Here are some tips to help you create a routine that works for your new lifestyle without running you into the ground.
- Make it Doable
When I came home with Baby 2.0 my little almost-4-year-old had just learned how to read. Knowing this, the little overachiever that likes to camp out on my shoulder and whisper in my ear tried to convince me that we should start homeschooling to capitalize on her desire to learn. Even I could easily see, however, that starting a kindergarten curriculum with my oldest and delivering my youngest within the same 2 week time period was asking for trouble. Instead, I compromised with myself and laid out moderate weekly goals to accomplish throughout the semester. Instead of 3 hours of structured learning time every day, I went for 3 hours a week. Problem solved. The same applies to laundry, commitments, playgroups, working out – you name it. Set yourself up for success and make sure it’s something you can realistically take on. If not, leave it out and revisit it in a few months when your life has settled down.
- Make it Reasonable
Do yourself a favor and don’t start the clock until 9am. Maybe you’ll get one of those perfect babies that sleep for 8 hours straight at 5 days old, but in case your experience is like the rest of ours… don’t commit yourself to anything in the morning. Even if you’re lucky and get a great night’s sleep, getting yourself and a newborn up, washed, dressed and fed for the day is a tall order! If you decide implementing a routine is a good step for you, don’t put any items on the agenda any earlier than you know is reasonable for you. And for heaven’s sake, if the stars all align and you’re able to sleep in past your ‘start time’, do it!
- Make it Simple
Compile a list of goals you have for the month, week and each day, then break it down in your routine. Choose three or four priorities that you have every day and set them in succession throughout your day. This structure provides me with a sense of accomplishment as well as a reason to ‘get moving’ in the morning. However, it’s not so rigid that if I slack off for an extra 30 minutes of sleep or get surprised by a visit from my mom that I can’t readjust.
For instance, it’s extremely important to me that my house is clean. Not every nook and cranny, but our living area needs to be tidy for me to feel at home and relaxed. One of the things I have worked into my daily routine is to get some basic chores done (dishes, toys picked up, laundry gathered) by lunchtime. This gives me the rest of the afternoon to focus on other things without feeling like my world is falling apart because the cereal bowls are still on the counter. Use an app on your phone or a list on the fridge to organize a few goals and give yourself an easy win in this season of challenges! (Back)