Everyone told me that having another kid would change things a lot, but even the advanced knowledge couldn’t really prepare me for the reality of our new dynamic. Newborns are a time suck to begin with, but with an older child and a partner to pay attention to as well, sometimes I feel like butter scraped over too much bread (yes, I just made a LOTR reference, deal with it). With the possibility of Post-Partum Depression being quite high, I started looking into coping methods, and other various things that could potentially help me stay afloat; well, as close as possible with two kids and questionable sanity to begin with. In my research, several things were found, and I find myself putting a good many of them to use daily. Because some of them have worked so well for me, I thought I’d share. Partially because I’m proud of how well I’m doing mentally, and also because if I can help even one person feel a little better, it’ll be worth it.
For me, the cleanliness of our home can be a huge stress factor. And who likes stress? Nobody, that’s who. Cleaning in little bursts has now become one of my favourite ways to decompress! It’s truly amazing how much a made bed and a tidy kitchen can do for mental health! Keeping Hunter’s toys limited to his room is a big help as well, since it means I’m not picking them up constantly. If he wants to have his bedroom be a Lego minefield, that’s his prerogative. I’m also very fortunate that Adrian is alright with doing a very important chore that I utterly loathe; vacuuming. Don’t ask me why, but I would rather scrub both bathrooms with a toothbrush than vacuum the living room.
Another thing that seems to work to keep me nice and calm is washing my face in the morning and evening. I’m sure that sounds ridiculous, but following my skin care regime (Dermalogica fan girl here) gives me a little bit of time for myself that only involves me. Less than 5 minutes, twice a day has made me a much happier person, plus my acne is under much better control. Now, if only I could master the ability to shower more than once every 3-4 days, that would be something!
Lastly, reading. Books have always been my escape, from the time I learned how do read. There’s something truly magnificent about immersing yourself into a world that only exists on paper. I’m even in a book club on Facebook, with several lovely ladies who all have varying tastes and opinions. They bring me out of my literary shell and get me reading things that in all likelihood, would have been left on the shelf if left to my own devices. The fact that all of our discussions and decision making is done online really helps, because now with both boys, I’m pretty much a certifiable hermit.
Those are a few of the things I do to keep my head on straight, but let’s be very clear here, they don’t always work, and there are times when nothing helps but a good, cathartic cry session. You can be doing fine, however, there are going to be days when fine isn’t quite enough. Stay positive, text your friends, call your parents, and hug those precious babies.