You know your life will change when you become a parent for the first time. Along with the love and joy comes a lot of new responsibilities and demands. To take care of your growing family, it’s important to manage your time effectively.
It’s easy to wind up feeling overwhelmed unless you can design a system that works for you.
Start by taking a look at these suggestions that have helped other parents who were once in your shoes.
- Assess your routine. Figure out how you’re currently spending your time. How many hours do you spend watching TV or browsing online? Are there some tasks you can remove from your to do list?
- Set priorities. Focus on your most important responsibilities. Your family’s health and happiness matter more than keeping up with the laundry.
- Plan ahead. If possible, start strategizing even before your baby is born. Research your options for things like diaper service and day care.
- Budget extra time. Expect that many activities will take longer than they used to. If you’re running errands with your baby, you’ll need to bring along extra supplies, and you may need to stop for bathroom and feeding breaks.
- Coordinate your tasks. Being organized will help you stay on track. Deal with your essential errands first just in case you run out of time. Consider using delivery services for a while.
- Ask for help. Let others know how they can support you. Your family and friends may be happy to babysit or take over some chores. Contact local companies to hire a baby nurse or a house cleaner.
- Use technology. Online shopping and time saving apps can help you cut down on your workload. Ask other new and experienced parents about their favorite discoveries.
- Catch up on sleep. Sleep deprivation is one of the toughest challenges when you have a new baby, but you need your rest to function well. Most babies can sleep through the night starting at about 3 months, especially if you develop soothing bedtime rituals. Until then, you and your partner might be able to alternate taking charge some nights so you each get some rest. Naps help too.
- Eat a balanced diet. Sound nutrition will also make you more productive. Be sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Cook food in batches for quick meals, and keep your pantry stocked with your favorite staples.
- Exercise regularly. How can you squeeze in a workout? Maybe you can do yoga for a few minutes at a time instead of your usual full session. Maybe you can find a quiet half hour at the start or end of your day.
- Evaluate the source. Being picky about who you go to for advice can save you time and frustration. Focus on those you can trust like your pediatrician or government and university websites.
- Clear away clutter. Onesies, stuffed animals, and other baby gear are so cute that you may be tempted to go overboard. However, too many items create more work, so stick to having just what you really need.
- Reduce stress. It’s difficult to use your time well when you’re tired or tense. Find relaxation practices that work for you, such as meditation or listening to music. Call a friend or join a parent support group.
Having your first child is a major milestone in your life. Knowing how to manage your time will help you to remain balanced and navigate the transition. That way, you can take care of your own needs and ensure that your baby feels safe and loved.