I was fortunate that Dan had 1 month Parental Leave after Theo was born to help us out at home. However when he had to go back to work, I found it exceptionally hard to cope alone. I couldn’t go to the loo as and when needed, neither did I have time to make myself lunch or cook dinner at my ideal time. Basically, my life revolved around Theodore. In the first week when Dan was back at work, there were days I couldn’t pop into the shower without the baby screaming the house down. That was when I decided we needed to reorganise our lives and manage our time better.
1. Start a Routine
This only worked because Theo is usually clockwork. It doesn’t necessarily mean I wake up or go to sleep at the same time each day. However, daily tasks such as having a slow shower in the morning after feeding Theodore before Dan gets to work is better than having to rush through it. After a shower (and the satisfied baby is looked after by his half asleep papa), I then make breakfast for both of us to start the day. Breakfast is my must have meal of the day. Without it, I cannot function. It is having a rhythm to the day that makes it less stressful.
2. Be Flexible
While I have a routine, I also expect my schedule to change. Knowing that my routine can be thrown out of the window because of a major poop incident or Theo being a merlion (ie. pukes milk) takes the stress out of my daily life. It means dinner is no longer served by the time Dan gets home; we sometimes only eat at 9pm! I’ve also learnt that it is tough to be punctual for appointments. I do try to be on time and not be more than 15 mins late for any appointments though.
I used to look up BBC Good Food for fanciful recipes to cook for dinner. Who cares if dinner takes 3 hours to cook when you’ve got no baby to look after? And you’re not exhausted? These days, pasta, risotto, baked fish, soups for instance, are just some examples of simple yet healthy meals we have.
I hate leaving dishes in the sink after a meal but in the evenings, we’re both just too tired to do chores, hence we leave them till the morning. They’re easier to wash after being soaked in soapy water too! Also, I don’t clean the apartment as often as I used to anymore. Ironic, isn’t it? You would think that I should make sure that the place is dirt free now that we have a baby! Well, I think a moderate exposure to germs is ok. I can’t go round sanitising the whole place!!! Some chores can be left till later. It doesn’t mean we’re lazy. It’s just more important to attend to the needs of the baby and spend time together.
While Theo sleeps either on his rocker or pram in the mornings, most afternoons are spent in his wrap. That’s when I can FaceTime/ Skype others (yes, Mama needs to socialise too!), sort out letters (I hate them!), surf the internet and BLOG! That’s how I find time to blog! Theo falls asleep whenever I bring him out in his pram, so I only do my shopping during his nap time. A quiet sleeping baby means I get to shop in peace. Stress free!
I am still learning how to manage my time better to include other activities like meeting up with other mums & babies, reading and doing some light exercises. However, I’m in no rush. It took me more than 2 months to be comfortable with our daily routine today! Just like my boy, Mama’s gotta take baby steps too.