Life With Baby: How to Get Everything Done

During the first year or two of being a parent, you will likely have many moments where you feel you just cannot do everything you need to do. In addition to all your old responsibilities, including work duties, chores, and family obligations, you now have to tend to a helpless child’s every need, which can be a full-time job in itself.  But if you take advice from people who have been through it before and also find your own ways of coping, you will find that balancing parenting with everything else, while difficult, is not impossible. Life can be manageable. If you feel unsure how to cope with all the things you have to do, here are some tips to keep in mind. Do not skimp on rest: You might feel that what you need more than anything right now is time, but while there are some time-consuming things that you can sometimes forgo, sleep is not one of them. When you get enough sleep, the time you do have is more productive and you are able to be a better parent. Sure, you may never sleep as much and as restfully as you did before becoming a parent, but you do need that nightly rejuvenating rest. Share the load: Every family’s situation is different. Some are able to have both parents taking on more or less equal roles during the child’s early years, while some situations require that one parent do much more of the hands-on parenting than the other. Whatever your situation, make sure that both grownups in the household are doing everything they can. And if you are in a single-parent household, do not be afraid to ask for help from those who are close to you. Do not be hard on yourself: Once you become a parent, there are certain things that you just have to be a little more relaxed about. In the past, you might have enjoyed having an impeccably cleaned and ordered house that showed no hints of dust or clutter. Now, however, you might have to let a little bit of chaos creep in around the corners. If you have to choose between getting some rest and dusting the living room, get the rest you need first, and figure out the dusting later. Let baby entertain herself: Of course, it is imperative that you always make sure your child is safe, which means keeping her supervised at all times, but there are things you can do to get tasks done without giving the baby your full, direct attention. Playpens are useful for this, or you can create an area of one of your rooms that is safe and blocked off from the rest of the house. Then, you can perform some other tasks in the same room while watching the baby out of the corner of your eye. If she does not take to this independent play at first, keep giving her practice, and keep trying different toys. Build a routine: Babies can be unpredictable during the early months of their lives, but toward the one-year-old mark, your child should begin to develop patterns of eating and sleeping. Once this routine is in place, managing everything becomes much easier because you know what to expect and you know when you will have time to do things and roughly how much time that will be. You will also learn which times of day your child is better at independent play. Do not take things too seriously: As long as your baby is happy and healthy and you are getting all the most essential things done, there is no need to despair. Learn to laugh at your new busy lifestyle, and cultivate a relaxed attitude toward things that are not truly important. Give it time: Parenting may always be a bit of a juggling act, but you will grow more comfortable with time. All parents do. Eventually, this busy way of life will come to seem perfectly normal, and you will develop a sense of peace with it. For now, take it one day at a time, and you might be surprised by how much better you feel about your situation in another month or two. By Jamell Williams