Being a new mom with other small children in the house can be overwhelming at times. You not only need to recover physically from birth, but you need to deal with your children's reaction to the change in the family- and this is all on top of your regular responsibilities as a wife and mother.
In order to help you get through this period as smoothly as you can, here are 7 tips you can use to help you not only survive, but thrive:
1) One of the most important things to remember, is to take all the help you can get, right from the start. It's very common for women to try and do everything in the beginning, and then a month or two later conk out from over-exertion. This is not a great idea for many reasons, but it is especially not good because by then no one will be offering you any help.
Even if this means you might need to pay for a teenage girl to take the kids out for two hours in the afternoon so you can have a nap, then do it. Cut back wherever you can, but this can make the difference between a functioning mommy and a mommy who is on the edge, barely hanging on.
2)Try and be as organized as you can. Even if you have to make yourself a schedule, do it. That way you will at least be able to delegate to your husband or anyone else who offers help, because you will know exactly what is supposed to be done. Your husband could even look at the schedule and know how to help you without even asking you.
3)Cook double recipes. It's not much harder (and even a little cheaper) to double a recipe when you're cooking. That way you can have a ready made meal for those days when you just don't have energy to even stay awake. Invest in quality storage containers, and label whatever it is you put in there, so you don't end up with a mystery container.
4) Limit the amount of clothing your kids wear. It may sound strange, but I have found that having more clothing does not mean less laundry. Through some mysterious mechanism it happens that you end up doing the laundry just as often as you always did it, but now you have more to do. Better to stick with 5 outfits for everyone, and use your dryer. It may not be as ecologically sound as hanging up your laundry, but it gets the job done.
5) Make a regular weekly time to get out of your house with your husband, alone- no kids allowed. You can do this even if you have a nursing baby; just go around the corner for a walk and an ice-cream, if you have to. It's easy to get lost in child care with so many little children, but you are a wife first and then a mother. You need to invest in your relationship with your husband in order to have a strong marriage.
6) Make a regular time daily for yourself. Even if this means being able to take a 5 minute bath by yourself while your husband holds down the fort, do it. You need to take care of yourself in order to take care of your family.
7) Give your children something special to do when you do a chore that really needs your attention. If you find dinner is burning because you keep having to deal with your children, or you find yourself averaging about 2 washed dishes every half hour, then consider pulling out a special toy to keep the family occupied.
My favorite is playdough; I don't mind the mess, and I make my own batch so if it ends up in the garbage anyway it's not the end of the world. You could also let them join in helping you around the house; washing sliding doors, walls, or doors is a great one as long as you keep an eye out on water usage.