Mondays are productivity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
Reader Janet asked about productivity for new moms (see Contest Announcement: Contest #1).
It brought a smile to my face, because I remember so well my expectations. I was off work on July 1, the baby was due July 14, and then I had 8 weeks of maternity leave. I planned on accomplishing so much! I had lists of projects around the house, craft projects, writing projects, all lined up waiting.
Reality hit. I went on maternity leave July 1, hugely uncomfortable and unable to stand for long periods of time. My daughter was two weeks late before they induced labor, and my husband’s entire family showed up the next week. My daughter wouldn’t nurse at first and was colicky. Some midnights found me driving around the city, trying to get her to go to sleep. I got nothing I had planned done.
Hah. Serves me right.
The key to productivity with being a new parent is flexibility and adjusting expectations.
The one that got me worst was expectations. As a new parent, your time will be mostly spent feeding, changing, cuddling and sleeping. If you can fit anything else in, great! If not, let yourself off the hook. Infancy doesn’t last forever.
If you can, find ways to involve your baby. My sister-in-law lent us a strap-on baby carrier (Baby Bjorn if my memory serves me). I would put my daughter in it as I would do some light housework. I had to do the housework one-handed, but my daughter enjoyed the movement and I got some necessary things done.
Along with lowered expectations, you must also become more flexible. No baby falls into a schedule naturally or easily. You will no longer have the large chunks of time you are used to to get things done. So look for ways to break up your tasks into five or ten minute chunks. Instead of spending an hour answering email, snatch 10 minutes here and there.
One of the most flexible things I did was to keep getting up at the same time as my husband, rather than sleeping in. That allowed me to shower while he was around to attend to the baby’s possible needs (she was usually asleep). I didn’t have to worry about the baby, and I was up and dressed, giving me a better mindset for being productive. And it didn’t matter if the first thing I did was crash on the couch for a nap. When I woke up I was ready to go.
I also gave my daughter to my husband when he got home. He got important cuddling time, and I got time to cook dinner. We used to cook dinner together, but changing what had always been done allowed both of us time we needed.
In the end, give yourself a break. Putting a few things on hold for a few months is not a big deal in the large picture. Your child will grow, and demands on you will lessen.
Photo by ingermaaike2