This is for you if you’re a new mum and struggling a little with the shift from going to having lots of independent and free time, to being very hands on with your new bundle. This is most definitely for you if you are struggling to achieve even small objectives like brushing teeth! This is also for you if like us, you don’t have any extra childcare or support nearby and you’re doing a tag team between the 2 of you!
**Caveat- I most certainly have days where either nothing or nothing substantial seems to get done, esp on no sleep or siginificant game changer days like ill health or either side, or baby teething. And that’s of course very ok! But here are some little tips to help you in the day to day to optimize the time you do have.
1. Firstly, be realistic on the time you have, with the limitations you have. Eg, if you don’t have the time or the hands free to complete an exercise class whether that’s home based or outdoors, do what you can with the baby! For example, when soothing my son to sleep, or cuddling him at various points throughout the day I have started to do squats and knee lifts whilst holding him. If he is in the right mood, I get down on the floor beside him and do planks. If I’m doing exercises in front of him, I try to make it fun, move my arms in a silly fashion, call out the number of squat I’m on in a sing song voice. You get the picture! And I recognise that if I just manage a minute, it’s a minute more than zero, and that’s something.
2. Start small: in the very early days, when Sonny was cluster and comfort feeding hourly, in pain with colic, and I wasn’t getting any sleep, I saw drinking water and eating something healthy as my major achievements. As we progressed, (even in such small steps), I literally added in a goal of drinking 3 pints of water by midday, as mentioned I do squats or some kind of exercise with every hold, and if I manage 5 minutes of daily journaling I am delighted. Whatever it is, even if it sounds ridiculously basic, start small and trust that in time this will keep evolving.
3. Celebrate accomplishments, however small and change your mindset from completing a “to-do list” to be a “I’ve accomplished” list instead 🙂
4. Expect the unexpected, in order to manage your expectations! E.g, be aware that the 45 minute you were hoping for may just be 30 minutes. Or that the baby sometimes may wake up at 5am instead of 7am as usual, and the plans you had made won’t happen as you had thought. Whatever it is, having a baby is a great life lesson in that you cannot control anything and to just “roll with it”!
5. Try and use a small chunk of your babys awake time for small tasks such as the washing up if you can. I wasn’t able to until recently (Sonny is approaching 18 weeks and I would say it’s only been the last couple of weeks I’ve been able to do just a small bit more of this- it will depend on your baby), eg, for us I know that most mornings on waking, Sonny is in a really happy, chatty, semi-independent mood and I don’t always need to be next to him. I like to be though- I do try and give him 1-2-1 time as it’s a precious moment on waking. However, I play things by ear, and take every day as it comes. If I am occasionally able to eat lunch or start to cook it whilst he is awake, (again, doesn’t happen very often!), then I’ll also do it! **NB: I don’t expect to achieve a lot in Sonny’s awake time!
6. Use an app to prompt you for when baby’s nap time is coming, to help you get organised. We use Huckleberry, which I think I’ve mentioned on the blog before. I find it really useful because it sends me a message in advance to let me know Sonny’s nap time is near. I can then start winding things down, get him ready, and be prepared to “go”. Every nap time requirements will be different for me, and will depend on what little bits I may have been able to achieve when he was awake.
7. If breastfeeding, and electric express pumping, check out the bras that enable you to put the pump in the bra and voila, enable you to have hands free! This can help you to multitask, eg catch up on emails or texts.
Quoted from the wonderful Martine Mcutcheon on instagram recently, “Whereever you are, be all there!” and above all GO EASY on yourself!!! Something is better than nothing and if that means on any set day “all” you did was survive the day for you and your child, you looked after your child the best you could and THAT is an achievement.
This blog was inspired by a mini productivity call I had recently with the super fab London based life coach Alice Dartnell. We discussed my daily realities, and what I can focus my small bits of time on. We discussed that something is of course better than nothing, and I was encouraged from our chat to think creatively about the ways in which I can show up on my Instagram and blog account (when discussing my blog goals specifically) in short, punchy ways, that don’t necessarily have to take a lot of time. For me, that might be more instagram posts over blogs as they take less time, becoming more creative with my instagram stories, considering doing little videos and using these on my blog instead of taking the time to complete article style posts. I’ve been following Alice for a while now as I really value her focus and approach on time management and productive. More than anything, my takeaway was to celebrate the positive. I have a gorgeous son and if I manage to get anything done at the moment whilst managing the full time job of raising him, that is such an achievement! Find Alice on Instagram at alice_dartnell, or over on her web at https://alicedartnell.com/
Did any of my tips help you, or what other ones are helping you at the moment with #newmumlifehacks?!