Since Liam was born nearly 4 months ago, I feel like we've been going non-stop! When he was 8 days, my mom came to visit. 2 weeks later, Keith's parents came...2 weeks later we went home for Christmas...between all that and a few ER visits, it seemed like there was always something throwing off any type of normal routine.
We've finally had a month to get our schedule in order, so I wanted to share it along with some tips that help me manage my time while taking care of a baby!
This is an outline--it would be our 'ideal' day. Some days things do not happen at the times shown. We all know that when there is a baby in the house, things don't always go as planned! I am a very flexible person. If something doesn't happen at the time I wanted it to, I just let it go.
If you aren't really a 'scheduled' person...I'm not either you guys! But I have learned that babies do better when they have some type of structure in their day--when they know what to expect. It doesn't have to be a rigid, set-in-stone, printed out on the fridge type of structure, but I really think it helps both baby and mama to at least have an outline!
(Sidenote, I am a SAHM. Obvi this will be different if you go to work. :)
Between 8-9 a.m.
Liam usually does sleep this late--which is great for me! If I'm not super tired, I'll get up before him and have my own quiet time in the morning. It's nice to be able to have a cup of coffee in silence and just do my own thing for awhile!
[If Liam wakes up earlier/later than this, then obviously I just adjust our whole day by that long]
Eat (him, not me)
He will typically eat for 30-45 minutes. If I'm still in bed when he wakes (very highly depends on the type of night he had!) then I'll pull him into bed with me (He still sleeps in his Rock & Play next to the bed...HOPING to switch to crib soon!!) If I'm already up, I'll usually bring him downstairs, change him, then feed him.
'Playtime' normally consists of several things. I'll start him either in his pack & play that's in the living room, or on a pallet on the floor. I'll leave some toys near him and let him play by himself quietly for awhile. If he's in the pack & play, I've noticed that he'll play quietly for longer if I open the blinds. He loves to look out the window.
When he starts to get fussy--anywhere between 15-30 minutes, we'll switch to something else. I have a bouncy chair he sits in sometimes, he's got a little jumper, or I'll put him in his bumbo with toys on the tray. I'll 'play' with him at this point--shake some toys, talk to him, make funny noises. Then let him play by himself for awhile longer.
During playtime while he's playing quietly, I get stuff done! Usually work on Etsy orders, reply to emails, blog, etc. Maybe even make myself breakfast! (Yes...Even Mommy gets to eat! Sometimes.)
I get him dressed and throw on something decent for myself. (I usually haven't showered yet at this point. I may or may not have brushed my teeth, and may or may not be praying that I don't run into anyone on our walk). Sometimes I bring a quick breakfast on our walk if I haven't had time to eat yet. We usually just do a quick walk around the neighborhood, and if I'm lucky, he falls asleep, which brings us to:
If he falls asleep in his stroller, I try to take him out and place him somewhere else to sleep. If he hasn't fallen asleep, I take him upstairs & rock him for a few minutes, then place him in his crib, asleep or not. During his morning nap, I take my shower & get dressed, clean my room, make my bed, and start on any chores for the day. I also make sure I have something defrosting for dinner at this point, or start it if it's a crock-pot meal.
If Liam doesn't nap-
Which happens. Oh yes. The boy doesn't always love sleep.
Then I bring him into my room while I shower and set him in front of a mirror. That'll at least keep him entertained long enough for me to get dressed. If I'm really lucky, he'll stay occupied long enough for me to do quick makeup. If he isn't napping, I normally have to wait until after he eats to clean my room & do any chores.
It is worth noting that Liam is on a pretty consistent eating schedule. He eats about every three hours. While he is eating, I am normally doing something else. (he's still breastfed, so I grab the boppy and prop him so I can nurse hands free). I make sure my laptop is close, and I'm able to work on Etsy orders, blog, upload photos, etc.
Playtime + Mama eats lunch
Typically some more time in the jumper for him, maybe a book or some flash cards, really whatever he seems content doing. If he'll play alone for awhile, then I'll do some more house cleaning and eat some lunch. We will usually spend about 20-30 minutes outside during this time. We have a nice tree in our yard, and he he's very content just to lie outside and look around.
Liam loves, LOVES being outside. The sights and sounds mesmerize him! If you live somewhere too cold to take your baby out in the winter, try opening the blinds and propping him at the window to look out.
If I have any small errands to run, this is when I usually leave to do them. Liam will typically fall asleep in the car. (I will mostly only run small errands/things that are close. Anything that will take a while, I try to wait til Keith is home or save it for the weekend). If I don't run errands, I use this time to clean/get other things on my to-do list done while Liam is napping. IF Liam naps. Again...doesn't always happen.
Liam is usually ready to eat again when he wakes up from his nap.
Keith is usually home by now, so I hand the reigns to him and head to the gym. Thankfully, he normally gets off early enough for me to do this.
If he isn't home, (recent overtime has kept him at the office til 6) then I will try to do some sort of workout at the house. Liam and I might go outside again, go for a walk, play, etc. If Keith is home, he usually takes Liam on a second walk alone.
Get Dinner Ready
I typically have something in mind/ingredients out for dinner. It doesn't always take an hour to prepare dinner, but Liam doesn't always let me cook the whole time. Keith is usually on a run at this point.
I don't know how this always manages to happen, but it seems like so often dinner is done at the same time Liam is hungry. So I usually do both, I get my plate ready, get the boppy, and Liam eats while I'm eating. Sometimes, though, Liam eats first and we don't eat til 7 ish.
Hang out, play, fuss, etc.
Liam is a fussy baby in the evenings. He usually wants to nurse some more, or be held, played with, etc., so we do whatever he seems tolerant of.
Keith and I have a great nighttime routine. Every night we switch dishes & bathtime. I love it b/c, well, who loves to clean the kitchen?? Not me, and doing it every other night is much better than doing it every night!
Now I say 'bedtime' very lightly...haha. It seems like lately, Liam isn't wanting to be asleep by 9. I nurse him to sleep every night, but he's been really distracted and not wanting to eat recently. He'll just lay there and stare at the lights, anything moving, the ceiling, etc. So, while I always hope that he's asleep by 9...doesn't always happen.
It helps if you have a specific bedtime routine every night! Something that signals sleep to your baby so they get the idea. Liam has his bath, gets Johnson's Bedtime lotion, PJ's, and then nurses. I have the lights dim and always nurse him where it's quiet.
I know, I know, I should probably go to bed when he goes to bed but let's get real people, who does that? Mama needs wine time! I normally lay in bed with my iPad and watch Netflix or Hulu, have a glass of wine, just relax and have some 'me' time!
Some other tips for managing time during the day:
*Don't turn on your TV!
If I want to get anything done, I try not to turn on the TV all day. It's so easy to get sucked into a Judge Judy case, and then another one, and then I've wasted an hour with nothing to show for it! One exception to this--I always watch TV while I'm folding my laundry. Makes it less of a mundane task.
*If your baby is playing contentedly by himself, use that time to get something on your 'to-do' list done.
*Speaking of to-do lists...have one!
I have a 'running' to-do list on my phone constantly. It has things that need to get done, like, now, and things that need to get done 'sometime this month'. Seriously, write things down--even small things! Here's an example of things on my list right now:
Get Dog Food
Several Blog Posts that I want to do
Clean Liam's Room
Bake V-Day Cookies
When Liam does take that unexpected long nap, I don't have to sit and think...'hmmm, what needs to get done?' I can see exactly what needs to get done!
I know...you're thinking, 'who does crazy crap like that?' Well.. I do! And it helps me SO MUCH to know what chore I need to tackle that day.
Here's my 'chart' (Literally, I just wrote this down on a little sticky note and it's on my fridge)
Monday & Friday-Laundry Days
Monday: Vacuum & Dust
Wednesday: Sweep & Mop
Thursday: Deep Clean/Organize something that needs it.
Ok. Who gets overwhelmed with laundry sometimes? Like, you look around and think, 'Oh Crap, I haven't done laundry in two weeks' or...'Oh Crap, I have 6 clean loads that I need to fold and put away'....So I decided the best solution was to have a laundry day, or in this case, 'days'. Since I do two days a week, I only have 2-3 loads to do each day. I try not to have any major errands to run outside the house that day so that I have ample to time to wash, dry, fold, and put away each load.
Obviously there are times where I'll need to throw in a barfy load on a Tuesday, or Liam peed on our sheets and it can't wait, but I try to stick to my laundry days as much as possible.
As a new mom, sometimes it's really easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of things that need done in a day! Diaper change, feed the baby, play with the baby, get food for yourself...and then, 'Oh, wow, my floor hasn't been mopped in two months!!'
Soon after I had Liam, I decided that I needed a plan. Just one chore a day, and the rest can wait! It breaks things up and makes it so that you don't have an entire house to clean in one day. If it gets done every week (which, again let's be real, sometimes it doesn't, but I try hard to make sure it does!) then I feel way less overwhelmed. If I see that my bathrooms are filthy, I just tell myself, Tuesday! I'll clean them Tuesday.
Have 'you' time!
It's so important to have time to yourself! I realize that not everyone has 'help', or may have a job of your own to go to, but try to have at least a little time in your day where you can relax and refresh. If that means the dishes wait til tomorrow, let them wait.