Busy Mom Hacks, Episode 210
Hello! It’s been almost one year since I had my first baby and in this podcast I’ll be sharing how I’ve kept my selfcare going...at least most of the time. I know selfcare is a priority for all of us because how can we keep caring for our loved ones when we can’t care for ourselves? In this podcast I talk about what selfcare I prioritized this year and how I fit it into a crazy day home alone with a baby.
Between Covid and having my first baby the past year has been full of big and constant changes for me! Babies grow so fast...and their needs change so fast! One week changing Gavin's diaper every 2 hours is fine, then the next, it has to be every hour or he’ll have a rash. I’ll finally feel settled into a bottle feeding routine, but now it’s time to add in solids. I’ll think he’s close to sleeping through the night, then a new tooth starts coming in (he’s working on tooth number 9!) and he’s waking every few hours like a newborn again. His naps might last 2 hours or 45 minutes...or he might not take one at all. One day he can play by himself all morning, the next he’s hanging off my legs screaming.
Between all this chaos I need to do laundry...which has doubled since he was born...or dishes, or vacuum (the need for which has quadrupled since he started crawling) and I need to walk the dog and make meals.
Then there are the mental tasks...or just plain torture. The last couple weeks he found a new decibel of screeching that is truly ear piercing. Even when he’s not screaming I can hear it ringing in my ears! If you check out my Instagram you can get a taste.
Last month he discovered the toilet, now I’m constantly asking myself, “Ooh, Did I put the toilet seat down?” Last week he figured out how to open the cupboard doors, so I installed some magnetic locks, but now I’m constantly misplacing the key. I’ve just ordered an extra! I’m juggling this all in my head AND trying to get some work done so I can help other crazy busy people like me maintain their self-care too. Okay, so maybe I’m just venting now...but I want to paint you a picture of my life at the moment!
So how do I do it? How do I remember to wash my face while I’m trying to remember if I put the toilet seat down? How do I remember to eat healthy (or remember to eat at all) while I’m wondering how long it’s been since I changed his diaper?
As a mother, it’s important to keep up with my own self care, because number one, I want a sane and healthy human being taking care of my precious little baby, two, I want to model a healthy lifestyle for my child, and three, this child-rearing insanity lasts a decently long time...I can’t believe I’m already a year in... and I don’t want to create bad habits during this time that I then find difficult to kick later.
So this leads me to habits. Having healthy habits in place is one way people with hectic lives hold it together. The problem with babies and pandemics...or any big life change...is that it tends to blow up your regular routine while ALSO demanding you learn new habits, like putting down the toilet seat, or putting the magnetic key to the cupboard locks back where it should be. This demands flexibility.
Working from home offers a lot of flexibility, however my son’s needs tend to take precedence, a la brain-splitting screams. So my needs have to dovetail nicely with his or they tend to not happen. My needs in these scenarios are Sleeping, Working, Eating, Exercising and of course Skincare!
The way I get my needs met through the day is by habit sequencing:
Sleeping: I've been co-sleeping with my son in his nursery for almost a year and just this week moved back into my bedroom. To some extent I sleep when he sleeps. He goes to bed at 8pm and wakes at 8am, so I try to be in bed by 9pm or 10pm and I wake when he does at 8am.
However I was never able to master napping when he napped. I would wait until the weekend when my husband was home and then take a big 2-3 hour morning nap on Sundays to catch up on sleep.
Gavin did not sleep through the night! I would need to give him a bottle or a pacifier he lost at least two or three times a night, and he still wakes up a couple times now but puts himself back to sleep.
So...my sleep isn’t stellar, but I am functioning. ;)
- Working: Nap time is work time for me. He naps 2-4 hours a day split between a morning nap and an afternoon nap, so I can record a blog, or do research during this time. What I can't get done during naps I have to finish later while my husband is home.
- Eating: Meals were much more difficult to master! I made freezer meals with my mom which helped immensely in the first few weeks after childbirth, and my husband did a lot of cooking dinners. Other than that I lived off peanut butter sandwiches and Clif bars for the first few months.
This was not the healthiest way of eating, but when Gavin started solids at 6 months I started to feel more motivated to eat healthier myself, and when I started making his baby foods, I started cooking better for myself at the same time. Also, when he started solids he didn’t need as much breastmilk, so I got a little bit more free time and energy by cutting back on breastfeeding a tiny bit.
For meals I usually feed Gavin first then leave him in his chair with some cereal to munch on, then I get my food and sit down at the table next to him to eat my own meal.
- Exercise: I put in a lot of extra steps with the extra laundry and vacuuming and general tidying up needed with an active baby, but regular exercise was still important. I had sciatica in my hip after Gavin was born, so that slowed down my return to regular workout routine, but at the same time made it important have a workout routine so I could rebuild my hip and core muscles.
There you have it! Habit sequencing is how I get my self care done while tending to the constant needs of a baby! I hope this inspires you to keep yourself glowing no matter how crazy your day gets!