Back to Basics

It’s funny how quickly you can fall into a routine.  Part of me loves that my evenings have become comfortingly similar, but another piece of my being finds them disgustingly repetitive.

Small talk at babysitters |unload baby from the truck | put leftover formula in the fridge | eat dinner | feed baby | load  dishes while baby naps | tummy time | bathtime | pajamas | bedtime for her at 9 | shower for me | unload dishwasher so bottles can dry overnight | in bed by 10 | read until 11  or so | lights out.

It’s nice to have that template, but missing one little part of my routine can result in screwing up the rest of my evening or ruining the next morning.  If I don’t get the dishwasher loaded, run, and emptied before I go to bed then I run the risk of not having enough bottles for the babysitter the next day.   I’ve started showering at night to give myself a few more minutes to sleep in the next morning; I’d rather have that extra time in the morning rather than the evening.

I’m having difficulty finding time to get stuff done around the house.  Not painting or redecorating – nothing frivolous like that – but the actual housekeeping chores such as dusting, vacuuming, etc.  I’m torn between wanting to spend more time with the baby and wanting her to have a safe clean environment to grow up in.  I’ve got to find that balance while also allowing me some ‘me time’ to work on my jewelry, cardmaking, and (ha!) scrapbooking.

So that’s where we are today.  How do you keep that housekeeping / child / what you want to do balance?

~k

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. claire
    Jul 17, 2009 @ 15:23:19

    Hi!
    You know what? I hated the infant days for this very reason…I felt like I had zero time to think or be spontaneous or my whole schedule would fall apart.

    As for dishes…I spent extra money and had tons of bottles and sippy cups, etc, so I did not have to run the d/w every single day. It was worth it to me.

    Yeah, I feel as though I have a lot of plates up in the air and dropping one will make all of them come crashing down. Then I have even MORE of a mess to deal with. We have 12 bottles and when I was at home that seemed to be enough. Now I need to have 5 bottles ready to go at all times for the babysitter and somehow end up one short all the time. I’m hesitant to buy more of this size; maybe I’ll get the bigger 9oz bottles and get a head start there. Oddly enough, I kind of *like* having to get it unloaded before I go to bed. It’s one of those tasks I procrastinate on alllll the time.

    As for cleaning, I think I already told you that I caved and got a cleaning lady. Best thing I did for me — instant stress melter.

    As for getting bored with your routine, I would encourage you to have a night a week for each of you to “have off” On your night you could get a pedicure, on Ben’s night he could go to Barnes and Noble for some inspiration for his latest literary works…. Sometimes even just two hours of unstructured time to “decompress” is really helpful. We also have friends who have a “his” and “hers” day on the weekend where they each get to do something they want — like he will golf 9 or 18 holes on Saturday and she will go to the library or the country club pool on Sunday, kid free.

    I *do* need to start having a night or part of a weekend to myself. Time to sit down with Ben and figure out something. A friend and I are putting together a once-a-month book club so that takes care of one night a month.

    I wish I had that strategy, but I don’t. Although, when Jeremy is gone, if I get to a point where I need a break, I sometimes hire a sitter for a few hours so I can either do stuff around the house or run errands or do whatever I need to do. That feels good.

    And, for what it’s worth…….as Mallory gets older, your routine will get SO much easier and less time consuming. So, the good news is that although your life has changed forever, before long she will be able to do a few things for herself and you won’t even have to think twice about your routine. 🙂 She’ll eat more and less often, which will also free up your schedule!

    Probably the biggest secret to attaining balance is learning to say NO and I NEED A BREAK! 🙂

    Easier said than done for me to say “No,” “I need a break,” or “I need help.” That’s the toughest thing for me – I don’t realize I need help until I’m massively overwhelmed. I wish Ben was better at noticing when I need help and automatically pitch in, but I can’t really expect him to read minds. Looks like I’ll just have to ask more frequently.

    Good luck!

    Reply

  2. DarcKnyt
    Jul 17, 2009 @ 15:27:06

    Hm. I’ll let the Falcon sound off on this one, but there’s no simple solution, sweetie. It’s about choices and priorities, and getting as much help as anyone can offer. Take it. Don’t feel guilty about it. If they offer snatch it up.

    Bleh – choices and priorities. I’m on the losing end of both of those.

    As baby gets less dependent, things get a little easier. Not a lot, but a little.

    One can only hope! 🙂

    Reply

  3. DarcsFalcon
    Jul 18, 2009 @ 14:45:20

    LOL Just saw Darc’s comment. I think he pretty much nailed it, and I think Claire had some good suggestions too.

    Remember this – print it up as a sign and put it somewhere you can see it every day, “This too shall pass.” Baby days are fleeting and will SOON be overrun by toddler days, then childhood days, etc. Enjoy your baby now, because she won’t be a baby for very long.

    There really hasn’t been a day where I’ve been at the end of my rope. It’s more like I’m continuously run down. By the time I get everything accomplished at night I feel like I’ve lost the whole day and don’t have the energy to get anything done that I’d *like* to do. Holding down the couch to make sure it doesn’t run away is the most I want to handle. I actually LIKE these baby days. The’re fun but take a lot out of me.

    Dust bunnies will remain until you take care of them. Try not to panic about a little bit of clutter or messiness. Studies have shown that children have more asthma related problems in homes that are super clean, because kids don’t get a chance to build up immunities to germs. Ditch any “anti-bacterial” soaps and stuff you have. Plain old soap is just fine.

    I’m not a huge germophobe or clean freak. My problem is that I let things slide all week because I don’t want to do anything in the evenings and then get overwhelmed and freak out on the weekends. That in turn then takes over my two days off from work and makes me miserable. I’m going to try the Flylady thing again and try to focus more on zones and getting stuff done every night. I did it a few years ago and it seemed to work really well. Then I got lazy (Ha! That *always* happens!)

    If you need to hire someone to come in once a week, that’s fine and nothing that you should feel detracts from your abilities as a mom and wife. You’re already working 2 full-time jobs so bringing in a housekeeper to help out once in a while is a good idea if you can afford it. If you can’t, see if you can get Ben to help out more. But yes, buy more bottles.

    Um, we killed cable to save $$. A housekeeper is *definitely* not in the budget. I never really thought about the fact that I’m essentially working 2 full-time jobs. I’ll have to see if Ben has some time he can carve out for me so that I can either get things done or have some time to myself every once in a while. I just need him to be more comfortable taking care of her – he has a hard time deciphering her different cries, which frustrates him.

    As for you time, see if Grandma is willing to jump in. Really, with a little one in the house, the only real way for you time is to have someone else watch baby for a few hours, because there simply isn’t enough time in the day for you to do it all. You have to delegate or go without. That’s the bottom line.

    I feel bad asking her to babysit because of her job. They’re in the process of building their dream house and she’s picking up extra shifts in the OR to cover some of those costs. Plus, she works 12+ hour days so she wants to relax on her days off, not take care of an infant. Maybe I’ll see if she wants to take the baby a weekend day a month or something. Thanks for the advice! 🙂

    Reply

    • DarcsFalcon
      Jul 21, 2009 @ 03:19:11

      Have you considered a chore chart? That might help Ben see more what needs to be done without you feeling like you need to tell him, or expect him to read your mind.

      Kind of… I’m going to try the Flylady system again. I spent some time yesterday putting together what needs to be done. Now I just have to find a grease pencil so we can mark it off when it’s done. Do you know how freaking difficult it is to purchase a solitary grease pencil these days??

      As for him figuring out her cries – the more time he spends alone with her, the quicker he’ll figure that out, simply as a matter of survival. Really, it’s how moms do it – we’re not born knowing either. 🙂

      I’m trying to leave him alone with her at least one night a week so that he gets used to it and can figure it out as well as I can. He did really well last night. When I got home from grocery shopping she was upstairs in her crib fixated on the mobile. I think Daddy let her stay up longer than she was supposed to…

      Well, if Grandma’s out, have you thought of a co-op type of thing? Do you have a few friends who also have kids? You can take turns – one month on a Friday or whatever, Marsha watches all the kids, the next month, Jan does it, then the 3rd month, it’s Cindy’s turn, then the 4th month is your turn. That way everyone gets a night out a month, without having to skip very many.

      I *do* have 2 or 3 friends who have recently had babies so that might be an option. One of them doesn’t have very many friends / family in the state so I may see if she’d like someone with whom she can co-op. Thanks for the idea!

      Just trying to offer some possibilities hon – it’s easy to feel frazzled when you’re feeling stuck. You’re not alone though, just want you to know that. 🙂

      Definitely not alone and the advice is ALWAYS appreciated.

      Reply

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