If you are about to have a baby, you may worry about how you’re going to accomplish all that you are expected to accomplish now, but with a newborn! It is a common fear of new moms. Fear not! Women are inherent multi-taskers. We can not only perform several tasks at once, some of us make it look easy. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Set realistic expectations
Here’s what you need to know. In the first week you will be worthless at multi-tasking. You just gave birth. You are exhausted. In week one, here is what you need to worry about: eating, sleeping, nursing, holding your baby and drooling on yourself. Let family and neighbors do the cooking, cleaning and laundry. Don’t try to be a hero and think you can do it all. You’ll end up hurting yourself. Your baby needs you. Everything else can just wait for a bit.
Get a smartphone
When your baby gets a bit older, a smartphone will be an INVALUABLE tool. You can make an on-going grocery list as you think of things, you can schedule events and car-pools for older kids in a calendar, you can take oodles of pictures and videos, and you can get on the web and investigate your baby’s symptoms when she wakes up wailing at 3:00 a.m. with a rash and a fever.
Getting anything done with a baby is all about distracting the baby. Some moms do this with toys, books, TV shows, or other kids. We all do it. As long as you are not doing it from dawn until dusk, don’t feel guilty. A couple hours a day, divided up here and there, is okay.
Divide up naptime
At first, when your baby naps, you nap. That’s a direct order. Too many new moms put their baby down for a nap and then become multi-tasking tornados while their babies sleep. You’ll get a lot done. You’ll also be DEAD within a week. Newborns sleep A LOT, so you don’t have to nap EVERY time they do. You can get a couple little things done here and there. Once your baby is on a set napping schedule — perhaps one in the morning and one in the afternoon, use the a.m. nap time for getting chores done, then use the p.m. nap time for passing out.
Co-op with other moms
Once you have a routine established with your new baby (this usually starts to happen around 6-8 months), consider swapping babysitting with another mom in your neighborhood. This can be a very effective and affordable way for moms to get a little more done during the week.
Whatever tools you use to multi-task, remember to set realistic expectations and not be too hard on yourself. If the laundry takes a couple more days than you thought it would, so what? If the dishes in the dishwasher sit in there an extra day, big deal. It’ll get done, when it gets done. Remember the old saying: “Cleaning your house while your baby’s still growing is a little like shoveling snow while it’s still snowing.”