Time Management After Baby Question

I'm going to work on answering the questions I received on that survey I put up a couple weeks ago - here is the first installment! I'm going to leave the survey up at least through the end of the week, so if you have any questions for me you can submit them here (and you can be totally anonymous if you want to).

On to the first question, which ended up being a post in itself!

What is time management like with a baby? One of my biggest fears in having a baby someday is that I won't be able to keep up with everything! Any tips or advice about that?

To be honest, in some areas I’m still trying to figure out the answer to this question! But I think figuring out time management with a baby is just like figuring out time management with any life change – when I think back to the days in school with all the assignments and studying, I wonder how I managed that! Somehow you make it all work.

As far as practical tips, I think the Lord knew that parents needed time to do things when their babies are little and helpless, because babies sleep a lot in the beginning. By the time they start to sleep less they are better at entertaining themselves, so it all seems to work out.

A lot of things get done during naptime right now – anything that I can’t do very well when Wyatt is awake I save until naptime, and I work in the rest during the day around playing with Wyatt. I really try not to blog or do stuff on the computer while Wyatt is awake or when Derek is home (still working on getting better at this), so a lot of times I do that sort of thing during naptime, or I vacuum, or take a shower.

Making dinner, or cleaning and all that I can do when Wyatt is awake, while he practices his crawling, or plays in his activity center, or whatever. I try to make sure I spend a decent amount of time down on the floor playing with him. Then there are his feedings, but I do that between everything else, and everything somehow gets done. In the evenings after Wyatt goes to bed (we put him to bed around 7:00), Derek and I get our husband/wife time in together.

I will say that things are more challenging on the days that I work – I leave in the morning before Wyatt wakes up, so when I get home in the evening I hang out with Wyatt as much as possible in the short time I have before his bedtime. Then Derek and I spend time together – I try to get all my cleaning and stuff done on my days off, and usually I don’t do much blogging on the days that I work because I make up for it the rest of the week. I’m blessed that I get more days off than a lot of women do – I think it would be harder to do everything without those extra days, but I’d probably just adjust things again and figure it out.

I suspect this is all going to change again as Wyatt gets more and more mobile.

It seems complicated when you first think about it, but it’s really not! Like I said, it’s like any other life change, really. The schedule adjusts a bit, but I’ve found that I’ve just become a bit more efficient with my time, and everything still ends up getting done. I’m sure you’ll find that everything works out when you have a baby as well! Many, many women find a way to make it all work, and I know you will too. The adjustments came pretty naturally for me – you might not even have to think about it too much.

So, I guess if I had to sum it up, my practical tips would be (1) approach naptime with a strategy and use it for things that are harder to do when baby is awake, (2) remember that you can let your baby play alone while you work if needed - alot of times they are just happy to have you nearby, and (3) don't worry too much, because it all seems to work out!

If you have any specific questions about how I work in certain tasks, let me know, but hopefully this answered your question!

I’d actually like to open this question up to other moms too – do you have any specific tips on time management after baby, or did it come fairly naturally for you too?

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Kate Craig said...

do you use a sling or carrier much while you're doing stuff around the house? I know a lot of people find that really helpful

Jenene said...

I do my computer stuff while I'm nursing (the laptop is on the couch beside me). I take a shower while she naps. Now that I've figured out how to make meals, I make them big enough so that we have leftovers, so that I'm not cooking dinner every day.

However, when your baby is brand new, use their naptime to get some rest yourself. I believe that babies sleep so much at first to let the mom recover from giving birth. There's a reason everyone says "sleep when the baby sleeps." You need to take care of you before you take care of the chores.

Finally, please pray and ask God to help you let it go, because I don't think it's possible to "get it all done" once you have a baby, and that's okay!

As a woman who enjoys cleaning and loves having an immaculate home, it has been a struggle for me to accept that my house will never be perfectly clean. But if I stress over trying to accomplish everything, I'm going to miss out on the joys of being a mother to my sweet baby.

Melanie said...

Good and helpful post! Its definately a work in progress in our house w/a 5 month old...but things do seem to get done..you just have to do what works for you and your baby!!

Katie said...

I was a disaster area the first few weeks after giving birth because I thought I should be able to acheive everything right away. Not possible. Eventually you get used to how things work and everything falls into a workable routine. Most importantly, dont freak out if it feels like your house is a disaster at the beginning and you eat a lot of Taco Bell...you will get to a new normal where you get things done sooner than you think! (my mom told me that repeatedly and it helped so much!)

Jessica said...

Thanks for answering my question! It sounds like as long as I'm proactive about my time (when I have a baby someday), it won't be as impossible or scary as I had always thought! haha

Natalie said...

I agree that it just seems to work out-you just find what works for you and your baby. Since mine is still nursing quite frequently (every 2-3 hours during the day) I try to only be on the computer during that time and catch up on reading blogs then (which is why I'm so horrible at commenting these days-it's harder one handed!) that way I can spend QUALITY time with her when she's awake. Since Callyn does not entertain herself as much yet, I am not usually able to do other things while she's awake, UNLESS I have her in a carrier (really helpful when cooking dinner!) or in the swing which she loves! Most mornings she goes in the swing so I can eat breakfast, etc. and ends up falling asleep for her first morning nap in there. Then during times when she's napping in her crib, I catch up on things like paying bills, laundry, cleaning, etc. No, not everything gets done all the time, but I think as a new mom you have to give yourself some grace and realize that your baby is more important than your housekeeping for awhile! That's how it works in our house...for now! I know it will probably change monthly :)

Krystle said...

I usually say, the things that can be done when your baby is awake...do them.
Save the stuff you cannot do while they are awake for the nap times (devotions, showering if you small babies, a nap, blog etc)
If you can do laundry, and dishes while they are awake...do it. Have the ones who can walk help. Just little tasks make them feel involved and it doesn't take much to distract.

When they are little, don't stress about keeping up with things. Let stuff go. Spend those moments with them that you will never ever get back.

Hopefully your spouse will help you around the house, and approach it as a team effort.

Once they are about 5-7 months old you can start getting into a familiar routine, make one that works for the whole house. And stick to it. Kids thrive off of routine and knowing what is next. If you are not like this typically, it may be hard for you to adjust..but it is worth it.

Schedule things out, certain days for certain things (laundry, floors, etc) and then make a mini-list for each day. Like we have two laundry days (one for clothes only, the other for bedding/towels and clothes) and then each day before nap and before bed we tidy up.

Just a few thoughts :)

Unknown said...

I think that it all is such a slow and natural process that you just kind of get use to it! Great post!

LeAnna said...

Definitely somethin that just flows and developes it's own pattern. I totally agree that naptime should be spent doing things you can't do while baby is awake. I rarely ever do chores during nap time. It's my only "me" time, and I take full advantage of it. If I want to blog, sew, go outside and take pictures of the trees or just sit and stare at the wall, I do it during nap time! The older your kids get the more that time is cut out, so I figure I might as well enjoy it.

Really good advice about working with baby nearby. Baby doesn't have to be entertained 24 hours a day. They can play in a playpen, lay on the floor, swing in their swing, etc within view and learn to be content.

Heather @ Simple Wives said...

I need these tips for when our turn comes!! :) I'll have to stalk your older posts then, ha!

Julie S. said...

Great post! I tend to be the same- I try to avoid the computer when the kids are up and spend that time focusing on them. I have only had them both napping at the same time 3 or 4 times so far, so my blogging/commenting has been in the tank! BUT it's not the end of the world. Cooking dinner is something I have failed at lately, because Kenley likes to cluster feed starting around 5-6pm, so it's tough for me to make an entire meal. In time!

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