Ask Casey No. 6 – Mom Edition
I get lots of design questions from you guys, but it’s kinda funny because I actually get questions about a lot of other things happening in my life, like marriage, blogging, fitness, fashion…really every single category! So, I tackle your inquiries in my “Ask Casey” blog post series answering your questions every month or so.
Ask Casey No. 6
Here are a few past posts if you want to catch up…
The google form (at the bottom of the post) has helped me keep everything organized so I can slowly make my way through your inquiries. So, if you have another question today, be sure to submit it down below.
Today’s Ask Casey No. 6 is all about life as a new mom. I’ve received so many questions from readers and followers on Instagram and figured I would tackle a few here today.
What’s been the thing that surprised you the most?
I think it’s crazy how confident you can feel one day and how uncertain/overwhelmed you can feel the next. The moment I think I’ve got the hang of this mom thing, the next day is all over the place. On those days, when I’m feeling super confident, Rory is napping and eating like a champ, I’m productive, and I think to myself, “Wow, I’ve got this thing figured out!”, only to have the next day be a shit show. So that has been surprising for me and I have a feeling it will always be that way, even as she grows up.
Also, I thought I would be a tad more productive with a newborn…I mean, they sleep all day, right? Boy, was I wrong! Even though Rory often takes two-hour naps, it’s hard to sneak in everything I need to do during that time. I find that I’m pumping, cleaning bottles, throwing in a load of laundry…and then it’s time to start all over again.
What were your essentials for postpartum care?
As I mentioned in this post about Rory’s birth, even though I had a very easy delivery, I still had some tearing and needed stitches. This postpartum kit was a lifesaver! I’m telling ya, make sure you tell all of your pregnant friends about it. And be sure to buy this spray bottle too…you’ll need it. I also “stole” everything I possibly could from the hospital (those mesh undies are great that first week!) and I highly recommend doing that. I’ll be sharing more about this in tomorrow’s post about what to pack in your hospital bag.
Sharing the Load
How have you divvied up housework and babycare between the two of you?
The silver lining of this pandemic is that Finn has been working from home since mid-March and will be at home until August 1st, at the earliest. Our home office is right across the hall from the nursery, so even during the workday, he is always popping in to help with diaper changes, to rock her to sleep, or to pick her up when she cries after a nap. So even though he is working, he is still able to help out, which is amazing.
Plus, he doesn’t have to miss any big moments and he is there for every bath and bedtime. In terms of feeds, we split up the nighttime shifts, and having those designated ahead of time is super helpful (instead of both being super tired and saying “It’s your turn. No, it’s your turn.”) Some days the baby care and housework is 50/50, other days it’s 70/30…but in the end, we’re a team and always have each other’s backs! As with anything with a marriage, communication is key. Ask for help, set your expectations ahead of time, and it will prevent a lot of problems in the long run.
What is the most helpful gesture or item someone has given you?
Food! During that first week, we were so grateful for any and all food that showed up on our door because we were too sleep-deprived to think about meals. We had a friend send us a pizza, another sent us turkey sandwiches for lunch, a neighbor dropped off a loaf of banana bread, and we even had scones show up on our front porch (thanks, Kim!). A few sent online gift cards for restaurants too. Of course, every gift is so appreciated and thoughtful, but during those first few weeks, food was the most helpful. If you need more gift ideas for new parents, this post has some great ones.
Investing in the Right Stroller
Do you like the UppaBaby stroller? Is it worth the money?
Yes, we love the UppaBaby and we have it in the Vista version! It’s the Cadillac of strollers for a reason. It’s so smooth, easy to fold up and down, and it’s thoughtfully designed. I take it for walks daily and can easily throw it in the trunk of our car when we head over to Grama’s house. It will also convert for up to three kids, so I know we’ll have it for years!
Body After Baby
Can you share honest thoughts about your body after baby?
As I mentioned in my third-trimester post, I gained about 28 pounds during pregnancy. About a week after having Rory, I had already lost about 18 pounds or so, but I was still looking at least four months pregnant. I knew that my body wouldn’t magically shrink back to normal. While my legs and arms were looking pretty normal, my midsection was looking flabby and saggy. Not to mention, my boobs were (and still are) ginormous from breastfeeding…which is another body image struggle. I’m back in some of my larger and stretchier jeans, but there are plenty of pairs that won’t fit for quite some time and I’m okay with that.
I’m about 10 weeks postpartum now and I finally feel like my old self, but I certainly don’t have “my body back.” I’m rounder and softer in the middle and it will take healthy eating and exercise to tighten things up. Since I’m breastfeeding and don’t want to hurt my supply, I won’t be dieting anytime soon. Instead, I’m doing my best to eat well and eat enough to keep myself nourished. In terms of exercise, I’ve been doing this postpartum guide from Expecting and Empowered and it’s fantastic! A wonderful way to ease back into a regular workout routine.
In the end, I’m damn proud of my body and look at it in a whole new light since having Rory. It grew this wonderful human being for nine months and now it’s feeding her and helping her grow. It truly is incredible and I’m trying my best to appreciate it instead of agonizing over every lump and bump.
Asking for Help
What do you wish you had known about the first few weeks/months?
I wish I would have accepted help more graciously. My mom and Finn have been amazing and are always there to give me a break or let me sneak in a nap. But those first few weeks, I felt like I had to be a part of every diaper change and every feeding. I just felt this urge to be by Rory all the time. Finn and I have found that when we take shifts and fully let the other person be in charge, we come back to Rory rejuvenated, calmer, and more appreciative of our time with her. So, if you have people who want to help, let them, and don’t feel guilty about it.
Highs & Lows
What’s your favorite part so far? What’s been overwhelming?
Life is just so much more entertaining now. Everything this little human does is so exciting and new to us and we are still soaking up every bath time and cuddle. I keep trying to remember our life before Rory and it just seems like it was so boring. Ha! I’m also so amazed at how obsessed we both are. I knew I would love her, but it’s crazy how I’m yearning to hold her and be near her. After Finn has a shift with her, I’m always so eager to get her back in my arms. I didn’t know I would feel that way.
As for overwhelming…I’m overwhelmed all the time! We’ve had a few instances where Rory has been fussy during the evening hours…wailing at the top of her lungs. Holy smokes, she could wake up the entire block. And it’s not because she is hungry, tired, or needs to be changed…it’s just wailing for no apparent reason (which they say can happen in newborns especially during growth spurts and leap weeks). For me, this is super overwhelming because I feel helpless and she seems so upset. I’ve found that bouncing her hard and using a binky really help and the pediatrician says it’s totally normal. Those moments are very overwhelming for me, but I try to remind myself that this won’t last forever. And in the end, even when she is wailing…Rory is still pretty damn cute.
Submit Your Questions
Have a question you want answered? Use the google form below and I’ll answer it in the next Ask Casey post.
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.