New Tricks from the New Mama
Every once in a while, I’ll share some of my “secrets” for how I stay on top of things… keeping the house clean, changes in the season, money, cooking, etc. Ever since Maggie came into the world, my sneaky techniques have received a major shake-up, and I have had to refocus and figure out new ways to do things. Here are some of my current favorite tricks to get things done and to stay clutter-free.
Be smart… think bulk. Since Maggie’s bedroom and bathroom are both upstairs and really everything else in the house is downstairs, I used to bring a nighttime diaper and a night’s pajamas up the stairs with me every time we’d go up for Maggie’s bathtime and sleep ritual. Often I’d forget this step, and Maggie would be left shivering in her towel while one of us would run downstairs to grab her jammies. Then finally, I figured out that I’d save a bunch of time and brain power if I just kept the jammies and diapers stored in the bathroom. Imagine that… the clothes stayed in the room where Maggie would need them.
Less guilt! We got take out… again. There’s laundry in the dryer that’s been sitting there for two days. I haven’t weeded the garden in three months. That’s ok! It’s going to be ok! Why am I beating myself up about these things? I don’t know, and I need to let it go.
I still routinely move around my house from room to room while grabbing things. This is still a very good ritual. If I go from kitchen to bedroom, I bring my shoes. If I go from bedroom to living room, I bring toys that need to be put away. Especially on trips upstairs, I bring up Maggie’s items or bring down the garbage. My hands are rarely empty. Yes, sometimes I bring a pillow to the bathroom… but usually my head is clear when I’m doing this!
Reminders on my phone. I got an iPhone for Christmas, and it has been a lifesaver. Especially helpful is the reminder app, which I set all the time. I use it weekly and monthly to remind me to do simple chores that we sometimes forget (writing the weekly daycare check, putting out the garbage every Tuesday, giving Lucy her flea meds, changing the air filters at our house). It’s also wonderful for just small reminders I might normally put on my hand-written to-do list. Even simple things like, “call in a prescription,” or “stop by the bank,” all scheduled at times when I can actually address the issues. These things have been lifesavers.
I can’t say this enough… especially once I started working again: everything for the next day has to be ready the night before. This is huge. Mornings are nuts. And there are so many variables… spit-up on your work clothes, a random extra dirty diaper that needs to be changed, a couple more minutes of sleep… too much could happen after that alarm rings. The morning is stressful as it is… why would I procrastinate the night before?
Staging ground for future situations are also helpful. The couch in our bedroom is currently the designated place. For example, we’re visiting a set of grandparents and we want to bring them something when we go. I’ll set aside those items on a special cushion of the couch, knowing that when we pack, the items will be ready and waiting for us. This is so much better than stressing myself out about something I was going to bring but now have forgotten. My parents actually do this (and where I stole the idea), and they keep all the things they want to show me and JD on my old bed at their house. By the time we get there, it’s always fun to go to the bed and see the spread of things they have set aside for us to see.
Ready, set, box! Right after Maggie was born, I was overwhelmed with all the stuff … clothes, socks, gear, blankets. Plus, there were sentimental things that I wanted to keep but didn’t know where to put (papers from the hospital, notes, special gifts). Ready Boxes, as I like to call them, have been super helpful for taming all the baby items. I have three boxes labeled, “For Next Baby Stuart” (something that Maggie used but is too old for now), “To Donate” (for items I didn’t use and don’t want for future kids), and “Maggie” (her own box full of all her special sentimental items… the masks from the c-section, cards we received after her birth, hospital bracelets, etc.). Even though these boxes were empty for a while, it’s nice that they were there when I was ready to put things away.
So that’s it! These are my little “secrets,” and so far, things are working out pretty well. I’m sure things will get more complicated when Maggie starts wobbling around, but for now, here are our tricks of the trade. Anyone else have ideas too good not to share?