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Hello, 2017! I am SO behind on blogging, and it’s a couple of weeks late for a New Year post, but the end of 2016 was busy, and this year doesn’t seem to be slowing its roll.
In my first full year of motherhood, I finally started feeling able to better balance life as a new, first-time mom … and then …
I added more onto my plate …
- Launching this blog!
- Writing two published articles (Momming It, Year One: 12 Months of Unexpected Realizations and On Surviving My Toddler’s First Month of Preschool ).
- Saying “goodbye” to the convenience of a nanny and “hello” to the new, and decidedly less convenient (albeit less expensive), world of preschool for our toddler.
- Teaming up with my talented mom to launch a line of adoption-inspired gifts.
BUT, I also did some things that made life easier …
- I left the comfort of my well-paying job of nearly 10 years and took a pay cut so I could focus on and enjoy motherhood just a little bit more, taking on a new gig that allows me to work fewer hours, be closer to home and have a less-demanding work role. I work 32 hours (technically still a full-time job!) and have Fridays off to spend with C. The new workplace is close enough for me to come home during lunch one or two days a week and do whatever needs to be done — dinner prep, laundry started, etc. A year later, I can’t say I’m exactly where I ultimately want to be, but it has definitely made life easier and has been worth the dock in pay.
- I started making lists for my husband. I’ve said it before: I am terrible at asking for help. Because I’m a Type A lunatic (also said before) who wants things done her way. Because I’ve always been able to do it all, why not now, damn it?! Because I have guilt about my pay cut and working fewer hours and having a shorter commute while hubby trudges downtown every day. I’m having to learn to let go of these things, and long story short, jotting down a few requests for hubby just feels easier than vocalizing them. Instead of a “Honey-Do” list, I humorously call mine a “Bae, Please” list, and I even made my own Bae, Please clipboard on Zazzle and Bae, Please printables for free download here. LOL!
- I started working out during my lunch break. I was a runner before baby. I loved the solitude of running and hiking on the beautiful trails near our home. While we still go for walks, I don’t love running and maneuvering a jogging stroller (no matter how great my BOB may be) and a 60-pound dog. So I took up a 50-minute pilates reformer class close to work twice a week during my lunch break. It feels like my only time to dedicate to fitness, and it has helped tremendously with my stress level and recurring shoulder pain. When we go for walks, I also stop a few times to do lunges and step-ups on the park benches. Point is, get creative about making time for stress relief as a mom — it’s so important!
- I deleted the Facebook app from my phone. OK, this was an effort to step away from the political minefield that was the election and its ongoing aftermath, but the unexpected benefit was me realizing how much time it truly sapped from my life, and how mindlessly turning to it throughout the day made me less mindful of my time with my family. I still get on my laptop occasionally to stay up to date with friends, and daily at work, because, it’s what I do for a living. But I don’t miss the app. Not one bit! I feel more productive and better able to stop and spend the quality time I want with Baby C.
- I upped my meal-prepping game. A busy life is made extra hard when you have a special or healthy diet. I follow a Paleo diet as closely as I can, because during our infertility journey, we discovered I am insulin resistant, and I refuse to take diabetes medication for the rest of my life. So, I generally can’t just pick up packaged foods and throw them in the oven for us. So I cook. I bake healthy muffins and freeze them for Baby C’s meals (including some Paleo versions that I can eat). I rely heavily on my pressure/slow cooker for simple meals. I double recipes when I can and freeze a portion so I’m getting two meals for one. You get the idea. I hope to have time to share more meal prepping ideas here in the future.
- I stopped using cloth diapers. Sorry, Mother Earth. I tried. I really did. But they leak on Baby C no matter what, and I had to abandon the frustration (and extra laundry). This is just one example of a decision I really didn’t want to have to make, but sometimes you just have to give up and go with what makes life easier for you as a mom. For what it’s worth, I am hard core about recycling and reusable anything, including my reusable baby wipes.
- I plan more, and on paper. I really found that there was just too much going on in my brain as a new mom to remember everything, and my phone and work calendar just weren’t cutting it for keeping track anymore. So I went old-school and started carrying a paper planner, where I plan out my week, including meals and errands. I use the notes pages to list ongoing or long-term tasks and goals that I feel like I will never get to, but it’s good to see them constantly.
- I fell in love with the Wunderlist app. OK, I know this sounds contradictory to the above, but this app is wonderful for meal prepping and shopping for my family. You can create shopping or to-do lists, and share them with your hubby, or whomever, so they can contribute. We have a “meals” lists with our favorite dinners listed, and each week we both go through and star items we might be craving. This helps me tremendously with planning meals for the week (because one of my least favorite things is deciding what we will eat all week). We also share and can add to lists for the various places we shop. Now, using your phone to shop has its own risks, and having almost lost my iPhone way too many times, I now use and highly recommend this little gem to attach to your shopping cart. You’re welcome.
Of course, I have a long list of goals for 2017 that will probably make life more complicated and busy. But hey, this is how we grow, right? I’m always looking for ways to streamline life and fit more of the good stuff in. I would LOVE to hear what makes your life easier as a mom. Message me or comment below!