Written by Jaclyn D. for 53 Weeks.
As a young, independent woman, time was all I had. I worked part-time at a news station and attended the university as a full-time student. I dedicated my free time to writing stories for class assignments or relaxing on the beach like a washed up coconut. I could sleep in if I wanted to, heck, I could get up and just go. I could literally jump in my car, bad breath and all, and just go. Time? Who needed that? Time brought change (good and bad), and I wasn’t ready to be all ‘grown-up’ just yet. Fast forward, and three years later, I’m a married grad student, and proud mommy to my 20-month-old son.
Throughout this entire process, time management has been my biggest endeavor; it is crucial and the key to surviving my role as a new mom/wife. As much as I dread routines, and chosen career path that wasn’t 9-5, I now live a life revolved around routines. If I want to go anywhere or do anything, I need to plan ahead and accordingly.
Keeping a solid routine is not only healthy for your baby, but very beneficial for you. If you’re a first time Mom, this may be quite a challenge in the beginning, but don’t worry, it all gets much easier once you’ve established a routine that works best for you and your baby. Here are some of my suggestions that have helped me survive motherhood thus far:
- Make a plan, or plan to fail – this is my husband’s mantra, and something I can vouch for. If you don’t plan ahead, there’s a chance the following day won’t go as planned. Think about how long it takes to gather all the necessities needed; factor in how long it takes you to dress yourself and your baby, and feed him or her. If you have pets (I have two dachshunds), consider the time it will take to feed and walk them as well. Lay out both your clothing outfits the night before. The idea of the plan is utilize and manage your time efficiently, so it’s just easy and simple. The key is simplifying by planning. I usually need an hour and a half before I can go anywhere.
- Food/diaper prep the night before – I highly recommend every parent to do this. Not only is it going to save you time, but it’ll be one less thing you will have to worry about in the morning. I prefer to pack all the food, snacks, and drinks I will need the night before. I also make sure that I have sufficient diapers, extra clothes and wipes. There have been a hand-full of times I’ve walked out of my house without any diapers and had no back-up clothes when an ‘accident’ has occurred. Trust me when I say it’s a ‘shitty’ situation to be in, and it’s not fun. My advice is have ‘back up clothes” packed in a gym bag for you and your little one. Leave it in the trunk, in “case of emergencies.” It’s better to have something, than nothing.
Tip – Pack a large zip lock bag so you can store the dirty clothes in to prevent the bad odors.
- Stick to the routine – I am really adamant about sticking to the sleeping routine. It is the most important next to meal routines. If your baby naps between noon and 2 p.m., make sure baby is napping between noon and 2 p.m. Not only will he or she be grumpy and whiny if they don’t nap, but they will stay awake later than their usual bedtime, and if you’re anything like me, bedtime is the end of his day and the start of your ‘me’ time. Besides, you don’t want your baby staying up past bedtime. A well-rested baby is a happy baby. Happy baby, happy mom.
- Make sure Mom gets sleep too – I know it may be tempting to stay up an extra half hour to run through your social media newsfeed or catch up on a new episode of your favorite show, but if you don’t get your sleep, chances are you’re going to wake up restless, edgy and what I consider useless the following morning. Being a mom is a full-time job and you need all the rest you can get.