Incentives, and Observations on Life with a Newborn

This is Laura posting today. I’ve had a fabulous string of guest bloggers here during October, and hope to have a few more in the next month. Baby Ruth turns 4 weeks old tomorrow, and is growing rapidly. Today also marks the beginning of the 4-month count down before All The Money In The World comes out. I would love to give the book as big a launch as possible, and to that end, I’m trying to encourage people to do one of three things:

1. Sign up for my newsletter, “Just a Minute” (at any point)

2. Pre-order a copy of the book (in the two weeks prior to publication, roughly)

3. “Like” the book on Facebook, or otherwise share news of it via social media (at any point)

So, in a crowded book market, what kind of incentives should I offer to get people to do these things? I have a few ideas but I’m really curious if you all have ideas as well. Feel free to leave them in the comments or email me.

It’s been a fascinating month, from a time perspective, adjusting to being a mother of three children under the age of five. I haven’t been keeping time logs, but I’ve  made a few observations:

  • Help is good. It is physically impossible to, say, carry 3 kids around simultaneously. I won’t need this much assistance from family and sitters forever, but right now I do.
  • There are few long periods of time available for focused work. So to-do lists are very important. Otherwise, I will completely forget what I’m supposed to be doing. Waking up every 3 hours will do this to a person.
  • Even if the day is crazy, getting out of the house for a little bit (for, say, a 30 minute jog) makes everything better
  • I’ve written about the declining marginal costs of children from a financial perspective, but they also become easier from an energy perspective as you know better what you’re doing. My delivery nurse got quite a laugh when she came into my recovery room and saw me nursing Ruth on one side, eating a soft pretzel with the other hand, and carrying on a conversation with my husband. She’s like “first time mothers don’t do that.”
  • Autumn leaves are fleeting. I always like hiking in October, when the leaves are at their peak. I figured we wouldn’t get to do much of that this year with a newborn. But we’ve loaded her in the Baby Bjorn and gone for long walks in various wooded areas for three weekends in a row. My 2-year-old and 4-year-old are getting to be good hikers!
  • Babyhood is fleeting too. It’s hard to imagine, looking at my 2-year-old, that he was the size of Ruth exactly two years ago. In two years, babies turn into children with their own personalities and ability to observe many things about the world. So I’m taking time for lots of snuggles and big hugs now, knowing that my kids probably won’t be much interested in such things ten years from now. While I wish I had more time for a few things at the moment, I also know that there will be times in my life in the future when I’ll have plenty of time and a lot more freedom. Heck, I may even be able to get a 2-seater sports car by my late 40s!
For those of you who do have three (or more) children, what did you notice changed with the addition of new children into your families?

17 thoughts on “Incentives, and Observations on Life with a Newborn

  1. Welcome back Laura! We have 3 kids, I also said to my wife the difference between 2 and 3 feels like 5! You know, I used to watch the eldest, my wife the youngest, but with the new one it feels as if you are out of control all the time!! But they grow up and it is wonderful to have a family!
    All the best!!

    1. That is true! There’s the old joke of switching from man-to-man to zone defense. This time around I was careful to have some times where we do still have man-to-man (by having other people around). Definitely helpful at times where Ruth needs feeding, Sam needs a diaper change and Jasper is asking for a snack…

  2. Great!
    I read your newsletter saying you were reading books in the hospital room…. were you really reading books in the hospital room on limited sleep? !
    Glad to see your post!
    Important to work but true that the early years are long days but very very short years — so we working moms struggle to find that balance of working and not totally stepping out but also not missing the time!

    1. Hi Cara! Yes, I read a lot in the hospital room, in part because I wasn’t able to sleep much. I have never figured out why they needed to draw my blood at, like, 5:30AM. I figure it was because the phlebotomoist’s shift was over at 6 and so it had to get done. If you can’t sleep, why not read? If it’s an interesting book it’s more entertaining than hours of day time TV.

      1. I actually got quite a bit of reading done while in the hospital after the births of both children. Reading has always been one of my favorite activities and I always try to make time for it. I also knew that it was easier to read at the hospital then it would be when I got home. Sleep was limited in both places, but at the hospital there were other people to take care of all the cooking and cleaning. That was not going to be the case when I got home.

  3. What a lovely blog. It sent shivers down my spine (in a good way)thinking about how quickly the baby years pass by. Also reminded me of a moment in hospital after having my first born by c-section, when my partner turned up to find me feeding the baby in one arm and eating my dinner with the other hand. We agreed this meant we were probably ready to come home!

    1. This was the first baby where I was actually happy to stay in the hospital for the full two days — first off, it was easier than being at home with two other little ones! And second, I got my own room out here in the wilds of suburban PA. In NYC I was always sharing a room which meant even less sleep.

  4. Welcome back, Laura! And thanks for all the great guest posts. I really enjoyed them.

    As far as launching your book, it might be cool to team up with bloggers. You could provide them with a preview copy of your book and ask them to review it, and give away a copy on their blog. Or something along those lines. I know, as a faithful reader of yours, I would be happy to help.

  5. Welcome Back Laura. I only have 2 kids, but have seen the third child wreak havoc on 4 friends/siblings. It’ll be interesting to see if your perspectives and time logs will enable you to do the things they seemingly gave up on, like cleaning, managing money, quality time with spouse, and communicating with friends.

  6. Welcome back, Laura! I think going from 1 to 2 children was harder than going from 2 to 3, in terms of caring for a newborn. My older daughters were 8 and 5 when our youngest (who is now 2) was born. As my littlest is getting older, I feel the pull to spend individual time with each of them more and more. My oldest and middle daughters love to help with the youngest, so when my 7 year old wants to read her book, she reads to the little one. When my 10 year old helps me with dinner, everyone seems to eat more! I don’t even care if I sound corny, here (I’m a mom!), so I’ll say that the love has definitely increased in our home. Each one of our daughters has brought her own little personality and way of showing affection, and I can’t get enough.

  7. Having three kids is an adjustment, but yours are nicely spaced so you don’t forget stages but don’t have everyone in it at once. I had 3 kids in 23 months and that was a bit much without help.

    Congratulations on having a healthy baby. If she were colicky, you’d probably know it by now.

    1. @Twin Mom – thanks! So far she is pretty chill, and the sleeping is getting better. She doesn’t like to go to bed at night but none of my kids do. At least the older two can entertain themselves in their room (here we have a big suburban house and they’ve gone back to sharing, voluntarily.) My 4-year-old probably needs to be encouraged to be more independent on dressing himself…

  8. I was so grateful to have a third child, because it took three babies before I knew how short the baby time was. With my sons I was so eager to get to more independence– but with my daughter I finally enjoyed having a baby.

    What was best about three was that if you were fighting with a sibling, there was another one around to be friends with. 🙂 What was best about having the third baby was that it gave the big brothers a common love.

    And now that my oldest is in the Navy, my youngest is 14, and my middle is only a year and a half from moving out, I realize what having three really means… a stretched out time of having children in the house!

    Because I’m not sure I’m ready for any of it to end just yet.

  9. Hi Laura,

    You don’t need to provide any incentives for me to pre-order. I will gladly order it for myself and gifts because I was lucky enough to be one of your draft readers last spring. Your book has already been a huge influence on me for the last six months. I don’t recall whether it was a blog post, a book section, or both, talking about how an individual person’s choices could best contribute to growing the economy and doing something good for the world. It led me to launch a new blog promoting American-made products (and removed my guilt for hiring a designer to do the graphics instead of taking a lot longer to do it myself). Both of your books really came together for me and either pointed me in the right direction when I needed it or assured me that I was on the right track. I’ve been meaning to send a note to say thanks, so here it is. Best wishes on your new book!

    Sarah (the one who proudly outsources her laundry in 168 hrs)

    1. @Sarah- Woo hoo! I am thrilled with this testimonial! And congrats on launching the new site. Everyone, go check out For people who read the “Don’t Do Your Own Laundry” chapter of 168 Hours, Sarah is one of the happy laundry outsourcers I profiled. Yes, website graphics qualify as things we could do… if we had all the time in the world. Which we don’t.

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