One thing that has definitely changed is your daily to-do list.
If you thought it was tough to stay on top of cleaning, paying bills, checking email, laundry, yard work, buying groceries and cooking before you had a baby, just wait til you’re home from the hospital! And the worst part is, it doesn’t really shrink back, even years later.
If you’re lucky, you’ve got some help from friends and relatives during that initial grace period where you’re figuring out feedings, sleep, and basic survival. But you’ll have to get back into the groove sooner or later.
Here are my tips for finding your groove, getting things done, and staying on top of your to-do list with a baby in the house.
- Find a routine that works for you. It might change monthly as your baby grows, but knowing what things to focus on in what order can help you get through days when you’re in a complete fog.
- Start things as far in advance as you can, so you can work on them bit by bit. (15 minutes here and there really adds up!)
- Set realistic expectations. If you hope to do your taxes during naptime, you’re going to be really frustrated when he or she wakes up early. You just never know when you’ll be in for a bad day – or night. So be prepared to cut yourself some slack if you don’t get to the things you planned. Learn to pare down your list.
- Use a calendar or whiteboard to write everything down. This helps keep you on track, because it’s going to be impossible to remember everything on your own. Keep your notebook and pen (or smartphone) nearby or in a spot where you can easily grab them.
- Be aware of where your time is actually going. If you had to get some work emails answered but you spent two hours on Facebook, just make sure you’re prepared to stay up a bit later or get it done first thing in the morning.
- However, you need that “do nothing” time for yourself, so don’t beat yourself up when you can’t spend every spare minute on your long list of tasks. But just make sure it’s not going to leave you feeling stressed because you didn’t get your intended work done.
Keep sight of the big picture. You’re trying to get all these things done because you care about your family, and you want to create a happy home, right?
When the frustration builds up, take a step back and see where you’ve come from, where you are, and where you want to go. Don’t fall into the unhappy mom trap. Life’s just too short.
That’s it for me. Any more pointers to add?