A few readers asked me how I do everything – raise a baby, workout,cook, clean, etc.) I will try my best to help. It’s cliche to say, but every person is different. My way of doing things will probably work for some, and not for others. I have one baby and stay at home full time. I’m sure that moms with more children have a heavier load. My routine will not work for them, or who knows, it might. If you are a working mom, all of this may not be helpful, but some of it might, since the majority of the weekday is spent at work. But, this can be applied to weekends and evenings. Just take the meat and leave the bones.
If it works, great (and let me know)! And if not, don’t get discouraged, try something different. So, here’s what I do.
1. I wake up with a vision every day of what I want done and I really just write it all down on a white board. Yes, it sounds silly, but I do that! I write things that I will likely forget because I get distracted. For example, things I write down are water plants, or call doctor. This sounds weird, you may think, but it’s the little things that escape you and will ultimately drive you crazy.
Also make a different list with things for you. Like, workout 20 minutes or take a walk. You need to be in as good mental shape possible to rock this mom thing. Don’t get carried away with lists though. I don’t write down things that I am already wired to do, like making dinner or taking a shower. Don’t get too crazy. 🙂
2. I Figured out a routine based on baby’s sleep schedule. Every day is different, that we all know – but getting into a routine helps you be in control so you can run your household, and not let run you! I used to be a skeptic when it came to keeping a calendar and having structure. I thought this was for boring people. Keeping things in order doesn’t make you a slave to time as I used to believe, it actually sets you free. It puts you in control now.
The way I created a routine was through my daughter’s sleep. For about a week, I wrote down what time she woke up in the morning and went to bed, all her daytime naps, including how long they lasted and the time she woke up from these naps. Do this, and you got yourself a schedule and can produce a routine that will help keep you sane. I know this is not easy because today may be different than what tomorrow brings, but be persistent. Note: When your baby is around 6-8 months, her nap ritual will change. She will take less naps. Same thing after around the eight month and so on. Here is a helpful chart.
Thus, I do a lot when my daughter is asleep – dishes, laundry, workout, or catch a nap! Just don’t try to crunch up too much because you will burn out.
3. I workout when my baby is sleeping. To be efficient, don’t choose long workouts. I work out 20 minutes a day by doing Jilian Michael’s 30 day shred. With this exercise, I do cardio, strength and resistance in 20 minutes and I am burning double the calories. I write more about that here. I do them all the time, not just 30 days. I do basic workouts that don’t require a lot of time, equipment and are free.
4. I also cook when my baby is sleeping. I don’t cook every day (3-4 per week). When I do, I make something that doesn’t take up a lot of time but is still good. Or I prep food when baby is asleep and cook it when she is up. I leave her in her play pen while I cook or on the floor mat on her tummy.
5. I don’t multitask. Multitasking is tempting because of the illusion that you are being productive. Sometimes I have no choice and I have to juggle things. But, I try to be mindful. Multitasking doesn’t equal efficiency. This applies to cleaning, cooking, and everything else that goes with it. Multitasking worsens stress and makes you do crappy work. It doesn’t make you save time, it makes it more chaotic.
Multitasking, in Western society is seen as a skill, but that’s a myth. Really. Multitasking is just fast and cheap.A recent article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) by three Stanford University researchers offers perhaps the most surprising result: those who consider themselves to be great multitaskers are in fact the worst multitaskers.
There is a chance to do the rest tomorrow. So muster the nerve to do one thing at a time. You are prone to less mistakes and have less stress.
I learned my lesson the hard way about being more mindful when I was in college. I was taking on too many things and I burned out, not once, but a lot of times. I used to get hyperventilated from all the worries about internships, papers and other activities I did not want to say “no” to. I was trying to do it all. That’s why I more mindful, and began to read about its benefits.
There is no way you can be good at everything, all at the same time, and if someone has said the opposite to you, they are taking advantage of you.
It doesn’t matter if you are a working mom, stay -at-home mom, single working mom, or a mix of all. You are doing something beautiful and complicated and and terrifying and painful and awesome and essential to society. And you don’t need to burn out to prove it.
What you do is enough.