It’s been three whole months since I had a baby, and…
… I’ve managed to hit my weekly writing goals every single week since January 😮
So I thought I’d do a little post detailing how.
First of all, some caveats:
- I’m not back at work yet. I’m still on maternity leave. Not having a day job to contend with gives me WAY more free time than I would have, which is why I labeled this post Part 1. I assume Part 2, how to write with a baby + a day job is going to be a bit different
- From what I’ve heard about other people’s experiences with new parenthood, I believe I lucked out somehow and got a *good* baby. That’s not to say not all babies are *good* in their own ways, but I got a baby who eats with no problem, naps pretty well, rarely cries, is good at playing alone, and has been sleeping through the night since she was 7 weeks old. (All in all, I’m finding new motherhood easier than I was expecting to. Maybe it’s my “unicorn baby” as others have called her, maybe it’s because I read too many articles when I was pregnant about how MOTHERHOOD IS HARD, maybe this is all the calm before the storm of things getting hard? I don’t know what it is, but if I knew I’d love it this much, maybe I wouldn’t have waited so long to have kids.)
- I don’t recommend trying to get anything at all done month 1. I had my baby December 1st; I didn’t start writing again until the week between Christmas and New Year’s and that’s only because we were at my parents and they helped take care of her during the day. Also your sleep’s all messed up during that first month and you really shouldn’t be giving yourself any goals other than “keep baby alive.” But once January came around and she was sleeping for longer stretches, I felt comfortable getting back into the writing groove. You may need longer, and that’s okay, too!
SO! Here are my tips:
1. Write when she naps Obviously. I recommend the Rock N’ Play for naptime, it seems to help her sleep longer, and it’s nice and portable so I can put it next to me when I’m writing. And on the days when she’s not napping well, I take her out in her stroller bassinet (which she’s almost too big for!) and the motion almost always does the trick. Then I can hang at my favorite coffee shop (favorite=room for strollers) and write while she sleeps peacefully.
2. Write when she eats Now this one was tricky. I’m breastfeeding, so it took me a little while to get the hang of it, but once I did I find feeding time to be a good time for writing. I use a Boppy Pillow to support her, then I have this little adjustable writing desk I swing over the couch, adjust to the right height, and write while she eats. I don’t do this every writing session–I have to be careful not to strain my back–but sometimes she likes to eat for a long time and writing is more productive than Netflix.
3. Write while she plays If you happen to have a baby who loves just sitting under her little mobile thing, let her play alone (it’s good for her little brain! or so says the book I read) and write then.
4. Rely on your partner If you have one, let him or her hang with the baby while you get in an intense writing session entirely out of earshot of your baby. Because while the above two writing times are productive, I can’t really lose myself in my writing when baby is awake and I’m the one who needs to be watching her.
5. Go visit your parents Grandparents are gold! They are obsessed with your baby and will happily hold her for hours on end while you do other things.
Those are my tips! As I said, this is all temporary because I have a day job to get back to + once she becomes mobile I’m sure there will be new challenges to face. But we’ve gotten into a decent routine right now and I kind of just want this period of my life to never end. Winter, baby cuddles, writing … what could be better?