It’s amazing how such a teeny human being can demand such a large amount of your time and attention. On some days, even personal hygiene will be sacrificed to care for your new little one (or to squeeze in a nap). Here are some great time saving tips for new moms.
1. Cut life down to the bare bones. Throw out all houseplants. Tell everyone no, for everything, until baby is in a routine. This is your motto: I am caring for a helpless human this month, and I cannot pick up/sweep up/volunteer/take Johnny to soccer.
2. Use paper plates for at least a week after the baby is born (shhh…we won’t tell anyone.)
3. No time for a shower? Take it in the evening when your spouse can watch the baby. Re-wet your hair in the morning with a spray bottle or stick your head in the sink. Invest in some dry shampoo for styling oily, unkempt hair.
4. Set up more than one diaper changing station. Put one upstairs and downstairs, or in your bedroom. An absorbent lap pad on the carpet works, too.
5. Feeling lonely? Organize a playgroup, to connect with other moms! Send out a sign up with available dates and rotate hosting duties. SAMPLE
6. Your laundry will seem to multiply overnight. Buy “Free and Clear” laundry detergent and wash your clothes in the same load as baby’s clothes to save time.
7. People want to help? Give friends or family specific tasks such as folding laundry or going to the grocery store.
8. Everybody wants to come see the baby, but “drop in’s” are not ideal. Organize a Sip-n-See party! Send out a SignUpGenius invite with a spot for everyone to bring a potluck item. HINT: A family member or friend might like to host this for you. SAMPLE
9. It’s so frustrating when nothing gets done! First things first. Think about what HAS to be accomplished that day and pick two things. It might be a nap and cut your nails. Be quick and have low expectations for the next 6 months – you are in survival mode.
10. Have a colicky baby who only wants to be held? Someone else can take baby for a walk in the stroller (or even in the hallway). Recruit a second set of hands to help.
Baby showers are easy with SignUpGenius! Plan a potluck or party easily. SAMPLE
12. If you are nursing, buy a pumping bra. Then you can fold laundry and have your milk pumped at the same time! Genius!
13. When you start back to work, set everything out the night before. Baby’s stuff. Your stuff. Breakfast dishes. And again, take your shower in the evening, then wet hair in morning. Go to work. Repeat.
14. No time to give baby a bath? Take a bath with your baby. Have your spouse lift the baby in and out of the bathtub for you. Be careful though: your spouse needs to be within shouting distance.
15. Need to get out of the house? Suggest lunch, rather than dinner, to your BFF’s. Lunch is easier and quicker. Can’t get out of the house? Have a spa hour in your bathroom. Just you, a bathtub, some candles, and (hopefully) some silence.
16. If you need to help an older child, get an extra swing or vibrating chair to keep at the ready.
17. Keep food staples in the house that are easy. Menu plan two weeks out. Only go to the grocery store once a week.
18. A seasoned mom will tell you: Baby monitors have their place, but don’t run into baby’s room at the first “wah.”
19. Ask for help, and not just the first month. A friend or relative can wrap gifts, address holiday cards or baby announcements.
20. Still barely getting a shower? This means you are not out of the hole. Re-read this article and commit two strategies to memory.
Enjoy the time with your newest arrival and be patient with yourself. You’ll have motherhood down in no time.
Emily Mathias is a freelance writer living in Charlotte, NC.