I had my first baby recently, and let me tell you, I am completely in love. He is absolutely perfect and I couldn't be happier.
But oh, wow does he demand a LOT of time. Scratch that. Nearly ALL of my time! That's the one thing I did NOT anticipate while I prepared for his arrival. I mean I've been around babies before, so I thought had a pretty good idea what to expect.
The thing is, when it's someone else's baby, eventually you give them back! When you have things you need to do, you hand them back to their parent and get along your way.
Except now I am the parent. It's me. I'm the one that gets handed the baby back.
And the fact that I have things to do? (And believe me, I have a LOT to do!) No matter. Baby don't care! It's up to me to figure out how to juggle the mommy thing AND all the other hats I was wearing before (because I still have all the other commitments in my life). Welcome to new-momma bootcamp!
Time Doesn't Stop!
Honestly, I AM figuring it out. Slowly, but surely. It hasn't been easy, but I wouldn't trade this time for anything in the world. But even though I've been given this new-baby bliss, reality is still a thing. Life continues to move forward, and time hasn't stopped just because he's arrived. I've had to learn to manage him AND my household. Find balance between his needs and everything else around me. And I'll tell you, it hasn't been easy. But it's been (almost) 7 weeks and my baby is growing and my house is still standing. We're making it.
I've been thinking a lot about my time lately. How precious it is. How quickly it seems to be going by. And as the minutes tick away as I watch my precious little one sleep, I consider how I've been spending it. And not just now, but for my whole life. How I've treated this precious gift of time. And I realize, I've learned some things. I've had some fresh inspiration related to this new phase I'm in.
Time is precious.
When we have a lot of something, we tend to squander it. We get a chunk of money and suddenly think we're rich, and blow it all in a few days. Ever hear stories of lottery winners going broke shortly after picking up their winnings? It happens.
I think it's the same with time. We look at the day ahead and think: "Hey! I've got lots of time! I'm ok to ___ (insert whatever time-waster you're prone to here). A few minutes will be just fine!" And then all of sudden you're making dinner and realize the day's almost shot and you've not even started that project you had "all day" to do. Sound familiar? Yup. I've been there.
But having baby suck away almost every minute of my day (I love him, I promise!) I constantly have to think: "I'm only going to have about 20 minutes before the baby wakes up and will need to eat (and I'll be tied down for the next 40 to feed him.) What can I do in 20 minutes?"
I no longer have those long stretches of time like I used to. I can't waste my time away knowing I have an almost unlimited supply of it.
My time is no longer completely my own.
My little one depends on me to be his everything right now. My time is his. Which makes it insanely precious to me right now.
And if I find myself wasting those precious minutes, I ask myself "Is this really how I want to spend these few baby-free minutes I have?" (And sometimes, the answer is Yes!! It's ok to take some personal time sometimes too!) If it's not, it helps drive my motivation to switch gears to something that's a better choice for that moment.
How can I save some time here?
I've always thought of myself as the efficiency queen. I HATE waste. It's my thing. I hate wasting time, wasting resources, wasting energy. I'm constantly trying to find ways to do things faster, smarter, easier. So knowing that my time is so precious, having this baby in my arms for 18+ hours a day (or so it seems) has helped me think of ways to be more efficient with this time. (Because remember, it's so incredibly precious.)
Often the answer is multi-tasking. Doing multiple things at once. Now I'm not talking about task-switching (continually going from one project to another over and over), because that actually wastes more time than it saves (and I don't recommend it). No, I'm talking about doing one task at the same time as another task.
Take today for instance. Baby would not let me put him down. Every single time he fell asleep, if I put him down he'd wake 5 minutes later and cry. He sleeps on my chest fine, but on his own? Yeah, he's not having it. Which is great- I love baby cuddles. Except... I can't do a whole lot when I'm holding him all day.
Solution? I'm typing this right now while holding him in his front-pack. And you guessed it- he's sleeping great. Baby-wearing FTW!
What things can you group together to multi-task or save time? Read a book in the restroom? Answer emails while nursing? Listen to a podcast while cooking dinner?
Yep- I've done every one of these. What things can you try?
What is most important?
Here's the thing: I DO want to hold baby all.the.time. Cuddling him makes me SO happy. I've waited for him to arrive for a lot of years. So I have to force myself to do other things sometimes. Like wash the dishes and fold the laundry. I can't actually hold him all day like I want to. It makes me think twice about the "things" I've put on my to-do list. Is this thing I'm doing (or supposed to be doing) really more important than holding my baby right now? (Most things aren't!) Though yes, the dishes DO need to be washed and the laundry DOES need to be put away, I definitely stop to remind myself that every minute I spend away from him is a minute I'll never get back. A minute he's robbed of mommy-time.
Now I know that putting a sleeping baby down when I need to isn't going to hurt him, and that I don't need to hold him every minute of the day to love him, but I still think it's important to remember that these minutes I used to spend away so frivolously doing things that will never matter long term, these minutes of mine are precious. Every one of them.
And some things are just not as important as others. So really, what is the most important thing in this moment? Is this really how I want to spend this minute?
I hope this gave you some perspective on your time, and that even if you're not a Mom you can see how asking yourself these same questions can help you evaluate how you want to spend it.
Need a reminder to ask yourself these questions? Grab the free printable Mantra cards below. Print them out and post them on your mirror, or use them as a phone backdrop. Use them to start a habit of reflection, and allow yourself to make changes along the way.
MANTRA CARD BUNDLE!
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