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How to Get Things Done With a Baby – Productive Hacks!

When we had our first baby, I had zero idea what I was doing. My first diaper change ever was my own baby. I didn’t have a ton of experience with kids or any idea how to juggle it all with a newborn. Now, we have five kids and I have learned so much about how to get things done with a baby. Here are my best, probably semi-controversial, tips!

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Baby Care and Time Management

Establishing a Baby Routine

I have a kind of reverse view of routines with kids.

Now that we have five, I have learned that the best way to survive the younger years is to roll with the punches.

While I know that any developmental psychologist will tell you you have to have structure and routine, I have learned that less is more.

When we tried to stick to a strict nap schedule, I ended up depressed any day that our schedule kept me stuck at home because I got stuck on a call or a local meet up overlapped our nap time.

Instead, we stick to a loose nap schedule.

About an hour after our baby wakes up, whatever time that is, he takes a nap.

No matter what time we wake up, our baby seems to be ready for his long nap sometime between 1 and 2 pm.

Baby Napping Strategies

I used to look at our baby’s nap time as the time to rush around and get things done.

I’d use nap times to tackle laundry, dishes, start dinner, and exhaust myself rushing around cleaning.

When I started to dread the whimper that told me our son was awake, I realized my nap time plans weren’t working for us.

Now, I multitask to accomplish household tasks and use nap time as me time.

This might be a personality thing, but this is the best self-care I’ve ever given myself.

I now look forward to baby naps and don’t mind when our baby wakes up because I’ve spent that time filling my own cup.

These days, that looks like either writing a blog post like this one or reading a book on Kindle Unlimited.

Multitasking Like a Pro

I’ve become somewhat of a pro at getting things done around the house while either wearing a baby or with one hand while balancing a baby on one hip.

Let’s talk baby carriers

They’re an absolute lifesaver. 

This is the exact one I’ve used for all 5 of my babies.

Strap your little one into a baby carrier or front carrier, and you’ve got your hands free to take care of things around the house. 

You’re getting the benefits of some skin-to-skin time while still getting things done around the house.

This is especially great if you’ve got a clingy baby that doesn’t like to be put down.

Honestly, they’re only little for such a short time, that I don’t want to put them down either.

It was when I started doing laundry while wearing our little ones that I started using no-fold systems.

Instead of stressing over folding my kids pants, I lay them neatly in their drawers.

This takes a fraction of the time and I don’t get frustrated when they mess up their drawers when they rummage through them.

Plus, it’s a safe place for your baby to hang out while you get stuff done.

Streamlining Household Chores

I have 5 kids and zero time to waste.

When the dryer is done, I pull it out and immediately put the most important things away.

Things like pants or blouses that I’ll need to iron otherwise.

Every morning, I send out our iRobot to vacuum the whole house (props to my mother-in-law for the best. Christmas. present. ever.)

I don’t separate laundry anymore (I know, I know. Boo! Hiss!)

Instead, I throw one of these color catcher thingys in with every load.

So far, I have had zero issues with colors bleeding and I’ve reordered them NINE times according to my Amazon order history.

Meal Planning and Preparation

Meal planning is a game-changer for busy moms. 

This took me forever to master.

Here’s the secret – stop trying new recipes.

I would always peruse Pinterest or search “easy chicken crockpot recipes”, save them on my phone, but 75% of the ingredients, and never make them.

You seriously just have to stick to tried and true recipes that you know your family will eat.

I always double up recipes so I can throw them in the freezer.

For example, my mother in law made this pasta sauce recipe for us that we fell in love with.

Now when I make it, I make enough to freeze at least 2 freezer bags full to use another day.

I’m always grateful later for planning ahead.

Create a weekly meal plan with easy, quick recipes. 

Here’s another quick tip: consider online grocery shopping through Amazon Prime or Walmart+ to save you a trip to the grocery store.

This actually saves me money compared to dragging 5 kids through a grocery store begging for 18 different kids of cereal.

Delegating Tasks

You’re not in this alone. 

Don’t be shy about asking for help from your partner, older siblings, or family members. 

My older children (only 7 and 8) have seriously stepped up after we asked them to start doing chores.

We should have done this long ago.

​Helping out around the house is a great way to get help but also to have your kids feel like they’re a part of your home running smoothly.

My 8 year old now unloads the dishwasher every morning and switches laundry from the washer to the dryer.

My 7 year old sends our iRobot out to vacuum every morning.

Our 4 year old, because she was upset about not having chores like her siblings, cleans the bathtub with a sponge when she’s in the bath.

We don’t have family close by, so asking for help from them is out.

​My mother in law bought us this iRobot Roomba vacuum for Christmas last year and we use it every single day.

Sometimes several times a day.

It was the perfect gift because it is something I would have never bought for myself, but now that I’ve owned one, I’ll 100% buy a new one when this one breaks.

I can send it out to vacuum even when we’re not home from my app.

​Just taking those few tasks off of my plate has made a huge difference and has given me the extra time I needed.

Self-Care and Personal Time

Prioritizing Self-Care

As a new mom, it’s easy to forget about taking care of yourself. 

We touched on this a bit before, but let’s talk more about this now.

Honestly, I always felt like this was a crock from everyone that acted like I wasn’t taking enough time for myself.

My friends all had in laws close by to watch their kids while they took a yoga class or went to dinner with girlfriends.

​I just wanted to spend time with my husband and kids in one place when he finally got home from work.

Finally, I started to feel the familiar depression feelings creeping back in that I got so used to during postpartum depression after my second.

My midwives during each pregnancy asked about self-care during and after pregnancy.

When I started to realize I couldn’t outrun the depression anymore, I started to make a real point to do minor things.

I shower with the door locked so no one can bother me with fights over toys or the remote.

Everyone now knows not to even bother asking me for anything if they wake up early and want something before I’ve made myself coffee.

Nap time is now me time.

I spend it reading a book on my Kindle app usually, or I’ll write a blog post to feel productive.

Other days I’ll text a friend or my sister in law just to chat.

Sometimes when I’m feeling really overwhelmed, I’ll just be honest and tell my kids that.

My 8 year old is simply the best and will take the baby to play with him for a few minutes while I read a chapter of my book.

This happens way less often now, but that is only the case because I started to be honest about how burnt out I was.

Having a new baby is exhausting!

Early mornings are also my alone time.

This is when I focus on drinking coffee in peace, making a plan for my day in my simple bullet journal, and write blog posts.

Don’t feel like you’re a failure not juggling it all on your own.

That’s the fastest way to feel like a martyr in survival mode later and that benefits no one.

Personal Time Management

Finding pockets of time for yourself can be a game-changer. 

During nap times or when your baby is into some independent play, you can catch a breather or even knock out some small tasks.

The best way I’ve found to do this is using a simple bullet journal of sorts.

No doodling, no cute stickers, just to-do lists that help me download my brain and just make a plan.

I make a plan, then work the plan.

I do this during my morning routine, but you should do whatever works for you and your schedule.

I’m not a plan by the hour kind of person.

We homeschool, so we wake up a different time every day.

A running to-do list of everything I need to accomplish works wonders for me.

I’ll write down phone calls I need to make, bills I need to pay, etc.

I also always add load of laundry or “put away one laundry basket”, and load dishwasher to my list.

I’m gonna do those things anyway, I might as well get the satisfaction of crossing it off of my list!

I almost never have long stretches of time to work on any given task.

Instead, I write things down in the smallest possible steps to both motivate myself and to eliminate frustration when I get interrupted in the middle of a task.

mom cuddling newborn baby

Seeking Help When Needed

There’s no shame in asking for help when you need it. 

Connect with other new moms, chat with your best friend, or even talk to a counselor.

I used Talkspace for a short period of time when I was pregnant with our 4th.

​Being able to email or chat back and forth with a counselor was the only way I was going to find time for therapy.

After I had our second baby, I suffered from postpartum depression.

I don’t even like to take Tylenol, I had our baby naturally with zero medicine.

Then, when he was a few weeks old, I made an emergency appointment with my doctor for an antidepressant.

I often wonder if I would have suffered so much if I had just be honest about my needs instead of running myself into the ground with a smile on my face.

Don’t do what I did.

Ask for help as soon as you feel overwhelmed.

Trade off with another mom.

It’s tough, especially when you don’t have a community to support you.

Build your own community, with free resources if you have to, until you find your tribe.

Remote Work and Productivity

Working from Home with a Baby

If you’re working from home, let’s create a baby-friendly workspace.

We have this awesome little baby playpen with a play mat underneath that works great in our house.

When our 5th son was a little smaller, he did tummy time in there happily while playing with his toys.

Now he crawls all over the place and chases balls from one side to the other.

Having 4 siblings means he’s almost never alone in there, but this would be a great solution for someone who just needs free hands for a few minutes to type.

It gives me a safe space to put my baby down quickly when I need to help someone in the bathroom or run to get food out of the oven.

A baby monitor is your best friend, giving you peace of mind while you’re in work mode.

Even if it’s just monitoring the baby that’s behind you in the same room.

Before our baby could crawl, I put him in his bouncy chair right next to me.

Now, this playpen is the only way to make sure he isn’t trying to find his way into our cabinets.

mom wearing baby doing laundry

Time Management for Remote Work

Optimize your work hours by tackling important tasks during nap times or when your baby is in a content and independent play mode.

This is obviously not ideal as it’s cutting into the time I’d rather you spend on self-care.

I’m lucky enough to set my own hours as I work on my blog.

I’m also an insomniac, so working between the hours of 2 or 3 to 5 am happens more frequently than I’d like to admit.

The most important thing is to create a schedule that works around your goals.

If you need a couple of hours to complete a task, realistically, the best time to accomplish this is during a nap or before baby wakes up for the day.

Staying Organized and Goal-Oriented

The Power of Lists and Planners

Lists and planners are like a roadmap for your day. 

Keep a running to-do list and prioritize your tasks. 

Now that I have started using my simple bullet journal again, I don’t know how I ever lived without it.

​Actually I do.

I was frustrated at myself for forgetting to make that dentist appointment and forgot to sign our kids up for soccer before the deadline.

Also, weekly chore lists can help you tackle one room at a time.

Tracking Progress

Don’t forget to celebrate your victories, even the little ones. 

Keeping track of what you’ve achieved can keep you motivated.

For me, this just looks like to-do lists that are completely crossed out.

I feel insanely productive when I’ve accomplished every last thing on my list.

How to Get Things Done with a Newborn – Embracing Flexibility

Life with a baby is all about adapting to different stages. 

Embrace the flexibility of your schedule and go with the flow.

Something you don’t get done today can always get done tomorrow.

Being a new mom is a wild ride, but it doesn’t mean you have to let everything else fall by the wayside. With a bit of time management, some self-care, and a little help from your support system, you can complete tasks, stay organized, and cherish those precious moments with your baby. Remember, you’re doing an incredible job, and every moment spent with your baby is a moment well spent. So take a deep breath, and know that you’ve got this!

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