Monday, September 22, 2014

Time Management for New Moms


I've read a lot on time management. New strategies for making the most of my days energize me- I love to plan, love to make lists and charts and goals. The follow through is a lot harder. Especially since having babies. Can I get an amen?!

The thing about kids is that no plan or schedule or to do list is a guarantee. Little kids, and babies especially, are unpredictable. Life with littles can therefore often feel unplannable.

Yes. Yes and no. While you won't be able to get everything done as smoothly as you did before baby, there are many ways to adjust and make the most of this unpredictable season. Planning is key to accomplishing anything, and you do have to accomplish a few things as a mom, uncooperative baby or no.

The solution? A very, very flexible plan.

Consider the tasks on your To Do List, and plan to do them at the optimal time.

The optimal time for baby may not  be your optimal time. Maybe you'd rather make dinner at 5 o'clock, but baby is irritable and needy at that hour. Dinner can be prepared more efficiently and without stress when baby is playing happily on her play mat two hours earlier.

When my babies are little, I find it helpful to list my tasks and then plan when I will do them. Not according to a specific time, but a specific circumstance. These are the categories I organize my tasks by: happy baby, cranky baby, nursing baby, sleeping baby. They might be different categories for you, so adjust as it applies.

When my baby is happy, I know that it is a good time to tackle a more challenging task {read: not compatible with bouncing a baby or repeatedly stopping to give them their pacifier}, like making dinner or cleaning a bathroom. I'll keep that baby in the bouncy seat or pack 'n play right beside me and plug away.

When my baby is cranky I might throw them in the wrap and vacuum or do dishes. They can snuggle close and be soothed by the steady hum of my work. Often I'll choose to exercise when my baby is fussy. A walk outside in the stroller usually calms them right down. Or I'll talk and make faces at them while doing a yoga video.

If it's nap time, you will find me at the computer or with my nose in a book. Paying bills, sending emails, and catching up on the news are all easier without a kiddo around.

Nursing time is when I usually read my Bible, talk on the phone, read to my toddler, etc.

So write out your To Do List, and make a note next to each item when it will be easiest to get done. This way, no matter what the day throws at you, you will have some semblance of a plan. If your baby is in a rare great mood, you can get right to work instead of dawdling around checking your email or deciding what to do for the first 15-20 minutes {or more. ehem.}. If your baby is miserable and just wants to be held, you don't have to be as frustrated at your lack of productivity. You know its a good time to vacuum {or whatever}, and you feel encouraged that you got the harder tasks out of the way when she was happier.

I know that there will be days when you are so sleep deprived and your newborn is so all-consuming that you get nothing accomplished. That's pretty much a guarantee with a new baby. Don't be discouraged- just know that easier days are coming. Eventually. Every kid {and every mom!} is different. Colic and reflux and highly sensitive babies are going to defy the norm and make life extra challenging for awhile. Be patient and take heart, it doesn't last forever. Just do the best you can with what you have been given. There is grace for you, new mom!

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