I’m going to be honest, I’m not the best with taking advice. I’m actually pretty terrible at it. It drives me crazy when people tell me what to do or what I wont be able to do anymore. Everyone is different.
Starting with the the fertility journey, everyone told me the same thing, “don’t think about it and it will happen.”…umm, how can I not think about the huge elephant in the room. “Just relax”…oh, ok Karen with a car full of kids and your story how you just got pregnant on the first try every time.
Pregnancy, “sleep now because you wont be able to do that anymore”, watch and see. “Say good bye to showers and manicured nails”…righhhht.
Baby comes and everyone is a pro. “Don’t hold him so much, he will always need you to”, “let him cry it out”, “you have to breast feed”, “you shouldn’t go back to work, your husband does well enough for you to stay home”, “You shouldn’t let him have a pacifier, you’ll never get rid of it”. Smile and nod, Leanne…smile and nod.
I’m not giving you advice, I’m simply telling you what works for me. I encourage you to make your own list of what will help you in your own life to make whatever phase of parenting you’re in, to be right for you.
During my pregnancy, I read until my eyes couldn’t take it anymore. I read everything about feeding, sleep training, food introduction, etc. Some of it was helpful but I didn’t know that when you become a mommy, you just get it. You just know what works for you in your home with your family.
The most common advice I got from peers was, “sleep when the baby sleeps”, “it’s ok to just let all other household responsibilities wait”, and “too bad your husband is working and you’re not, it’s his kid too, make him do it”.
I’m a type A personality, I have to control everything all the time. I don’t feel accomplished until everything is done, and I don’t deligate because I think that things are only done right if I do them myself. I’m a little old school when it comes to my marriage and I do care that my husband works 80+ hours a week. I don’t want him to have to do things at home if I can (if I ask for help, he better know I’m on the verge of a break down and just do it). Also, I usually feel bad when he does try helping me because I just complain about how he’s doing it, I’m kind of impossible to help.
And back to “sleep when the baby sleeps”…not happening. It’s kind of hard to just sleep in the middle of the day when they do especially when you’ve got other things to do.
I’m not naturally an organized or neat person. I force myself to be because I take pride in my home and family. I need to make tasks for myself and once I do, I wont stop until they’re completed.
With that said, I am solely responsible for taking care of my home, most of my sons needs, and any shopping, errands, wants/needs for the three of us. Seems pretty simple until you’re the one trying to keep everything together and get everything done all yourself with a little person who needs you. Shit, it was hard for me when it was just me without a baby sometimes!
I don’t like to have a strict routine as far as being home at a certain time for feedings, naps, etc. because I am a person who’s all over the place. I can’t adjust to my baby’s schedule, he needs to adjust to mine. Not everyone agrees with that and that’s ok. Again, this is what works for us.
Think of your “list” to simplify your new life with baby to fit your family but mine involves planning, organizing, and time management.
1. PLANNING-Pano and I usually start our bedtime routine and cuddle fest around 10pm. Once I do his last feeding of the day (somewhere between 10-12), I plan for the next day. Where are we going, what do we need, and what time do we have to be out the door.
I make a plan of attack for the next day.
Example: If our day consists of appointments, errands to run, grocery shopping, and plans I made with friends, I time everything out.
I go through a mental check list like, do I need to go to the gas station before we go on our way? I double check emails and calendars with confirmations for appointments to make sure I didn’t miss anything or confuse any times.
I think about what time we need to be up, getting ready, and leave the house. I always give myself a little extra time because of course, that’s when we have a messy diaper, a melt down, or some sort of set back. I don’t think it’s always an acceptable reason to be late just because you have kids. Every now and then sure, but there’s people who are notoriously late and that’s their reason why. I always think to myself, well the parent is the one in charge planning and getting everyone/everything together so stop with that excuse.
Having this plan and schedule for the day keeps me accountable for staying focused to get going in a timely fashion. Days that have no plans then I get it. Get ready a little bit, get distracted playing with baby…get ready a little more, make a call, etc.
On days of plans, if I get a call or some other sort of distraction, I wait to get to that until I’m done with the tasks on hand and then get to all that.
I understand that the older your kids are and you’re making them meals, dressing them, etc. it gets more difficult but you get them to school on time, right? So why not have that same planning for your morning on personal days? I know it always sounds better to not have to be on a plan or schedule but for me, those are the days with such wasted time. I’d rather have us ready to roll and have nothing to do after then to look at the clock and see three hours of time went by and we are still in our pajamas.
ORGANIZATION: After I make the plan for our day, I organize everything. I have his bottle, nursery water, and formula upstairs in my room and ready for his first feeding. I put out the baby’s clothes, mine, and get the diaper bag ready. My diaper bag check list is formula, nursery water, a clean bottle, clean bib & burp cloth, an extra set of clothes for emergency and/or unexpected weather, a swaddle blanket, and wubba nub. My always packed items are first aid, sanitizer/sanitizer wipes, diapers, wipes, & changing pad.
(Louis Vuitton Neverfull is great for baby but any mamas with older kids probably not because there’s nothing to keep drinks cold/hot like actual diaper bags. No zipper so if you need to bend over to pick up kids everything spills or have kids who get in your bag, this isn’t for you)
I also get together anything for that specific day. Are we going to the bank and I have pay checks to take? Dry cleaning drop off? Returns? Everything I need gets put together and at the door.
Once my plan is set and I’m organized for the next day. I know that all I need to do in the morning is worry about time management.
TIME MANAGEMENT- Stay. On. Task.
I can’t tell you guys enough how scatter brained I am naturally. I know it’s not easy to become a “new you” but it’s not impossible, trust me.
Manage your time wisely. After I wake up with Pano for his “early morning feeding” (between 6-7am), I usually like to go back to sleep for a couple for a couple of hours. I think I forgot to tell you guys, I am not an early riser. Pre baby, I pretty much have only had jobs and scheduled appointments for 10:00am or later. Obviously, I couldn’t always do that but I preferred that.
Now, after his early feeding, days that we have plans I just have to know that I don’t always get to go back to sleep. Sometimes I just have to get up and begin my day to stay punctual. I’ll take a shower, while my hair is starting to air dry, I’ll throw in laundry, tidy up the upstairs of my house, etc. Then, I’ll get back to getting myself ready. Now, an hour or two has passed, I’ll wake Pano up, get him ready, and then out the door we go! Tada! We are not only on time but we are usually ahead of schedule.
I like to follow this same pattern for days at home too because like I said, I don’t like looking at the clock, half my day is gone, and I’m still not showered, ready etc.
For days at home, everything is the same besides leaving the house. I still get ready (not always make up because it’s expensive lol and I like to be able to snuggle, kiss, and love up on my baby without getting bronzer and lipstick all over him). I still get Pano ready because…well, I don’t know if there’s really a reason or I’m just a psycho but either way, I do.
My baby isn’t like some of my friends baby’s who sleep 12 hours straight a night but I’m ok with that because he takes a hand full of naps through out the day that allow me to guilt free get household chores done and time to myself. We do all naps downstairs (or while I’m out running around) in the light, with sound, etc. which some consider “junk sleep” but it works fine for my little bundle.
I already mentioned his morning nap that allows me to get ready, then he will take a nap in early afternoon and that’s when I can put away all of the laundry, clean the downstairs of my house, get my mail, pay my bills, etc.
*side note, I don’t know about you guys but I have to wash baby bottles after every use. I wouldn’t be able to stand it looking at a sink full of dirty bottles. Or any dirty dishes really*
At night is when he’s got the most energy or a “witching hour” if you will. This is his shortest nap of the day but that’s ok so he’s nice and sleepy for me at bed time. During this nap, thats when I can cook dinner, hang out, and have a little personal time. When we go upstairs, he understands that’s bedtime and never gives me a problem putting him to bed in his bassinet. It’s the only sleep he gets that’s dark, quiet(ish), and swaddled. Though my personal time break wasn’t long, he’s always really good to go to bed and I can always watch a show or two in bed before I go to sleep. This works for me because I’m a night owl.
This time management is so important for me for my own happiness.
I stay up all day so I can keep up with my household responsibilities because it makes me overwhelmed if I have to do it all at one time. Loads of laundry all on one day make me irritated and look at the pile with anger. A dirty house makes me not want to be there and I fear it will make my husband feel that same way coming home. A pile of bills makes me feel like we are going broke when I wait to pay them all at one time, and not having personal time makes me feel like I lost my identity.
I don’t sleep when my baby sleeps because I’d rather take care of these things through out the day so when my head hits the pillow, I know I’m getting a good night sleep. I feel accomplished because I did a lot during the day since sometimes going from a working women to a stay at home mom can make you feel a little depressed like you’re not contributing to the world the way that you used to. Lazy days for me sound appealing but then it usually ends in regret and feelings of no accomplishment.
It sounds like a lot of responsibilities because it is but on most days, I don’t feel overwhelmed or unhappy because of the planning, organization, and time management I’ve disciplined myself with. If I do it, anyone can!
It feels so good when my husband notices all the work I’ve done, thanks me, and tells me what an amazing wife and mom I am. I also want to be a women that my son is proud of as he grows up, too. I want both of them to watch me with admiration and wonder, how does she do it all? The same way my family and I always have felt about my mom.
Does my 3 tools sound like something that could help you or is your list completely different?
I know some of you may have babies who are more fussy, or don’t sleep good, so maybe your list for making your life easier is forcing yourself to get a nap in for the energy and patience for that. Maybe it’s to work out every day (I should probably add that to my list lol), or maybe it’s pick up a new hobby. Whatever it is, think of your list, put it in action, and simplify your life for YOUR needs to make life happier and easier for you.
Feel free to share any of your tips or tricks to keeping your sanity.
Find joy in all of your journey,
Leanne, Spoiled Milk