the new normal

the new normal

James Walker is officially six weeks old today. What on earth? I had my six week appointment yesterday and everything was good. My incision is healing nicely and I got the go-ahead to exercise again. I haven’t really missed exercise, but I’m ready.

I had goals to nurse for six weeks and then see how things were going, and so far so good. I have nursed James Walker for six weeks and will continue as long as I can. And now that I have a part-time, work from home job, I had a goal this month to establish a routine for myself that helps me figure out when I’ll have my work hours.

This is all new to me. All of it. Being a family of five. Having older kiddos and an infant. And working from home. I’m excited about all of it, I want to do it all well, but I also know that I can’t do all the things and do them all well. And no one expects me to.

I can do some of the things every day and do them well.

There is laundry to do and there are meals to prepare. And there’s a marriage to focus on and older children to raise. It’s life and mine is no different than so many other women. So I’m just trying to figure out day by day what works and what doesn’t. And how to make the most of my time while still soaking up the moments with my kids.

One thing I know for sure is that we all thrive with structure. James Walker sleeps great at night when his day is structured. So he knows when he’s going to eat and when he’s going to nap and when he’s going to get his bath. And the big boys know the same things about their schedule. And they know James Walker’s schedule. It just helps all of us.

And it helps me to know what’s next. I need my own schedule so I can manage my time, the household duties, and my work tasks.

James Walker eats at 6:00 a.m. every day, and right after that feeding, I swaddle him and put him back down to go to sleep where he sleeps until 9:00 a.m. So instead of going right back to sleep like I really really want to, I get on up and make myself some coffee. (My friend Jessica would call this one of my Fringe Hours.) I start a load of laundry and then I do my devotional for the day while I sip coffee.

The laundry thing is huge. I finally, finally have a laundry system! I do a little bit of laundry every day. That’s the system. And then I fold it immediately and put it away. Genius, right? How did it take me almost 15 years to figure out what so many of you have been doing all along? I’ve spent years letting laundry pile up before washing it. And then I’d let it pile up and procrastinate on folding it. Not anymore, sister!

Anyway. After I finish my devotional, I tackle some of my Influence Network emails. Oh, email. (In heaven there will be no email. Or laundry.)

The big boys make their way downstairs around 7:00, and Todd and I get them dressed, fed, and out the door for school by 7:45.

When they leave, I get dressed and get ready for James Walker to be back up at 9:00. I feed him, play with him until 10:00. “Play” for a six week old means ten minutes on the activity mat, ten minutes in the bouncy seat, and ten minutes sitting with me while I sing and read to him. And then he’s down again for another morning nap. I sit down to do more Influence work and tackle more of my to-do list until James Walker is up around noon and the boys come home from school. And the rest of the day is spent playing with my three boys and prepping dinner if I didn’t do something in the crock pot.

At night, to prepare for the next day, I set out all the things I need to get done in the morning… the boys’ clothes are laid out, their bags are packed for school, lunch boxes are set out to be packed, and my load of laundry is already sorted and in the washer ready to start. Hudson and Hayes are in bed by 7:00 and asleep by 7:30. Then Todd and I bathe James Walker, I feed him, and I go to bed as soon as James Walker is asleep between 8:30-9:00.

I love to read and keeping that hobby is important to me. I know people sometimes think they don’t have time to read, but even if I just read a chapter every night, it helps me fall asleep and sleep well. So I try to read as much as I can before I crash every night. And then I just wait to see what time James Walker wakes up for his middle of the night feeding. And the day starts all over again.

I know that some days the plan just won’t work. Babies have a mind of their own and don’t always stick to a schedule. Hudson and Hayes have their own things on the schedule like soccer and baseball. We have doctors appointments and sickness and emails go unanswered and work goes unfinished for a day. The plan doesn’t always work. And that’s where grace comes in and where I will have to remind myself to embrace the mess, embrace the chaos, and just enjoy the kiddos.

I’d love to know if any of you have any tips. How do you work from home when your baby is having an off day? How do you break up your work hours throughout the day? How did your household management routine change as you welcomed new babies?

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I mentioned my daily devotional. Yesterday, I started the brand new Naptime Diary and, mamas, it is incredible. The devotionals are so sweet, not too long, and perfect for the mama heart. There is a place to journal your thoughts, to list out the fruit and the things you’re thankful for that day. It’s a true gift from the Naptime Diaries team. 

the new normal

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Comments

  1. says

    I pretty much think we’re soul sisters friend :). Posts like this are my absolute favorite. I love peeking into other people’s lives and seeing their routines. You’re doing an amazing job with your three boys!

  2. says

    When my son was born (he is 4 now) I was working in the office for 3 days a week and 2 days at home, so I could spend more time with him, and honestly what I found worked the best was when he was having an off day, I had to stop myself take a breather and say, “I can’t to it all” my work will have to wait, sometimes that meant staying up until midnight working and catching on emails, but looking back I would not have changed it for the world. I think so many women now a days want to think, I can do this and this and this and this, but reality tells us its ok to not do it all especially when you sweet kiddos are involved, they are the most important, even when they want to make you pull your hair out HAHA. Loved this post, and P.S. it took my 10 years to figure out the laundry, when I started doing a load sometimes two each day it made my life so much easier! What was I thinking before?!?!

  3. says

    I’ve got just about the same feed schedule:) and the days we aren’t even it erupted I get to sleep so well that night! Now going back to work next month will be another story.

  4. says

    You are so right that schedule is key!!! I wouldn’t know how to function without our daily/weekly routine. We don’t have a newborn anymore, but I had an 8 and 5 year old when our third was born so we had to navigate school and big kid schedules as well. I’m glad you’ve found your groove and learned the laundry secret. If you can keep ahead of that you’ll feel like you’re winning ; )

  5. says

    When Claiborne was born I had a full time corporate job and a 5 year old out on summer break, oh yeah and we decided to move from TN to VA when she was 3 weeks old! Life was crazy! When I returned to work it was full time from home, with a newborn who slept most of the day and Hudson off at Kindergarten I was able to work pretty effectively during naps until Hudson got home. As C got older and went down to 3 naps it got harder, I would normally just take phone calls and be available but do most of my work after both kids were in bed.

    Hope you can find a good balance!

    • says

      Erin, thanks so much for sharing this. I’ve followed your blog since before Hayes was born, and I’ve loved seeing how you have grown and changed as a mother, believer, etc. It’s been so refreshing and encouraging! I also have an almost four year old and gave birth to a little girl three weeks ago, so I’m especially enjoying these posts with little glimpses into your “normal.”

      Two questions:

      1. When did you start James Walker on his schedule and begin some of your own routines? I’ve been trying a little since two weeks, but I think I might need a whole month (or even six weeks) of just “surviving” before I can start any kind of actual routine. What did you do?

      2. Do you use a certain book or plan to schedule JW? I’ve read Baby Wise (it stressed me out) and Moms on Call (your routine sounds similar to theirs)… Any other recommendations or just go with my gut?

      Thanks! You’re doing great momma!!
      E

  6. says

    Hi Erin! I, too, have let laundry get out of control on a weekly basis. I’m going to try to incorporate your tips and see if I can finally get a handle on it (after 18 years). I was wondering what version of the Bible you use? It’s time for me to get a new one and yours looks like some kind of study version. Thanks! —- Tracie

  7. says

    I have to do laundry every single day! I have three girls and work full time outside of the home! Days are rough! But, once you get into a routine, you’ll get there. Adjusting from 2 to 3 kids was much easier than 1 to 2 kids. I have to meal plan and plan ahead. Sounds like you’re doing a fantastic job!

  8. Emily says

    Love this and you and those precious boys. When I read this I can picture you and feel like I’m there and it makes me miss you!

  9. says

    oh Erin, you have no idea how much I needed this devotional. Just ordered it! After a long night last night of fussing with William (3.5) for not listening, etc. I just need this! 🙂 Thank you!

  10. lily says

    you’re doing GREAT, mama! embracing that the daily laundry ‘reboot’ (which i learned from flylady) has 5 steps – #5 being the clothes get put away – was huge! good job prioritizing your jobs/roles/tasks and giving yourself grace. not easy to do, my friend. xoxo

  11. says

    I love EVERYTHING about this post, sister! I think you’re doing such a great job of navigating all of these new changes without overthinking things and getting stressed out when everything isn’t going 100% to plan. And I literally laughed out loud about the laundry thing, since I know that’s your favorite chore 😉 Isn’t it funny how some of the things that give us the most grief and stress can practically disappear overnight once we have our “aha” moment and realize we can approach things from a different angle? I love you, and am so proud of you. Please keep up writing posts like this, it makes me feel less alone in the world of motherhood to read this! xoxoxox

  12. HeatherM says

    i work full time and have a baby. My daughter has severe food allergies & can’t have normal formula, cows milk, etc- so we are still breastfeeding and pumping at a year, and will be indefinitely.
    Honestly a big part of what has gotten us through this year is asking more of my husband, and helping him build household tasks into his routines so that I can feed the baby. Let’s be honest, feeding a baby takes several hours out of your day (and even longer when pumping too)- so that means a few hours of something else has to give. I try to drop things where I know he can pick up the slack, so the whole house & our jobs don’t fall apart. For example, our feeding & pumping schedule requires me to be in full baby-feeding mode right in that bewitching hour when it is time to cook dinner. So he has taken over cooking most nights. I still cook crock pot meals and the occasional weekend feast, and I do all of the grocery shopping and meal planning. I’ll revisit the idea of resuming cooking each night when I get to stop pumping, and then again when the baby fully weans herself from nursing. My hubby also does child care pickups, and kitchen cleanup and dishes each night.
    I’m not trying to brag- just trying to emphasize the best way to solve these challenges is by approaching it as a team, with each person pulling their weight.
    Also, bravo to you for reaching a breastfeeding goal! It is a HARD thing to do, and it takes a lot of sacrifice. Remember, breastfeeding is only free if a woman’s time has no value. Your time obviously has value in many ways. This means that you are making some real sacrifices in order to breastfeed, and it is important that your sacrifices for your son are celebrated and supported.

  13. Meagan says

    Thanks for this post! I just had my first baby, a boy, who is 8 weeks old. I will be returning to work a few days a week here in one short month. This post (and its comments) have been so helpful!

    Quick question – I had the Naptime Diary in my shopping cart and hesitated because I wasn’t sure how applicable it was for me. Do you feel the daily devotions are geared more towards older children or those moms with multiple children? I’ve been looking for a daily devotional for quite some time and have been a longtime fan of Jess!! I’m hoping this diary is what I’ve been waiting for!!

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