Trying to be productive with a baby or toddler in tow can be challenging to say the least. They are small consumers of time and energy. So any tips on how to get things done with a baby have always factors high on my radar.
I am a proactive and driven individually. Whilst the initial months taking a time out to enjoy the moment were great. I soon become frustrated with things backing up around me. Don’t get me wrong I wanted and still want to spend quality uninterrupted time with my family and make memories. However in order for me to do so. Stuff needs to get done. So I can focus my attention purely on them and not become distracted by the niggling feeling of things I must do.
Equally, I want to build a better future for them and for us. Part of that is being successful in my own right. This in itself takes time. So how to get things done with a baby becomes even important when you add this to the mix.
I am already a nerd when it comes to planning and organisation. Which I am sure you will see if you have read any of my recent posts on the subject. So I knew straight off the bat that I needed to take some time to get myself organised. Planning what I wanted to do. If I was to be successful in my missions of being a great and present mum whilst getting stuff done!
Get the timing right!
I quickly realised that timing was everything. When baby’s are in the newborn stage it is very easy to slot them into your day-to-day errand runs, meetings with friends or business associates and general lifestyle. However as they grow this becomes less and less the case. You will soon work out that your baby is cranky in the mornings because they woke early and will fall asleep the minute you leave the house. Or that this is their most energetic time of day where they will want to bounce and sing and play, leaving you no chance to focus on any other task.
The younger the baby the easier it is do stuff. For me the most difficult time at achieving anything was in the 12-16 months age bracket. My son was independent and roaming but not yet stable and confident enough for me to leave his side. He required 24 hour attention.
Take advantage of this and switch you schedule up to work around them. It shouldn’t take you to many trials and errors to find the sweet spot for when to focus on tasks that can be done in the house and when is a good time to get outside with them and run those errands. For me the sweet spot was before 10.30am and ensuring I was never out in the car after 5.30pm if I wanted baby to stay in their sleep routine
Make use of nap times
Another great time for getting stuff done is nap times. Depending on how light a sleeper your baby is, this could involve tasks at home or on the go. For me, it was the idea time to sit and focus quietly on writing without distraction. But it also worked wonderfully at the weekends if I wanted to pop to the shops and take a look with my mum.
Being prepared in advance is also a must. Take some time the night before to layout what it is you want to get done. If it’s doing to take you 20 minutes to get set up or dig out what it is you want to focus on. Then that’s valuable time you are losing and then in actually completing the task.
I sort washing whilst the baby is engrossed in something for 10 minutes, so that once in bed I can load the machine and program it to come on at night. That way in the morning when we get up it’s done and I don’t have to find the time in my day to do it. Same with dinners and lunches, if I can prepare or cook ahead of time I will.
Often when alone with the baby, I find that things don’t go to plan. They don’t go down for a nap or won’t be put down whilst you make lunch. So having a few items stashed in the freezer or on handed to be pulled out an eaten from the fridge can be a life saver.
I normally do this type of preparation perhaps once a month, when either my husband or family member is around to watch over baby. Make sure you take up any offers of help or babysitting when you get them as they really do help you to do those tasks you need to be baby free for.
Sometimes you have no choice. Things come up that are urgent, that need to get done and done now and when that is the case you just got recognise that fact and focus on what you need to get done. The baby will need to fall into your schedule. They may not like it, and it may be a stressful event, but if you can recognise these things happen from time to time it will make the handling of the situation a lot easier on you.
Establish a Routine
Building a routine, having a schedule and making plans are the three life savers for me. That has allowed me to have a relatively calm day-to-day life with the opportunity to do and experience new things
By establishing a routine both for the baby and myself, there are no unwanted surprises. We know what is going to happen when. It makes it so much easy to manage things that come up. Once I have the routine down. I then use this as the base for the schedule of events I want to focus on that day or week. Finally I make a plan on how I am going to do what I need to get done.
I found very quickly that on the days, I didn’t make a do list or plan what was happening. The entire morning from 6.30am to 1pm would pass me by. I would still be in my pajamas literally having achieved nothing other than chilling and hanging with baby. These types of days are great once in a while. I most definitely encourage them for your sanity. But too often without a plan on what to do each day. They can add up to too many in a row. Before you know it you haven’t left the house in weeks, can’t remember the last time you had a shower and basically do nothing.
Get on the go
I wasn’t able to carry my son much due to the injuries I sustained when having him and I am not sure still whether that was a good or bad thing. However I am grateful he wasn’t a baby that needed carrying constantly otherwise I would have been stuck. That’s one thing I am sure about.
This time round I do intend to carry the baby more often. Especially given I will have a toddler to manage as well. So having done some research on this. I am opting for a stretchie baby wrap and have decided upon a Hana wrap found on Amazon here (Affiliate link).
However not being able to carry my son freely presented me with other issues. In terms of moving about the house and completing tasks. I took time to set up him pram to be used in certain areas downstairs. Whilst his mose basket remained on our second floor in our bedroom. For other locations I set up playmats, blankets and a bouncer. So I always had somewhere to put him down safely and comfortably whilst I set about doing things in that place.
Make use of the monitor
Being able to take baby with you as you go. Gives you piece of mind as a mum that you have eyes on them. It also saves you some time as you are not constantly back and forth checking on them. However as they get a little older. Don’t be afraid to make sure of the baby monitor when you need to complete the odd task.
I did this when it came to hanging out washing. As our line was on the roof and not particularly at all for taking a baby with you. So I would pop him in the cot for 10 mins. Switch on the monitor and quickly peg out the washing. As he grew bigger I switched the cot out for a play pen and ensured he had toys he could safely play with whilst I set about it.
One Step at a time
If you have read all of this and feel a little overwhelmed still at just how to get back to doing things. Or feel like you will never be able to do all this. Don’t panic. Just start small. Aim to do just one thing and make sure it is the smallest of things. Build up gradually and don’t set your sights too high. At least to be begin with. Learning to be a mum and to do other things when you have kids, takes time. Take baby steps.
Finally if you have big tasks that seem overwhelming. Break it them down into small 10 minute steps you can do. Whenever you can grab 10 minutes tackle the next step. In no time at all you will have made progress and achieved the task. Doing it this way will leave you feeling accomplished not defeated.
Your turn. What tricks have you learnt on how to get things done with a baby?