Girl Talk: No Time To Keep Up
Q: Being a new mom demands all my attention. I never know what's going on in the news. Where can I get the energy to focus on things like the presidential election?
A: The election is important, but do you know what else is important? Taking out a trash bag of stinky diapers before the sanitation truck rumbles away; remembering which boob was last in the feeding rotation; or finding a marriage counselor when your husband whines about your mood swings.
I'm not making light of your concerns. I just want you to realize that it's not about getting more energy so that you can stay connected to the world. With a new baby, it's about making the best use of the little surplus energy you have.
I remember freaking out shortly after my eldest was born because I hadn't read a book in a year. I also hadn't gone to a movie or even watched the evening news (it always made me want to cry). Nine months earlier, I'd promised myself that while my baby might change my daily routine, he wouldn't change me. I'd still be with it. And yet, there I was: an out-of-touch, lumpy, hormonal mom who counted a visit to the supermarket magazine aisle as a big treat.
Fast-forward two more kids...and I still consider that aisle a big treat. But now I can add to that perk the stacks of books that I've read over the past years and all the movies I've seen (okay, I ordered them from Netflix, but they were new releases!). And, at last, I am once again able to watch the nightly news. Although it still can make me cry.
So until you and your baby are at least sleeping through the night, don't worry about being as up on current events as before. You can feel satiated grabbing small news bites, whether it's scanning headlines while you nurse, listening to the radio while you brew coffee, or even calling a friend to ask for the latest baby count for the Brangelina brood. After your baby adjusts to a more predictable sleep schedule (two naps a day and four- or five-hour stretches at night, which often happens by the 6-month mark), you may find your energy rationing coming to an end. And soon after, you'll be able to spend more time focusing on what's really important-although you may be surprised to find that it's still the same thing (or little person) you want to devote all your energy to right now.
Babytalk contributing editor Kitty O'Callaghan is a mom of two boys and a girl in White Plains, New York.