most aspects of my life, but this is just such an unknown. I have recieved half the credits for the thesis already, and it helps that I truly adore what I am writing about.. but again, it's all such an unknown.

Keep the ideas coming, it really helps to hear what worked/didn't work for you. You have all accomplished so much and are also amazing Mamas, it inspires me so much!

I am soo grateful I found this ddc- I know that sounds cheezy- but it's just been so helpful to me. You ladies rock!
:

Grace Comes.

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#11 of 26 Old 04-23-2007, 09:07 PM
 
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I can't read this whole thread. . .for I am supposed to be writing a 5 page paper tonight :

There *is* down time. . .you know it will be interrupted down time. . .we all use this down time differently. You might find yourself saying that you don't have time to shower or do laundry, but it you will most certainly have time to do whatever you *have* to do. Your thesis will have time to be done. Period. If it needs to be done it will be.

~laura
and planning to eat it again
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#12 of 26 Old 04-23-2007, 09:43 PM
 
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Thank you all!! Not my thread, but this is what has been running through my head. Between one coworker (male, new dad of 2 weeks) and this thread, a few of my more exceptional panics have faded.
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#13 of 26 Old 04-23-2007, 09:46 PM
 
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I hate to say it, but I laughed when you asked about carving out a few hrs a day for your thesis. I laughed loudly But then I thought that every baby is different- with dd it would have been impossible. She wanted me and only me all waking hours, and nursed around the clock.

With ds, it might have been possible, he was easier.

You'll have to see what temprament your baby has.

Good luck!
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#14 of 26 Old 04-23-2007, 09:47 PM
 
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I had one baby who was extremely high-needs, and it was very difficult to get anything done, including bathing. Sometimes it was hours of walking the floor with a crying baby.

I had another baby who was super-mellow, and I got more done.

Learning to nurse in a sling or nurse at keyboard with BF pillow helped, because they slept longer stretches if attached to me.

So, nutshell? The people who are able to bathe probably have a more easygoing kid. Just guessing, YMMV, of course.
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#15 of 26 Old 04-23-2007, 10:18 PM
 
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They sleep so much, you WILL have the time. The problem will be motivating yourself to use that time efficiently

There are many things you'll want to do when your baby is sleeping. Cuddling up next to her is way tempting, checking email, washing some dishes, calling a friend, and then next thing you know...TIME'S UP! So, if writing is your priority, make that your priority and make it known.

Love to you, sister.

Aspiring midwife-mama to 2 beautiful homebirthed boys ages 3 and 6...
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#16 of 26 Old 04-23-2007, 10:23 PM
 
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Baraka, I am also going to be trying to continue with school full-time (though I'm just doing a BA) right now and after the baby is born. This "semester" is over at the end of July, which means I have to work right through to get all my assignments and exams done. I'm constantly worrying about it and have had a couple breakdowns about it already, and everyone keeps telling me what you already said yourself, "Just take it one day at a time..." But I totally agree with you is that the hardest part is waiting to see, the unknown, not knowing what kind of temperament your baby is going to have and whether she'll sleep a lot or hardly at all or what... I guess we'll just have to wait and see...
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#17 of 26 Old 04-23-2007, 10:32 PM
 
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I agree that the baby's temperament probably has as much to do with it as anything. I've had 2 babies that were very high-needs. Very hard to put them down for a shower or whatever. There were times where I just had to put them down and walk away for a few minutes, because I was unable to cope with their needs any more at that time.

My second was much easier. She slept more, nursed less, cried less, needed less holding, was more easily comforted, etc. I could have finished my MA much easier with her than with my first.

That said, I DID finish my MA with my first. It was very hard, but we got through it. You just have to decide what you are going to do when you have those precious few minutes of time not needed by the baby. Are you going to sleep, eat, shower, work on your thesis, workout, etc. What is the most important thing to accomplish at that time? When you decide what the priority is, you will be able to get it done. If you have a supportive DH (or other helper), it will be much easier.
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#18 of 26 Old 04-23-2007, 10:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bocks_box View Post
So, nutshell? The people who are able to bathe probably have a more easygoing kid. Just guessing, YMMV, of course.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mindy70
You'll have to see what temprament your baby has.
ITA!

It was very difficult with my DS. I ended up buying a very small laptop that I could perch in the arm of the rocking chair and type one-handed when DS slept on my lap.

If you have a lap-sleeper, getting things done can be difficult. My difficulty was probably compounded by my early bf troubles meaning I had to pump during the day too, plus healing from a c/s.

My advice is to wait and see, and be ready to adjust your expectations based on your baby's needs. I had so many plans for after DS was born that went unfulfilled, and now BIL and SIL have a new baby who is very mellow, and they are doing everything DH and I thought we'd do after DS was born!

(I wouldn't trade my high needs DS for anything though - as DH says, the highs are very high, but the lows can be very low, too.)

aran .......... Mr. aran .......... DS1 .......... DS2
BIL Oct. 1961 - Jun. 2009 taken by cancer
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#19 of 26 Old 04-24-2007, 12:30 AM
 
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Logistical things I did to get stuff done while baby was attached to me:
Put my computer on a box on the kitchen counter so I could stand in front of it with Delia in a pouch on my front. This way I could sway, bounce, rock and still be in front of my computer. I didn't get major work done this way, it's more of a good way to check/read email than type for longer periods, but if I get the reading email done, then I am more likely to WORK when I have the chance later.

My husband built me this table thingie. It went under the couch, had a pole up on the side, then had a pivoting platform that we could adjust up and down. This way I could sit on the couch and have Delia on my lap nursing or sleeping, and then pivot my computer around so it was above her. It gave my arms a workout because it ended up the computer was higher than it would've been otherwise, but still.

The most comfortable thing was sitting in bed cross-legged with Delia on my lap or even better, just snuggled against my leg. I had a smallish tote that had diapering stuff in it, and it became a desk for my computer. If she was off my lap, I could also sit back against a bolster and have my computer on my lap instead, or lie on my stomach and work that way.

These all depend on my laptop, though I know other moms make it work while sitting at a desktop computer too. I know many who bounce on birth balls in front of their computers for movement.

There's a picture of me walking around my house with Delia in a pouch while I knit somewhere on mamatoto.org but I couldn't find it just now. I stuck the skein in the pouch with the baby and it gave me something to do during those hours of walking. And I didn't even consider Delia high needs, I think it's just what most babies need, is that movement and closeness. Afterall, they've been squished inside us for 9 months, why would they all of a sudden be cool with lying flat on their backs on a hardish surface?!
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#20 of 26 Old 04-24-2007, 01:44 AM
 
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It is very doable. I went to school full time when my oldest was 3 months old and when my 2nd child was 2 months old and my 4th child was was 6 weeks old (I just started college with my first and with my last I was getting an advance certificate). My house stayed cleaned. We were all showered and happy and well adjusted. I have had kids ranging from various temperaments from high needs to so relaxed life was good.

Heidi
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#21 of 26 Old 04-24-2007, 02:06 AM
 
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Well, since everyone else has been so positive, I'll feel free to be totally honest with you.

I felt totally unable to get anything done for 6 mos after dd was born. It was a cesarian birth and I had lingering pain the whole time. Sure, dd slept a lot, but only if she was in my arms. I didn't have a sling, and the carrier I had became painful after 30 mins max. To bathe, I would put her in a rocking chair in front of the shower, and I'd have to let her cry the whole time. I showered about every 2-3 days. We also had a swing, which would keep her quiet for about half an hour. That's how I got work done in the kitchen. She wasn't great at nursing at first, so she would most often nurse for 45 mins or so, starting every 2 hours or sooner, so in between sessions there just wasn't much time. I was exhausted all the time, it was painful to move, walk, stand, or sit. I set a daily goal of washing a load of laundry and getting a load of dishes into the dishwasher, and I made it maybe 75% of the time.

At the same time I had a huge surge of creative energy, like never before, but I felt completely unable to channel it into anything significant at all. Couldn't play music, it would wake the baby. Some crafts, like painting or decoupage, by the time I got the materials together and some space cleared she would wake up hungry. I started gathering up hedge trimmings and weaving them in the yard, while dd slept on the boppy just inside the patio doors. I could get maybe half an hour to work. I hung my creations around the yard. I'm sure dh thought I was crazy. Looking back, I was, I had ppd, but when I asked myself if I needed help, I thought, it would be abnormal NOT to be depressed right now.

So, personally, I wouldn't think of having another baby if there were ANYTHING else I needed to do in the next six months.
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#22 of 26 Old 04-24-2007, 04:05 AM
 
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You can do it, just be prepared for the most intense relationship of your life between you and your little one - and dont let the pressure to be perfect get to you. You will find the time
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#23 of 26 Old 04-24-2007, 10:42 AM
 
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really the first few weeks are tough. no matter what really.
I do have a very supportive DH, who when he is here will do anything that needs to be done. he makes sure i get time (at least and hour) every night even in the first few weeks. you can do it Im sure, it will take some finnaggling but you should be ok. it probably wont be easy at first but once you dh and baby find a rhythm it will get better. wearing the baby and nursing will help alot especially if your wearing and nursing.

Annemarie ~catholic mom of 8 -4 boys (19-16-10-7).Emma)2 girls (3 and 1)Someone new due in April too!An yes I Blog @ You Leave me breadless blog
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#24 of 26 Old 04-24-2007, 01:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wanted to say thanks again for all your attention and ideas-
I feel like the 2 post partum doulas, 5 slings, laptop and bed desk, and 3 totally present and helpful sisters will be a huge asset. And I could probably take the first 3 weeks with absolutely no writing and be ok as long as I pick my schedule back up- I do get a little sad and antsy when I go so long w/o... I am used to a half hour here, a few lines there... something jotted down while I am out in my small journal in my bag.... I hope this will all be helpful. And I am completely willing to wait another semester to finish, I just kinda doubt it will get any easier the longer I wait. The most important thing is that I fully experience this precious time with my daughter.

On the other hand, I am experiencing an all time low in my ability to cohesively express myself...

I mean I feel like what I am writing is crap- not beating myself up here, it just doesn't feel like great work... my brain's all mushy and not as sharp and clever.. but, still I got very high reviews with what I last turned in (although I was embarrassed to even be turning it in)... what does this tell me?? I need to cut the perfectionism (just like Darsmama said!) and just keep plowing through, and I think whatever work I will create will be accepted. All the academic stuff is done- it's all creative writing at this point. So my big lesson is to let go, do my best, and let my best be good enough. Ah, if I could transfer my enthusiasm for organizing closets right now onto my thesis!

Thanks for all the support Mamas! I am sure my check-ins post partum will be largely about this- if not, ask me why, ok?

Grace Comes.

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#25 of 26 Old 04-25-2007, 09:24 PM
 
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...And since the topic you're writing about is so closely related to what you're about to experience, that will make it both harder and easier. I felt blown away by birth and being a doula/aspiring midwife already, it took me a while to integrate my experience. I was like, "Okay. WOW. So, now what?" for a while.

Aspiring midwife-mama to 2 beautiful homebirthed boys ages 3 and 6...
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#26 of 26 Old 04-25-2007, 09:37 PM
 
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Just wanted to chime in and say in my experience new babies really aren't all that hard. My dd was high needs, I could barely put her down, but I managed to finish highschool and have a job cleaning houses for people (god I loved my sling!) right after she was born. I found the most helpful things were to wear her in the sling as much as possible, and learn how to breastfeed and type at the same time. I spent most evenings doing my homework on the computer with dd attached to me for the first few months.

I'm sure writing a thesis is a far cry from finishing highschool, but just wanted to say I managed to keep everything together, and it sounds like you have a great support system lined up, so you should be just fine!
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