With your second or third child, you find that time doesn’t really stop. Yes, you have the baby and it’s a huge life event; but, life goes on for the rest of the family. The dog still needs to be walked, and your older kids fed and looked after. Even though we had plans for the kids in case I went into labor really fast (I tend to have labors which quickly escalate, and usually arrive at the hospital at 9.5-10 cm dilated) for a friend who lives down the street to come over and watch the kids before family (who lives about 1-1.5 hours away) to arrive, it was still nerve-wracking.
So when my mother-in-law offered to come and stay with us until I went into labor, I was thrilled! We had had a false alarm the week before (where I called my parents and they dropped everything) but no delivery, so I was very nervous to falsely predict it again and upend everyone’s plans (even though they assured me it was no problem.) My mother-in-law ended up staying 11 days with us (six before I went into labor, and five afterwards). During that time, we also had my father-in-law stay with us for several days, and my sister for several days. And we had my parents over for dinner and up to help watch the kids (and meet the baby) during the day multiple days. We had a full house!
And it was a blast, but it easily could have been overwhelming. Everyone was a huge help and it worked out great–and since they are family I never felt that much pressure; but, it easily could have been really stressful. So here are some helpful tips on how to keep it stress-free (or as stress-free as you can have when you have guests.)
TIPS ON HAVING GUESTS WHEN YOU HAVE A NEWBORN
Preface: I like to get out of the hospital right away. I usually request to be out as soon as 24 hours; but, it often takes longer than that to discharge us (which is always slightly frustrating.) That being said, I have always been discharged within 30 hours of admittance which I love–I can’t stand sleeping at the hospital with people coming in every hour or two. But, that does mean that I am thrown back into the swing of things right away, and I need to be careful to take it easy–which is hard for me.
This pregnancy I had even more Braxton-Hicks and contractions than I had with Jack, which was directly related to how much activity I was doing. I also gained less weight because I truly feel that I never stopped moving. Such is life when you have a four year old and an active two year old boy! Alright, enough about me, here are the tips:
Let people help:
- My sister took over meals and cooked and baked up a storm–it was incredibly helpful especially when you have to feed 10 people.
- My mother-in-law and mom took on laundry duties (I would put stuff in the wash and they were amazing about folding all the kids clothes). Like I said, life doesn’t stop and toddler clothes certainly never stay clean!
- E and my mom helped out with picking up groceries–not having to run out to the store is priceless 🙂
- I was off-duty with the older kids for 90% of the time. Between the grandparents and my husband, they watched the kids most of the day and got up with them in the mornings. I made sure to come down from my bedroom several times a day to check in and hang out, and I put them down for all naps and bedtime (to try to bring back some semblance of normalcy.)
- Just like you pack your bag for the hospital (I had mine packed a week ahead because of my false labor this time around)–prepare the house for leaving
- I am crazy and maintained my cleaning schedule up until the day before I gave birth–I vacuum and wash the floors every Monday, dust Tuesdays, change sheets on Wednesdays, and try to do a load of laundry everyday. Washing toilets are done on the fly (whenever they need to be washed)–I keep a toilet brush and toilet cleaner in each bathroom so I can do it easily.
- I also stocked up on necessities like diapers, wipes, and non-perishable food (pasta, peanut butter, cereal…) you know all the stuff you go through but doesn’t spoil. This way, I knew we always had easy meals that could be made for the kids even if they weren’t nutritionally balanced (cereal for breakfast, peanut butter sandwiches for lunch, pasta for dinner.) The kids wouldn’t starve, and the adults wouldn’t have to stress about getting them to eat. They could always supplement with the frozen bulk fruit we keep in our basement.
- I also loaded up on toilet paper–not glamorous; but, it is necessary! There is nothing worse than running out of toilet paper. And believe me, we go through a lot, especially when we have 10 people in the house! That’s why I love Cottonelle’s Mega Rolls. I have to change the rolls less often, and it’s easy to stock up at Walmart–the perfect solution for busy moms. I keep at least three extra rolls in each of our bathrooms, some in our laundry room, and the rest in our basement bulk area.
- Next time, I will probably just do Walmart’s easy online order and pick-up. Busy moms like me can easily order fresh groceries online with Walmart and enjoy the same in-store savings with free pickup (perfect for moms whose kids fall asleep in the car like mine!) Click here to see if it’s available in your area!
- Guest bedroom and bathroom prep: Our guest bedroom is only used by guests. Occasionally Bowe will play in there during Jack’s naptime, but it stays really clean because the door is closed 90% of the time. I have an extra set of sheets, and would change the sheets the day company left so it would be ready the next time. I keep a set of towels in there on the nightstand so there are always clean towels too!
- Our guest bathroom/ kids bathroom doesn’t get much use either. The kids still take baths in the giant jacuzzi in our master bathroom which provides more space and splash zone protection #keepinitreal. So the guest bathroom, short of wiping down the sinks and the toilet, doesn’t require much cleaning. We keep a stash of extra toiletries in there, and always have clean guest towels, so it was ready at a moment’s notice.
Take your space and time:
- Call me rude, but I did not attend all of the dinners or meals. Some days I was just too tired, in too much pain (engorged breasts and sore bottoms + postpartum cramping is not fun!) I let E and his mom do the meal planning with my sister, so I was hands off!
- Like I said above, I spent a lot of time in my bedroom. I was most comfortable nursing Brooke there and could stay in pajamas all day. This time around, I have had more trouble with her getting a good latch, which requires me to be a little less discreet about breastfeeding. Our master bathroom is connected so I could use the bathroom and keep it stocked with all of my postpartum necessities, including lots of toilet paper, and not worry about being dressed.
- I am an introvert, so sometimes it was a little overwhelming having so much social interaction (especially when you aren’t at the top of your game). Having my bedroom to retreat to was key! Whatever it is, make sure you have a spot that you can retreat to and have some peace and quiet.
- Confession: although I certainly was pampered (E brought up meals and refilled my water constantly, I never demanded a tray like below with fresh flowers or macarons 😉 They just look pretty for pictures! But, a pretty robe is always nice to have when you are postpartum and in your pajamas all day! Pull your robe shut over your nursing tank and you are presentable!
All in all, keeping your expectations of yourself lower than usual, accepting help, and preparing beforehand makes everything easier postpartum. Just make sure to have the necessities like Cottonelle toilet paper on hand for guests–with Mega Rolls. One Mega Roll = 4 regular rolls (comparing number of sheets to leading Ultra 77 ct. roll.) Learn more about Cottonelle here. And stocking up on Cottonelle couldn’t be easier than it is at Walmart–visit a store now and never run out of toilet paper this summer! And save $1 now on Cottonelle Mega Rolls at Walmart.