A new year calls for a new routine! And while this mama is reorganizing her life and her space, I thought I’d share some tips that have helped me out tremendously with the rest of my motherhood clan.
Staying on top of housework and meal planning is difficult enough with a small baby, but when you add searching for a house, managing a blog, and then somehow trying to make time for your significant other into the mix, life can get a bit complicated. So, here it is, a few tips to help us new mamas get organized in 2018!
(1) Make Sleep a Priority
I am more guilty of this one than anybody! So, this new year, I’ve made a conscious effort to sleep when baby sleeps.
Yes, it can be incredibly difficult to get a lot done when you take two to three naps a day however, as we’ve learned from our overnight sleeps, a well-rested mom is a patient mom! Teething, upset tummies, and separation anxiety can take a lot out of a new mom, so why not arm yourself with ample energy? I’ve made this change since January 1st, 2018, and am already reaping the rewards!
During the day, I try and take at least one or two naps with my sweetie and after we’ve both gone to bed for the evening, I like to sleep until she’s up for the day. When Marina goes to sleep for the night (normally around 7:30-9:30pm, although we still wake up a couple of times a night), I take advantage of the next two hours for what I like to call mommy time; i.e. catching up on laundry, reading a good book with a cup of tea, and/or brainstorming and writing up my next blog post. You may be more productive in the morning though, so do what best suits you! If you have more than one little person in your household, be sure to try and coordinate naps as well (although this is much easier said than done).
– Take a nap when baby sleeps
– Don’t wakeup for the day until baby has woken up
– Create a relaxing routine and environment before bed
(2) Start a Morning Routine
Have a cup of coffee and make a healthy breakfast for you and babe while you listen to some baby friendly tunes (after all, smoothies and purées go hand in hand)! Just one idea for a new morning routine. Starting your day should be nothing but pure bliss, so make time for you and your little one while getting off to a good start. As you’ve probably already noticed, babies are also big fans of routine, so you’ll be sure to benefit throughout the rest of your day too!
– Visualize your ideal morning and make the effort to bring it to reality
(3) Plan Around the Necessities
Whether using the notepad on your phone or keeping it old school with a pen and paper, write down your non-negotiables so you can organize your day accordingly. If you have a doctor’s appointment, pre-school drop off, or a meeting with your mortgage specialist, write it down! Seeing what you need to work around is the easiest way to figure out your best method of attack and, if you’re feeling ambitious, if you have time to add any extras!
– Open your notepad, virtual or literal, and jot down those appointments and obligations
(4) Invest in an Agenda
This is an absolute must for me! While I know plenty of people who swear by their phone and iCal, I still feel like there is nothing comparable to flipping through an agenda and filling in special dates, plans, and activities.
The absolute best agendas are those that include monthly and weekly overviews; my 2017 agenda had fun stickers for appointments, vacation time, and other events, in addition to a monthly workspace that featured an area for goal setting, special occasions, and to do’s. The weekly section of the agenda allowed me to be even more detailed in my goals though, a feature that will set you apart from merely noting ideas to turning them into a reality; if you can visualize it and have a clear path, there is no stopping you, mama!
– Set a budget and find a planner that fits your style and personality
– Flip through and start filling in special occasions, anniversaries, birthdays, and other events you are looking forward to before getting into the nitty gritty
(5) Make Time to Unwind
Whether its starting your blog, knitting, or spending quality time with your significant other, make the effort to enjoy some well-deserved mommy time. It might not happen every day of the week, but having something to look forward to at the end of a long day will uplift and motivate you to keep working as hard as you do!
As a sleep-deprived new mom, I used to try and get everything done during Marina’s naps and after she went to bed for the night. I spent zero time doing anything I love due to the pressure I placed on myself as well as a fear of judgment from others. My home was spotless some days but I was a miserable zombie!
Taking time for you will not only revitalize and recharge your sense of self, it will help increase your energy and confidence levels. So, go for it, mama, get back into sewing, start writing that novel, or plug in your Xbox One!
– Decide on something you love doing and make time to indulge when you can
– Don’t feel guilty making time for you!
(6) Make Time for Your Significant Other
Spending time with your partner can be such a challenge with a new baby! My husband works in the film industry and often does long hours, day and night, making it feel impossible for us to have any quality time together. There have been consecutive days where I actually haven’t even seen him! Throw a newborn into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a challenge!
Children, work, and other obligations can take a strain on your partnership from time to time, and as my mother puts it, we often go “in and out of our relationships”. However, in order to try and combat this phenomenon, make the conscious effort to put down the phone or tablet, drop the laundry basket, and give your partner some attention. Take a few minutes every day to remember why you fell in love with this person and focus on them alone. Your romantic life and appreciation of one another will thank you for it later.
– Think of three reasons why you appreciate / love / or admire your partner and tell them today
(7) Schedule One or Two Major Activities for Your Day
While not always possible, planning around one or two major tasks a day is an effective way to reduce mommy guilt while placing checkmarks on your to do list.
I’ve often made the mistake of trying to get too much done in one day and have finished it by beating myself up at the end when I have accomplished absolutely nothing! Sick kids and fussy babies will throw you a curve ball from time to time and having the option to move one or two non-necessities is far easier than a dozen. Doing a return at a department store, installing a second shelf in your hallway closet, and grocery shopping for this week’s meals can wait if you haven’t saved them for the last moment.
– Write down one or two daily tasks for each day of the week
– Group together related to do’s (i.e. do that return the same day you are out grocery shopping to save time and effort)
(8) Include Your Kids in Daily Tasks
Put your sweetie in her highchair and fold laundry at the kitchen table while you two babble together. Baby wear (when its safe to do so! I would never recommend doing this while cooking, for instance!) while you do an inventory of your fridge. The options for including your littles in day to day responsibilities are endless! If they are old enough, tell your children what you’re up to and let them give you advice on how best to accomplish the task at hand… their opinion may surprise you!
Even more fun (and something my mom used to do when we were kids) is to turn household work into a game (specifically, for older children)! Create a score card with different chores and assign point values based on the difficulty of the task. Be sure to include some activities your kids will enjoy though; for example: unload the dishwasher (3 points), read a book for 30 minutes (1 point), vacuum the hallway (2 points). You could even reward your babes with a small prize at the end of the month (just like my mom did… thanks, mom!!)
– Think of creative ways you can get your littles involved in work around home
(9) Say “Yes” Only When You Mean It
While family will try and guilt you into coming to visit over a busy weekend and work may beg you to come in and cover someone’s shift, you will always know in your heart whether or not you truly want to do something. As uncomfortable as it may be, listen to your inner mom boss and say “no” if it doesn’t feel right. You will save your time, learn to prioritize, and feel empowered when you do!
– Plan for the week and month ahead and don’t look back
– If it doesn’t work with your schedule, and you have no desire to fit it in, say “no”!