“Boy, you have your hands full.” As a mom of five little ones, this is a phrase I hear more times than I can count. My kids ages are 8, 6, 3, 2 and 11 months. So, yeah, my life is a little crazy at times.
Let’s take the following experience as an example. Walking down the aisle at the store with my crew, I’m hyper focused on getting what I need and getting out. Because really, shopping with five kids is a marathon. I mean between telling the 8yo and the 6yo to stop running in the aisle like a bunch of wild banshees, the 3yo and the 2yo trying to grab stuff off the shelf and put it in the basket. The baby, well, he was just fed and I’m wearing him on my back so he’s happy. Never mind the fact that he’s pulled my hair all kinds of ways out of my ponytail and my neck looks like I got mauled by a cat. At least he’s not screaming so he gets the prize for being the best behaved. At some point I’m walking along and I see another person in my aisle and I hear, “I don’t know how you do it?!” I hear this phrase so often. Especially, when people find out that I am a doula as well. Honestly, I’m not really sure how I do it either. I just do and somehow manage to survive.
That said there are a few things that I’ve found that can help to make being a birth worker and mom of many easier. Here are the things I’ve found.
Keep your freezer stocked. Having meals in your freezer at all times can be such a lifesaver. They can be used for if you are gone at a birth and for when you return and you need to recover from said birth.
Have a long list of sitters. Especially ones you love and trust. The peace of mind that comes when you know your kids are taken care of while you are at a birth is priceless. But it also doesn’t hurt to use this list for self care.
Self care. You can’t take care of your clients or your family if you aren’t taking care of yourself. Just like on a plane you have to put your mask on first, you have to fill your cup with things that bring you joy first so you can bring joy to others.
Build a support system. Have a strong support system can make or break you as a mom and as a birth worker.
Learn to be flexible. As a parent I learned super fast that I had to be willing to do things on the fly or change my plans quickly. This goes for being a birth worker as well. Because you know, “if I’m not at a birth.”
Learn to just let things go. Really, the most important thing I learned after my second baby was to just relax and not be so particular about things. When I learned to just let some things roll of my back I became a happier mommy.
Do I have my hands full? Probably, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love each one of my kids and am grateful that I have been given these sweet children to care for. These tips have helped me so much over the years. What helps you on your journey through mommyhood? Through being a birth worker?
Guest post by Andrea Brannock: I am a wife to my husband, Andrew, a mother to three beautiful daughters and two handsome boys. I have always had a passion for pregnancy and birth but didn’t know I had options with my first two pregnancies. With my third pregnancy, I finally had the education I had been looking for and chose midwifery for my care. My third baby was born at home and it completely changed mine and my husband’s life. Ever since that incredible experience, I have wanted to share my knowledge with others so that they, too, can experience the power behind having an educated birth.