How to Get Stuff Done (When Your Baby has Other Ideas)
After Baby arrives you’ll start to notice that virtually every aspect of your life changes. Not only will you and your partner be frequently sleep deprived, but you’ll no longer have the time to do the things that you used to enjoy doing anymore: going to the cinema; eating out; being intimate with each other.
Worse than that, the house may occasionally seem messy. That’s because all of your attention gets focussed on Baby, and where it’s not, it’s more than likely focussed on work. It can be incredibly difficult to juggle new parenthood with keeping a good house and breadwinning.
Fortunately, you’re not alone. According to a study published by the Journal of Marriage and Family mothers tend to see an average rise in workload of nearly 2 hours a day, whereas fathers experience a rise of just over 40 minutes. This is because with the added responsibility of a newborn, your time is spread more thinly and everything becomes reduced in terms of scale: leisure, household cleanliness, rest, diet, and intimacy. Sleep deprivation, in particular, will start to become a noticeable issue and this can affect other aspects of your life.
So how do you get things done when Baby is demanding your attention? How do you ensure that the plates in the sink are cleaned, the shopping bought, the floor dusted and mopped, and the bills paid when Baby is only beginning to find their place in the world? Here are some tips from a sympathetic ear at Lifecake:
Take Baby with you
Depending on what you need to do, strapping Baby into his/her pram or carrier sling and bringing them with you can actually save valuable time. It’s a form of multi-tasking, but it can be of huge benefit in the sense that Baby will always be in your line of site and you won’t have to worry about what they’re doing in the next room.
When taking a shower, for example, put Baby in a rocker or a chair in part of the bathroom where they won’t get soaked with water. Give them some toys. Talk to them to let them know you’re still paying attention. Showering can be a fun bonding experience with your newborn.
If you feel the need to work out, some gyms allow you to bring Baby with you. This, of course, is subject to your ensuring minimal disturbance for other patrons, but if you keep Baby in a pram while you burn calories on the treadmill, there shouldn’t be a problem. If not, there’s always the option of exercising with Baby in a specially designed pram.
Invest in a good baby monitor
No matter how much you might want to involve Baby in everyday activities, like taking a shower or exercising, some things require concentration and alone time. Catching up on office paperwork, doing the dishes, cooking the dinner and carving out some alone time for yourself are, by definition, not activities where Baby can be a constant presence. And sometimes, believe it or not, sleeping when Baby sleeps is not an option. So how do you make sure Baby is still OK in the other room without disturbing your work? How do you keep an eye on Baby whilst still getting stuff done?
Luckily, an extensive variety of Baby Monitors are available on the market, which can be used to listen to Baby as he/ she is napping in the next room. Some have video linkup so you can visually check on Baby, and some even have WiFi. The advantage of the latter is that you don’t need a corresponding monitor in order to look and listen, just internet access, and if you need to pop out of the room for a few minutes, you can check up on them while you’re away. Which is both liberating and reassuring.
You should be aware that some Wi-Fi models are susceptible to hacking, however, and take the appropriate steps to make sure that the security of, not only Baby, but your entire home isn’t compromised. But for the most part, Baby Monitor companies take this issue seriously and there are plenty of models out there which are worth your time and money. You just need to do your research, and decide which model is the best model for you.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Whether asking your partner to pick up more slack, or calling in favours from well-meaning friends and relatives who said they’d be there to help after Baby was born, asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of.
In a survey of 1,011 new parents conducted by Healthdirect Australia, it was discovered that lack of sleep, feeding Baby and finding time to recover after childbirth were top of the list of concerns. 53% of parents also feel that many of the challenges they face are too personal to share with family and friends. All this points to the risks inherent in being too proud to ask for help.
There may be appointments you need to attend that, for example, Baby just can’t come to (E.g. the dentist, the gynecologist, the psychiatrist). You may feel comfortable bringing Baby out to the shops or to other less serious engagements, but there are times when you’ll feel the need to attend things by yourself. There are always people who are happy to help, and even just a moment of alone time can be enough to restore your sense of well-being.
Some final thoughts
Of course, where possible it’s always best to coordinate your schedule with Baby’s, and this applies as much to rest as it does to work. For new mothers who are recovering from childbirth and have some time on leave for maternity, bringing your sleep pattern in line with Baby’s can be hugely beneficial for your health.
Newborns sleep on average between 16 and 17 hours a day, and whilst you may not want to be at rest for quite this long, new mothers are recommended to try and rest at the upper recommended limit of 11 hours a day. This is because with Baby waking constantly and disturbing your sleep, the recommended 7 to 9 hours of REM gets compromised.
Make sure that if there are two parents, that both parents pull their weight as much as possible. Call on family and friends whenever you need them and, above all, look after yourself. It’s of no benefit to anybody, especially you and Baby, if your health fails because you aren’t well rested enough or you’re overly stressed.