New Mom = New Routines
The moment I became a mom is one I will never forget. It was something I dreamed about for a long time, but it was surreal once I held Jemma against my chest for the first time. Fast forward a few days to the night we made our journey home for the first time as a family of 3 🙂 Bringing our daughter home was both exciting and overwhelming. After being in the hospital where there were nurses available to offer assistance around the clock, my husband and I were now on our own.
My husband and I like our routines. Once Jemma joined our family, our pre-baby routines changed drastically. It took some time for us to figure out this new lifestyle. The first few months were filled with a lot of trial and error…..dinner in shifts, figuring out new sleeping patterns, and learning how to calm a fussy baby. Some days were definitely easier than others. Some moments were definitely easier than others. However, I learned pretty quickly that I must take each day one at a time, each week one at a time. What worked one day would change the next! I just kept telling myself things would get “easier” and we would have some sort of routine/schedule.
I learned pretty quickly that my time is extremely valuable. I learned to be smarter about how I use my time. Multitasking has definitely become my friend! If one of my goals for the day is to go for a walk, I plan that walk during one of my daughter’s daily naps 🙂
As a stay at home mom, I was naive to think I’d have all this time during the day to accomplish chores, tasks and projects around the house PLUS work out. It is much harder to put into action than I thought. I needed a routine and schedule to follow to keep myself on track each day.
Write It Down & Plan It Out
I started writing down the tasks I want to accomplish each day before going to bed that night. This helped clear my mind and gives me a purpose for the next day. I try to focus on 3-4 tasks because I know this is manageable for me. I have a notebook that I use to record tasks/projects/ideas as I think of them. Mommy-brain will cause me to forget things if I don’t write them down! Each night I look at this notebook and decide which tasks/projects/ideas to focus on the next day. I use Sundays to plan out my week and decide on my goals. I ask myself, “What are the things that MUST get done this week?” I’ve become better at prioritizing my tasks….this was not always the case pre-baby!
Pockets of Time
How do I accomplish these tasks you wonder? Well, I’ve learned to look for “Pockets of Time” or as I like to call them POTS. These POTS range anywhere from 10-20 minutes. I focus on a daily task. Sometimes I even set a timer on my phone for 15 minutes! Setting the timer definitely keeps me on task and prevents me from getting distracted and endlessly scrolling through Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. I love social media for its ability to connect and share with others, but sometimes it does more harm than good! It’s amazing what you can accomplish in 15 minutes when you are trying to “beat the clock”.
Naptime = Worktime for Mommy
I learned to make the most of naptime. Most days Jemma takes an afternoon nap of 3-4 hours. She also takes two short naps, one in the morning and one in the late afternoon/evening. These are the perfect opportunities to tackle my to-do list, complete a workout and do some cleaning/chores around the house. When I think through my day, I decide which tasks will be completed during which naptime. I usually commit her morning nap to cleaning some things up around the house….putting dishes away, washing dishes, throwing in a load of laundry, putting laundry away, etc. When she goes down for her longer nap, I will do a daily workout and work on things that take more time. This is the perfect time to work on my blog! During the first few months, I would plan to run my errands around 11 or 12 because I knew Jemma would fall asleep in the car and stay asleep for 2-3 hours before waking up to be changed/fed.
Share the Tasks
I learned to delegate. I am the type of person who likes to be in control of everything and do everything myself because I have a specific way of doing it. I want to be the one to do the laundry, wash the dishes, and clean the floors. My husband, on the other hand, is constantly telling me to delegate tasks to him. So, I’ve started asking him to run an errand on his way home from work or fold the laundry after it comes out of the dryer. While he is running that errand or folding that laundry, I am able to use my time for something else. This can be something I enjoy doing or something else that has to get done. I can be making dinner, giving Jemma a bath, feeding Jemma, working on a blog post, doing a workout, etc. My husband is a huge help when it comes to taking care of the cat. He is the one who cleans out the litter box each day. On the days I feel overwhelmed, my husband reminds me of the importance of delegating….things may not get done the way I like to do them or would do them, but they get done. It can get crossed off the To-Do List!
Make the Most of Every Moment
Being a first time mom is a challenging task, but I wouldn’t change it for the world! The past 4 months were a learning experience and I’m still learning how to balance being a mom, a wife, and a homemaker. I’m not perfect and there are many days where the only thing I accomplish is folding laundry or emptying the dishwasher. There’s no point in feeling guilty on days like this. In the grand scheme of things, I won’t remember the days I didn’t vacuum the house or dust the furniture. I will remember the days I watch Jemma excitedly play on her activity mat. I will remember the days I listen to Jemma laugh and squeal with joy. I will remember the days I watch her roll over and play with her favorite toys. I will remember the days of watching her sleep peacefully in the stroller while I take a walk. I recently came across this quote, which I thought was perfect: “Time flies, Memories last forever”. All in all, the routines/schedule will come with time and what works for me may not work for you, but I hope I’ve inspired you in some way!
What strategies work for you when it comes to creating a schedule for your day? How do you accomplish those tasks on your ever growing To-Do List? I’d love to hear what works for you!