Women get busy the moment their pregnancy tests read positive. There is a barrage of tests, diets to be observed and baby’s room to be decorated. Once baby arrives, free time becomes precious. This column seeks to bring some order to one’s life after baby arrives and life’s distractions and to-do’s multiply and unfold before our eyes.
Early Life: Breastfeeding Bliss
One of the best ways a new mum can spend her time more efficiently is to breastfeed. Nursing can make life simpler because, after, albeit, intensive few months of constant feeding, mum and baby establish a rhythm, which comes at about five months or earlier. This rhythm frees you to take care of the essentials: take a shower, prepare dinner, nail the bills – or just plan your day. This rhythm equates to being on a schedule, which helps you maximize your time. Baby feeds, then rests, and then you can rest too, or choose to do a task. As baby grows, the rhythm is further defined; you introduce solid foods and nursing becomes a side line. Another time saver: you’ll never have to buy costly formula or be afraid you’ll run out. And breastfed babies are healthier overall. So what is, in the beginning, a way to economize on time by establishing a rhythm and a schedule, becomes the healthiest way to raise a child.
Power Break: Time to Clear Your Head
To help you power through your day more efficiently, you may need a break at night. Set aside a night every week or two with friends. Keeping this option open will help you feel less like a busy mum and more a part of a community.
After-school Programs: Down Time for You
To manage after school time more efficiently, mums have more choices than ever to enrol their children in after-school programs (Think: The Boys and Girls Club). Programs, like these, give mums a respite from their busy day and provide an excellent setting for early socialization. In some cases, children can even walk to the programs or buses are provided for them.
The Playdate Exchange
Playdates can also give you a much-needed break to do what you need to do. Dropping off your child for a two-hour playdate after school can be a welcome respite. And you can reciprocate when you are less overwhelmed.
Learning to Study: Productive Time – for You and Your Child
Before you know it, your child will be in first grade and will be introduced to daily homework. Try not to think of this as being a busy time; it’s productive time – the time when you and your child will accomplish a lot together. While this period can be felt like a more complex time, because the child needs your intellectual attention to be successful at an early age, there’s an easy and sensible way to approach it to maximize your time: Immediately after school, with a snack by his side, sit next to your child at the dining room table. Bring your checkbook to do your bills, or your own work. This move is good for two reasons: One, it models “stamina”; your child sees you working so s/he is more inclined to learn how to sit and work, too. And it actually gets some of your work off your plate so you are less busy overall.
Prepare at Night for the Morning
Help your child choose what to wear the night before, and your mornings should go more smoothly. It’s the same with the backpack: Make sure it’s packed with the evening’s homework, so the only thing left is to slip in lunch.
The College Applications Process
One of the most challenging times in your child’s life will be the admissions process. You can use your time efficiently by taking your child on the school tour, but to free up your time, hire someone to help your child do the applications if he cannot manage himself. This will free up literally hundreds of hours.
*This post is a collaboration. Paula is young mommy and successful freelance writer at http://homeworkcenter.net/. In addition, she is writing, reading, and healthy lifestyle addicted. You are welcome to follow her on Facebook or Twitter*