Due to my recent struggles, I’ve decided to write an open letter to you.
An open letter to the new mom with a toddler and a farm. Because I feel your pain and I want you to know you aren’t alone.
Congratulations on your new little one! You’ve anticipated this time for quite a while now and now it’s finally here.
You’ve shared your body with a new little person the past nine months. It’s time for you to enjoy a little bundle of screaming joy placed onto your chest.
In the first few days of your new baby’s life, you were doted on by nurses who watched your baby while you showered or slept. And you received lots of company in those early days, including your older child or children. It was easy, wasn’t it?
Now, you’re in recovery. Or are you?
I mean, you’ve been told not to lift anything over 20 pounds and to just take it easy. Ha! How many of us country farm women lift less than 20 pounds on a regular basis? My toddler weighs more than 20 pounds.
And taking it easy with plenty of rest? What is sleep? If your precious newborn is like mine, it’s up all night long! If I slept when the baby sleeps, my older child would have no supervision during the day. So, we go without.
But, a body that is in pain and a mind without needed sleep can equal a grumpy mama. I know because I’ve been there, too.
And that is why I am writing an open letter to you. Here are a few things I’ve learned after being THAT new mom with a toddler and a farm.
New Mom with a Toddler
Those older children you love so much keep you from spending the peaceful recovery your body and mind needs.
Older children still need love and crave it from you. They want you to play with them, feed them when they want fed and take them to their activities. But, how much more love can you give when total exhaustion sets in?
When will you reach that point when you snap and turn into “Mama Hyde?”
Don’t give into the horrid transformation of wretched yelling on a day-to-day basis. Don’t follow my early example.
My older child became a sister at 2 1/2 years old. You’d have thought her world was coming to an end.
The first week home, I had some help from Matt who has here. But by week two, I was flying solo with a newborn, a toddler who craved constant attention and a farm full of animals.
My older child was acting just like one of those animals. She was acting out constantly even in only my presence.
I tried everything, just like you have tried. I spent special time with her playing while her sister slept. I let her help with her baby sister.
What I received from her in return:
- Desitin in the carpet.
- Cushions pulled off all the couches.
- Drinks spilled on the floor.
And that was just on the first week of the two of us home together with the new baby and the farm. So much for recovering quietly cuddling my new baby.
I became THAT mom who yelled at and scolded her older child. Then, one day, I looked at my precious, strong-willed chubby-faced toddler playing with the goat kids and it hit me.
I didn’t want to be THAT mom anymore.
I’ve talked with friends and read articles and books that conclude this: It takes time and patience for the adjustment to subside. Soon, your toddler will be sweet and subtle once again.
Our day has become more structured since and I make plenty of play time for my toddler. I follow her role-playing activities, give her snacks, and let her hold her baby sister whenever she wants.
Because those are the little things that matter in her little world.
As I became happier, my newborn began to sleep more at night. And I felt my mental strength returning.
With that in mind, make sure you remember that your body still needs that time to recover.
But That Farm Work Still Needs Done
Your body needs that six weeks to recover, friend.
It’s hard, I know. But, it’s in your best interest to take care of your body first.
Those animals still need to be fed. That farm work still needs done.
Do what you can do without lifting too much. Remember what that nurse said? No more than 20 pounds?
This is an excellent time to let your older child gain a little bit more responsibility in the farm chores. Plan ahead and let the farmer or someone else take charge of the heavy lifting.
I will tell you right now that it’s in your best interest to listen to your nurse and your body. You’re going to have to depend on others for the heavy lifting for now.
It’s only for a little while. You’ll be back to your old self in no time.
Wait…Where’s That Farmer?
You wake up in the morning and he’s gone. You wake up in the night and he’s there…but fast asleep.
Where’s your better half to help you? After all, this simple country life is a team effort.
He’s planting corn. Or baling hay. Or harvesting soybeans. Simply put: He’s not here to help YOU.
But, really, he is helping. He heard the nurse’s orders and he’s taking them seriously because he cares about you. He’s taking on the heavy lifting because you can’t.
It’s hard for you to understand but time doesn’t just stop when you become a new mom. Corn still needs planted. Hay still needs baled.
He’ll come home when the work is done. You have much more important things to worry about right now.
I write an open letter to you today because I’ve been where you are. I’ve been frustrated, impatient and lonely.
I’ve felt like leaving it all behind.
The truth is, new mom, that this time in our lives is so short. We may not ever want to relive this time, but we will probably never ever forget it.
It takes a team to make this farming thing work. Team work is important for living the country life. You’re part of this team, too, so don’t forget that.
This difficult time is great for our character.
I’m writing an open letter to you, my friend, to tell you that it gets better. In an open letter to you, I wanted to let you know this change takes time.
We must be patient and understanding through this time. It’s so hard when our bodies are trying to bounce back from labor. Hormones are raging and everything around us feels like a whirlwind.
But, you and I will both survive, friend. This small time in our lives happens in just a blink of an eye. It makes us stronger women.
Remember your purpose for this time. Pray, talk to the right people and read the right articles.
Not only are we helping to run a farm. We are moms nurturing the next generation of leaders.
We may not be perfect moms or farmers. But we can strive to do our best and encourage one another.
I wish you the best of luck with your new adventures!