Happy May Day! There is something about Spring that makes me want to clean, plant, and refresh. The warmer weather and budding life outside kicks me into motivation and gives me a little boost of energy. Iced coffee also helps.
I’ve been wanting to write this post for awhile now (basically, since last December) but alas, something about raising a new child keeps ya darn busy. But today is the day!
So here we are… I’m going to share with you a few tips & tricks that have helped me to stay on task since having a baby. People always told me, “Having a baby will change your life,” and I smiled sweetly and went on my merry little way. Then I actually had my baby and figured out what they were talking about. I no longer had 100 free hours to do things like get the laundry done, load the dishwasher, and shower. But these things still needed to happen, so I made a few changes. Here are my tips:
(BTW– pics are totally unrelated, but I can’t bring myself to share a blog post without images and since I didn’t have anything specific to what I’m talking about, you get to see some random shots of O!)
1. Make a Schedule
As a free-spirited spontaneous creative person, YES, even I am saying it. MAKE A SCHEDULE. And not only make it, but stick to it. I have a tendency to create new systems that work for a day (or maybe even a week), but then once I slip off course, I become frustrated and toss it aside. It’s tempting to be all-or-nothing about things in life, but I’ve learned the benefit of getting back up, brushing myself off, and mounting the horse again. It’s not nearly as fun sometimes, but it makes you a heck of a lot more productive.
So, what does this look like?
For me, it meant assigning tasks to days of the week. This is by far the easiest and best thing I’ve done, and where I’ve seen the most improvement. Mondays and Thursdays are laundry day. Tuesdays and Fridays are exercise days. Wednesdays are my free day. I meal plan for two days a week (Monday and Wednesday nights) and we eat leftovers from that meal the following night. Weekends are for freezer meals, pizza, ordering out, or going out.
Honestly, I thought having a schedule would make me feel restricted, but it actually made me feel more free. How so? Because having a little structure and knowing what to expect takes the pressure off on the other days. For instance, I don’t have to stress about the laundry on Saturdays. I know it’s going to get done on Monday.
Before a kid, I had all the time in the world to commit to whatever projects were on my radar. But now, I have to figure out which ones are the most important and work on them accordingly. This causes me to pay attention to what is time sensitive and even what is necessary. I know that nap time and evenings (and often weekends) are my only chance to REALLY focus in and get things done, so often I reserve the projects that need my mental power for those times and work everything else in as I can while caring for Otto. And at times, this means working on saying “No.” I’ve never been good at it, but there are only so many hours in the day and my priority in life has shifted to caring for my baby. So I have to be realistic about what I can accomplish and let that be my guide.
3. Lists are your Friend
So as I found out, “Mommy Brain” is a thing. Between the potential for sleep deprivation, living the new normal, and trying to keep a small child alive, there is a lot to think about. So trivial matters and extraneous information is easily forgotten, and sometimes even the important stuff is. How do we deal?
List-making. I use the Notes app on my phone a lot, or I’ll send myself an e-mail. Whatever you choose, just make sure it’s something you’ll see often and is easy to access. (Otherwise, you might forget where you wrote it down 😉 )
We have a shared shopping list via our Google Home where we can verbally add items by speaking to it (genius!) Ryan and I can both use this and I can access the list via an app while I’m at the store, so that’s easy enough. I also try to make a list each week of the schedule for my T Photo Instagram account and potential blog posts. This keeps me accountable and on track, and also reminds me of what it is I want to post. I often have so many ideas but unless I write them down, I either forget about them or put it off! I also keep one-line notes on my phone of subjects I want to talk to people about or items I need to get done.
The other nice thing about making lists is that it gets it out of your brain and onto paper. There’s something therapeutic and immediately satisfying about making it tangible. As Moms, we have SO much on the brain as it is, so writing it down gives me permission to “forget” about it until I access the list again for reference, and it makes space in my mind for other, more important things.
Well, there you have it! Three little tidbits that have made my life a little easier. Hope it helps you, too!