I’m sure all mothers have had that moment: when you had the best intentions to get absolutely everything checked off your perfectly reasonable list…but your baby said, “hahaha…I don’t think so!”
Today I wanted to share how I addressed this issue and found a compromise between productivity and fun time.
There must be a schedule!
One of the biggest lessons I learned from my sweet Heidi in those first few weeks was, that the next time around, I will be much more laid back during their first month outside the womb. In my opinion, those are the days of bonding with your new treasure – accepting assistance from your hubby/children/family, letting your body heal, and just not stressing out.
But eventually, normal life has to kick back in. After a month, your husband and home sorely need more attention. Although the newest addition will require more time for a bit, your relationship and time with any older children is just as important.
On top of that, it is very important to me that my children see examples of diligence, organization, cleanliness and taking care of our family and possessions in ME. If I spend all day with my children but they don’t learn a good work ethic or an appreciation for what God has given them, I don’t think I’ve used my time wisely.
The solution – Planning
Now I ask you to remember that I am a young mom, and I am sure that once my children are school-age I will be revising this plan again. I’m sure every season will come with learning hurdles and schedule revisions…but that is what makes it so exciting! 🙂
Needless to say, I no longer “book” every moment, because there isn’t a moment in my day that is predictable. But the basics of how I stay productive is a two step process, the planning and then the educating.
In the planning step I simply take all the daily/weekly/deep cleaning tasks that I talk about in this post. If there is anything else that needs to be done on a daily/weekly basis, I add that too. I mentally separate this list by what can be done when my sweeties are awake versus while they are asleep.
The solution – Educating
The next step is the educating/training that I believe would be important if I was trying to complete my list or not.
I believe as invaluable as it is to communicate with your child/children all day, it is equally important that they learn to entertain themselves and are able to move around at will.
Now, I’m not saying let your child do whatever, whenever and wherever they want, but God has created their minds and bodies to explore themselves and their surroundings. By doing this they gain the necessary muscle and knowledge to progress in their abilities.
From the beginning, I started giving Heidi ample opportunities to lay on a blanket next to me and teach herself to learn. By teaching herself to learn, I mean that I would intentionally not interact with her (while always keeping a watchful eye), and let her find ways to soothe/amuse herself.
I usually did 15 minutes on/15 minutes being held in the beginning and progressed from there.
It was tough at first (especially when she was fussy, and all I wanted to do was grab and console her), but the outcome was well worth it. Since she learned how to amuse herself so early, I am now able to interact with her more when I am doing some cleaning/cooking, and don’t have to worry about her getting too focused on me to the point where I can’t finish my job.
Nowadays, I would say about 15-20 minutes of Heidi’s 2.5 hour awake times are spent in my arms. The rest of the time she is exploring…the ENTIRE house!
Being productive during her awake times before she was mobile meant laying her on the ground in the room I’m working in and alternating between working and holding her until the room was done.
Now I lay her on the floor with some toys and she plays and explores. After 15-ish minutes she will start to head out of the room. Then, together, we excitedly crawl to the room of her choosing and start the process over again.
At the end of a 2.5 hour awake time I’ve been able to do quite a bit of work and we have seen the entire house in detail!
The last important note here is one other training tool that makes this possible. I have effectively been able to teach Heidi the word “no”. I can say it from across the room when I see her going for something, and she will stop what she is doing and find something else. If I was not able to do that, it would be much more difficult to be productive.
If you need to stay in a particular room a bit longer, you could put up a gate. In a couple months, I will be training Heidi to stay in the room when I tell her to.
As a new mother, it was hard for me to begin training Heidi to entertain herself. I felt like I was shirking my duties and being neglectful. But I have found the very opposite to be true.
If you want to be productive during your day after having a baby, training like this is invaluable! But you are truly killing two birds with one stone. When I made this transition I saw Heidi begin to reach out, explore and advance much quicker then she had before.
So truly, this has been the answer in keeping both of us productive. And it has reassured me that I will indeed be able to sufficiently take care of my entire family, no matter how many bundles of joy we are blessed with!
Give me your thoughts? What does your schedule tend to look like? How do you manage to stay productive with a little one(s)?