You’ve always known that time is a commodity, but never has that felt as true as in the first few months after you have a baby. Babies eat so often that you feel like your day is broken into 2-3-hour chunks. You’re tied to your watch, and the day can seem to drag, but it can also feel like you had no time to finish anything important. So how do you “get it all done” as a new parent? The truth is, no parent gets it all done, but with these time-saving parenting hacks, you can get more done than you think.
New babies always want to be attached to their parents. Since being close to your skin and hearing your heartbeat is great for bonding, there’s no reason to stress yourself out—and them—by having them scream in their playpen while you try to get the dishes done. Embracing babywearing can allow you to get some chores done around the house while also snuggling and bouncing your baby. This can help them feel safer in their new home and help keep your blood pressure down. Not sure where to start with babywearing? Check out this guide to the best baby carriers on the market.
Invest in an Instant Pot
As a new parent, my instant pot literally changed my life. Crockpot meals are great, but if you didn’t happen to plan dinner at the beginning of the day, an instant pot can give you that same “cooked all day” taste in a fraction of the time. You can even have your spouse stop at the store on their way home from work to pick up the ingredients you need. While you’ll ultimately want to get back to meal prep at some point, liberal use of the instant pot in the early months of bringing your baby home can at least ensure you’re getting some nutrients into your system rather than relying on take-out Chinese and frozen pizza. Still on the fence? Check out these super-fast instant pot recipes!
Have Multiple Diaper Stations
One of the best things you can do for yourself—and your sanity—is to have 2-3 places that are set up to change your baby. We’re talking changing mat, wipes, diapers, a diaper genie, and a few changes of clothes at each location. If you live in a multi-story home, you at least want one changing station on each floor. This can make changing the diaper efficient no matter what else you’re doing in your house, and can prevent the mindset “I can’t go downstairs and get XYZ done because all the baby’s stuff is up here.”
Wash Your Clothes with Baby’s Clothes
Most parents of newborns use a gentle detergent on their child’s clothes, but since they don’t need to use that more expensive detergent on their own clothes, they tend to do twice as many loads of laundry. If you want to save time, do one load per day—wash, dried, folded, and put away—and wash your clothes and baby’s clothes in the same natural detergent. Though it’s a little more expensive to buy detergent that way, you end up making up the cost by paying less on water, and you definitely make up the time. Doing a full load a day can also help you stay on top of the laundry. Just get into a routine: Throw a load in when you get up in the morning, switch it to the dryer during baby’s nap, and then fold it at night while you’re watching TV.
Choose 3 Things to Do Each Day
You’re definitely going to take care of your baby, but in addition to that, choose three things every day that you’re going to get done no matter what. Keep them simple at first—maybe you just need to take a shower, wash some dishes, and read a chapter in a book. Having a simple to-do list with 3 easy tasks on it can keep you from getting overwhelmed and freezing in your anxiety. Then, when baby is down for a nap or happily entertained, you know exactly what to do. The best way to pick three things each day is to choose 1 thing for your household, 1 thing for your self-care, and 1 thing for your mental health.
Know That “Done is Better Than Perfect”
One of the best new-mom mottos I’ve ever heard is “done is better than perfect.” What does that mean? It means that if I don’t have time to fold a load of laundry, I throw it into the right drawers unfolded, and we figure it out later. It means that if I don’t have time to make myself a full lunch, I dump some peanuts and some baby carrots onto a plate and call it a day. Done is better than perfect is a way of admitting there are certain things that NEED to get done, but that they don’t have to be done to your usual exacting standards. Eating is not optional, but having an Instagram-worthy Bento-box meal is. So instead of deciding that you don’t have time for lunch, realize that you don’t have time for a perfect lunch—but you definitely have time to grab a quick bite to keep your energy levels up and your mood stable.
When you become a parent, your life changes. In many ways, it changes for the better. You quickly become a pro at multi-tasking and at doing twice as much work in half as much time. But even with that newfound skill, you’re taking care of a whole other person, and that’s going to take a huge time investment. Finding ways to cut down on the time you spend doing other activities is necessary—and not as impossible as it may seem those first few days home.