Taking Care of a New Baby, One Step at a Time

Making progress, little by little

Jack on Changing Table_Main.jpg

I heard something on the radio the other day that made me stop and think: "If you want to make changes in your life, do one little thing each day to get you closer to your goal." For example, if you want to be a kinder person, make a point of doing one kind thing each day. Over the long term, all of those acts of kindness will add up, and you really will be a kinder person.
It's not rocket science, but when I heard it, a lightbulb went off. It was like a huge weight had been taken off my shoulders. Because when you have a new baby, it's like the rest of your life suddenly gets put on hold. Only, nothing stops needing to be done—it just starts to pile up all around you. Little tasks become overwhelming. Big tasks become downright impossible. And it all weighs on me... I'll sit in the rocking chair nursing Jack, surveying the house, realizing how much I have to do, but feeling totally unable to do any of it. It's like my hands are tied, literally, as I'm busy nursing Jack, then burping him, then changing him, then bathing him, then taking care of the "big kids," then starting all over again. All the while, the dirty laundry, and the dirty dishes, and the stacks of mail, and the clutter, and the endless items on my to-do list are staring me in the face.
When you have a new baby, you suddenly have to start living your life in tiny little increments—10 minutes here, 10 minutes there. Maybe you get a stretch of two to three hours if the baby takes a good nap, and then it's decision time: Take a shower or pack lunches? Pay the bills or return e-mails? Do the dishes or the laundry? You have to pick your battles. And even when I do, I find that I end up spending naptime in a slight panic as I rush around trying to take care of business, never really sure how much time I'm going to have.
So, the thought of taking baby steps comes as such a huge relief. Now that's do-able. One little thing here, one little thing there... and sooner or later, it all adds up. Progress is made. Whether it's losing the baby weight, or spending more quality time as a family, or being a kinder person—if we do a little bit here, and a little bit there, it'll happen. Like a small miracle.

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