Over the past (almost!) 7 months since my daughter joined us, I’ve been learning how to use my time wisely. How to cherish the precious moments of silence and how to get things done when I need to!
This list is by no means complete, but here are 10 ways that I’ve learned to optimize my time since having a baby:
1. Routine – I don’t mean routine as in “up at 7, nap at exactly 8”, cause that’s virtually impossible for me! But I do mean learning to recognize the best times to get things done. For example, in my house if I want to get something done it happens first thing in the morning when my daughter is at her happiest.
2. Use your breastfeeding time wisely! You can read this post to learn about how to use your many, many breastfeeding hours wisely!
3. Learn what calms him/her – Even if it only works for short periods of time, its worth it to figure out those few things that will calm your baby down, just long enough that you can finish what you were doing. For example, when she was younger, a few minutes in the swing would calm Ellie instantly. Then, a few minutes in her bumbo chair would do the trick. Now, anything new for her to put in her mouth, lol. Find what works for your little one.
4. Set realistic goals – This was a big one for me. I had to learn to adjust my to-do lists. Now I’m only putting a couple things on the list, and I’m giving myself multiple days to get them done. The days of crossing 5 things off my list in the afternoon are looong gone.
5. Spend happy awake moments interacting with her. You don’t want to watch time slip away without soaking up loads of memories. I use to try and rush around a finish things once she was happy on the floor. And sure, it helped me be productive… but I missed so much! She is learning and growing EVERY DAY and I am her teacher! She needs one-on-one time interacting with her mom. Time on the floor together helping her learn to sit, watching mommy’s mouth as she makes new sounds, and learning to see the world in new ways. Don’t miss all the moments. Oh, and watch her during nap time every now and then too – it’s just precious :)
6. Take advantage of daddy when he’s home. I can’t stress this enough. If you have someone else around… let them feed the baby, bath the baby, or calm the baby every once in a while. I’ve been blessed with a very loving husband and father. Some times he needs to be asked or reminded that I need a break (don’t forget to ask mamas!), but he’s always there when I need him. And this helps with the next point…
7. Take time to find your own zen. Scrapbooking, praying, yoga, running, reading, devotionals, etc. Whatever it is that recharges you. Make time for it. You will be at your best as a mama if you can take those little breaks here and there to relax your own mind and soul.
8. Pump your milk (if you’re breastfeeding). There is no better way to escape the house at the last minute then to have milk ready and waiting in the fridge. Need to help a friend? Get invited to a party at the last minute? Have an emergency? Pumped milk is your lifesaver.
9. Make noise when baby is sleeping. Maybe this is an old wives tale, but I heard that if you always went about your daily routines while your baby slept that you could do ANYTHING while they slept. And I tried it. And it worked! I may have been blessed with an amazing baby that sleeps a lot, but the evidence speaks for itself. I can vacuum, play music, watch t.v., have friends and family laughing in the next room. My baby does not stir until she is good and ready. I LOVE that I don’t have to carefully tip-toe around while she sleeps!
10. Relax. There are no right or wrongs here. Every baby is different. Every parenting style is different. Every routine is different. Don’t beat yourself up if your to-do list goes unfinished or you feel like you’ve accomplished nothing all day. These tips will help you use your time wisely, but you have to take each day as it comes. Breath in, breath out, and enjoy your little one :)