Life with a newborn: the battle between short and long term thinking

Three and a bit weeks in, it’s becoming clear that I could write a book on the stuff I’ve forgotten about life with a newborn. Until I have time to do this, you’ll have to make do with my first book, which you can, hint, hint, buy here, and this blog post, which focuses on the key battle of being a new parent.

And the key battle of being a new parent is… the war between thinking in the short term and thinking in the long term. This clash happens all day, every day, but is particularly fraught in the early hours of the morning, when energy is low, tempers are strained and you’d do anything for ten minutes sleep.

Anything for a bit of sleep

In scenarios like the one above, it’s almost impossible to think in the long-term, but do you know what? Here’s the horribly unpalatable truth. You have to. Which means? It means changing that poopy nappy even though you know it’s going to wake your kid up and set your progress back anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. It means spending another 15 minutes trying to force out a burp even though your kid is snoozing and your pillow is oh-so-appealing. And it means waking your kid up and getting him or her to finish the bottle even though they are snoring like a Shire horse and you’re more exhausted than you’ve ever been in your life.

But, but, none of that makes any sense. I agree. In the heat of the moment, with my pillow calling there isn’t a feline’s chance in that underworld that I’d listen to such clear and blatant nincompoopery. However, the benefit of hindsight is a wonderful thing. And backed by four years of hindsight, I can assure you that fighting tiredness and thinking in the long term would, ultimately, have got me more sleep. I say this for three reasons.

  1. Babies rarely settle for long when they have a poopy nappy and, if they do, it’s only a matter of time before nappy rash rears its painful, sleep-massacring head.
  2. Babies rarely settle for long when they have trapped wind.
  3. Kids rarely stay asleep when they haven’t had enough to eat.

Conclusion

You didn’t want to read the above. And I didn’t want to write it. But we all need to accept the ugly truth. Although the lure of the short-term energy injection is great, when you’re living life with a newborn it always pays to think in the long-term.

Got that? Great, then what are you waiting for? Lift your head off that pillow, summon up your seventh wind and get burping, feeding or changing. I know it’s painful. But I also know it’s worth it.

Until next time…

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