How to Get Things Done

My little girl will be six weeks old this Thursday.  Damn!  That was fast!  Somehow it’s taken this long for me to come to terms with one of the old bits of advice that every pregnancy book, midwife, nurse, doctor and friend has given.  I often lumped this piece of advice in with things like “learn to sleep when the baby sleeps”, finding these little pearls of wisdom annoying as hell, I mean, shouldn’t I sleep at night when I’m tired?  Yet over the past week I’ve succumbed to the line “if anyone offers to watch the baby so you can get stuff done just say YES”.

Moving to Lansing (my husband’s hometown) from Detroit (my hometown) in September was the hardest move I’ve ever had to make.  Was it just the pregnant hormones and the impending birth of my first child that made me yearn for the familiar potholed streets of Detroit?  I suppose it was the hormones but more importantly it was the fact that I was months away from having my first child and I was going to be nearly 80 miles away from my mother.  

The same mother that I forgot to call until three days into my study abroad trip to Paris.  The same mother I didn’t so much as wave goodbye to when she dropped me off at camp.  But this is also the same mother that I have been working with everyday for the past seven years at the Library.  To say we’ve gotten closer over the past seven years doesn’t even begin to describe our relationship.  She is one of my best friends and closest confidants.  I even spent two nights a week having sleep-overs with her while I was still commuting the hour and half to the Library from Lansing.  The older I get the more I cherish her company and appreciate her advice.  So how in the world could I have a child and be without my mother around the corner (or across the room) from me at all times?    

I suppose the answer lies in the fact that I have not one but two mother-in-laws in Lansing.  Michael’s mother Becky (MIL #1) decided to move back to Lansing after we discovered we were pregnant.  And Michael’s step-mother Hilda (MIL #2) lives in East Lansing, close to the family business.  Throughout my relationship with Michael they have been so welcoming and generous to me.  MIL #2 threw a wedding shower for me that true to her personality was ultra-extravagant and chic.  MIL #1 has always welcomed me into her home like her own daughter, we even made an entire Thanksgiving meal together a couple years ago when she lived in S. Carolina.  However generous and wonderful these two ladies have been to me though, neither is my mother.

So after having Cedella six weeks ago, my mother came out to visit but she didn’t stay a week like I dreamed she might.  She stayed for one day.  One.  Day.  It was as if she was giving me all the space I needed to figure things out on my own, just like she always had when I was growing up.  But in those first few sleepless nights when my MIL’s kept asking to come over or if I needed help, all I wanted was my mother’s help.

Whether she knew it or not (though I don’t think my mother ever does anything accidentally) she did what was best for me.  She left me alone to figure it out, trusting that I could, and knowing that if I couldn’t she really wasn’t that far away after all.  And more so, knowing that there were two perfectly capable ladies practically on my doorstep waiting to help.

After the first two weeks I figured there is a way to do laundry, cook dinner, mop the floors and do the dishes with a newborn.  Several ways actually.  What I have been doing is probably what most of the moms that may read this do – clean while she sleeps.  Which is great if you’re organized or don’t have a lot to get done, or are disciplined enough to stay focused on one task at a time.  But I’m a multi-tasker.  I constantly have about three things going on at once.  So to get one thing fully finished while Cedella sleeps is a challenge.  The newest strategy is to slip Cedella into the baby sling while I do everything.  Now this is fabulous because I get things done, it goes along with our attachment parenting approach and I get a workout from the extra weight I’m carrying with me.  But this has its challenges too.  I’m not confident enough with the sling yet to go hands-free.  Hell, I don’t even think I’ve got her in there right most of the time!  So everything I do has to be one-handed, which is quite tricky, especially in the kitchen or on the keyboard.  So unless I miraculously get something done while the baby is sleeping, everything is pretty half-assed around here.

This is where my MIL’s come in.  Last week MIL #1 came over to visit and since she was just holding a sleeping Cedella and insisting I just go about my normal business, I decided to work on addressing my thank you cards (from my baby shower which was nearly three months ago, tacky, I know, but at least I’m getting to them).  It was great!  I got every single envelope addressed, and MIL #1 got to hold her grandchild, everyone was happy!

Today my MIL #2 came over on her way home from work.  She just sort of popped in and I was right in the middle of cleaning the neon orange poop off of the baby’s entire back (talk about a blow out!).  Luckily I got the baby changed and handed her off to Teta (grandma in Lebanese arabic), so I could clean the disastrous changing table area.  While I was at it I cleaned the rest of the nursery, straightened the bathroom, threw in a load of laundry and put all the dishes in the dish washer.  This was in the space of 45 minutes!  What?  That was 45 minutes well spent!  If I had those 45 minutes every single day my house might be spotless.  Ok, no it wouldn’t, but it would be cleaner.  That would leave the rest of the day to play with Cedella, eat bon bons, watch my stories, buy baby clothes online and read blogs.

Hey, it took me six long weeks to realize that They were right.  If someone offers to take the baby so you can get some shit done – just say yes (when you’re ready of course)!  Needless to say when MIL #2 asked if I would like her to come over tomorrow, I said yes.

P.S. Despite what They say I never did get into sleeping when the baby slept.  I mean, who can sleep all day and then not at night?  Sorry but my internal clock just does not work that way!

Who wants to sleep when you can stare at this cuteness?


  1. Teresha@Marlie and Me says:

    I'm enjoying your posts! they are so forthright and ring true! thanks for following Marlie and Me…I'm doing the same!

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