Feel like you can never get things done while taking care of your baby? Caring for and raising babies is hard work that takes up the majority of our time. It’s difficult, but so worth it.
During the baby stage, it can be incredibly difficult to be super productive. At least, as most people would define productive!
Between feeding, diaper changes, naps, and resting yourself, there tends to be very few minutes available to get things done.
For many new moms, being unable to get things done leaves them feeling overwhelmed, unproductive, and unhappy. If you find yourself feeling like this, give yourself some grace.
While this is a new and difficult phase of your life, you can still learn to get things done effectively with a few well placed habits and strategies.
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Being Productive With A Baby
Let’s talk productivity. It’s absolutely possible to be productive after having a baby. But for most moms, we need to take a step back and reevaluate how we measure productivity.
Girl, you spent nine months growing this little one in your womb, birthed it (which is no small thing!), and now are learning to care for another tiny human.
That in and of itself is productive. Anything else is just extra icing on the cake.
Our culture likes to pressure us to “bounce back.” To get back in shape as soon as possible, and accomplish all the same tasks as before without any account for our new responsibilities. It’s time for us to redefine productivity for moms.
Before we go any further, you need to know this: you are productive!
You are accomplishing great things every time you pick your baby up, every time you feed her and change another diaper.
For the rest of your life, you will accomplish great things that will never show up on paper. Rest in the knowledge that it is there, even if you can’t see the fruit of it right now.
With that in mind, let’s talk about a few things you can do to help you get your to-do list tasks checked off.
Getting Things Done During The Newborn Stage
If you’re not in the newborn stage, you may want to skip down to the next section of this post. But I’d encourage you to still read, because some of the things I’m about to say will still apply even if your little one isn’t a newborn.
But I want to talk about the newborn stage separately, because this stage is really it’s own beast to tackle.
Life with a newborn, especially as a first time mom, is a mash of so many different emotions and experiences. It’s hard, and wonderful, and exhausting, all at the same time.
During this time, I’d encourage you to not worry about how productive you are or not. Take this time to enjoy your new child, and let others help out with the rest.
Take time to heal
The most important thing you need to remember during the newborn and postpartum stage is to take time to heal. Far too many of us fail to give our bodies adequate time to heal and recuperate.
We live in a culture where we’re pressured to “bounce back” as soon as possible. In reality, we ought to be celebrating what our bodies have accomplished.
And part of that is honoring the process of healing—which takes a lot longer than most of us give time for.
Resist the urge to get caught up in all the things you “have to do.” Take time to rest, replenish your body, and enjoy this time with your little one.
Give yourself grace
Girl, give yourself some grace. Stop feeling guilty about what you haven’t done, and give yourself the grace to do what you need to do in the moment. Rest, relax, enjoy, heal.
As I’m sure you’ll soon discover, moms have the tendency to feel guilty over everything. Often, things completely outside their control.
One thing you don’t need to feel guilty about is setting your to do list aside. Especially with a newborn!
Stop stressing about the laundry. Stop stressing about the piles of dishes, or the toy explosion in the living room.
Do what you can, and give yourself grace for the rest.
Focus on one task per day
Now, it’s worth noting that for some of us, getting things done helps with our mental health. And considering how important mental health is postpartum, it’s okay to try to do some things if it helps you.
Just remember to give yourself grace. If nothing gets done today, let it go and try again tomorrow.
As you ease back into productivity, focus on completing just one task per day. Maybe that means taking a shower, or washing the dishes, or starting a load of laundry.
Whatever it is, give yourself permission to do just one thing per day. If you get more done, great! If not, give yourself credit for completing your one task.
Remember, be gentle with yourself. Even if you aren’t a first time mom, every baby is different. With every baby, life will change and you will adjust.
Helpful Tips To Get Things Done With A Baby
Trying to be productive with a baby is one of the hardest things new moms have to learn.
It’s difficult to juggle a baby and get things done at the same time. This is especially true for those of us who have infants who love to be held.
Don’t worry—you can still be productive even with a clingy child. All you need is a few well placed strategies to help you out.
1. Get your hands free
If possible, try to get your hands free for a bit every day. I know, this may sound impossible for those with stage five clingers.
But having your hands free doesn’t necessarily mean you have to lay your little one down or get them to sleep by themselves.
Here are four ways you can get your hands free without waiting for nap time.
Is your baby happy to sit in a baby swing for a bit? Baby swings are literal life savers, and definitely among my top must have items for moms!
When Elijah was a baby, I would set him up in his Ingenuity swing every morning while I made myself breakfast and got ready for the day. He loved to watch the elephant mobile and listen to the music on his swing.
Thankfully, he was perfectly content to watch and listen and talk to his mobile, long enough for me to have a good start to my day.
Later on in the day, I would often set him in it again while I got dinner ready and cleaned up around the apartment.
Baby rocker or bouncer
Baby rockers or bouncers are another great way to entertain baby and get your hands free. I personally liked to use the rocker that detached from our baby swing.
Setting Elijah up in the rocker was a great way for me to sneak a shower. The rocker easily fit inside our bathroom, so I could get cleaned up while still keeping a close eye on him.
It was also a great solution for when he wanted to be closer to me while I was doing things.
Ring sling or baby carrier
Of course, some babies just aren’t happy unless they’re being held. And that’s okay! Wanting that close contact is a perfectly normal and healthy thing for a baby.
Just be sure to read all instructions and ensure you situate your baby correctly within whatever carrier you choose to use.
Carrying a baby incorrectly can be harmful, especially for newborns. Always make sure you know how to use your baby carrier or sling!
If possible, be sure to make use of any help you may have! Get your spouse and family members involved in holding the baby when possible.
Doing so not only frees you up to do other things, but it also allows your family to bond with the baby as well. And that’s just as important!
If you don’t have family nearby to help you, you might consider hiring someone to help you out for a few hours a week.
A babysitter could look after your baby, or you could hire someone to help you out with whatever tasks need done.
2. Make use of nap times
Alright, this one might seem contradictory to everyone’s favorite advice to “sleep when the baby sleeps.”
Look, if you feel like you need or want to take a nap while your little one is napping, go for it. If your body or mind needs a rest, take it.
And if you’d rather use nap time to do a little self care and enjoy the time, by all means do it.
However, it’s worth noting that you likely won’t feel like doing that every single nap time. Sometimes, it may be more worthwhile to take that free time and get a few things done.
A lot of pressure is put on new moms to do things a certain way. We’re made to feel like we have to balance everything, but also always rest when the baby is sleeping.
I’m giving you permission to use nap times however you see fit. If doing a little cleaning or meal prep will help you mentally feel better, do it. Or if you really just need some time to physically rest or watch some Netflix, do that.
I fully support you using nap times however it serves you best. It’s not a one size fits all answer (few things are).
Whatever you choose to do, I encourage you to be intentional about it. Don’t let the time pass trying to decide what to do. Plan ahead of time, so that when the time comes, you can make the most of it.
3. Enlist help
I’ve already touched on this, but it’s worth saying again. Stop being afraid to ask for help!
We’ve allowed ourselves to get sucked into this idea that moms have to do it all, and be it all for everyone, one hundred percent of the time. And it’s a lie.
No one can do everything all the time. Eventually, everything will get done. But stop feeling discouraged if it doesn’t all happen in one day, or week.
Let yourself be vulnerable and ask for help. Ask your spouse, friends, and family to help you when possible.
Asking and receiving help isn’t a sign of weakness. It doesn’t make you a lesser mom. It makes you a mom who knows the valuable of asking for and accepting help.
4. Develop a routine
You really want to get things done with a baby? Find a routine that works for you and your family and stick with it.
I know, when you have a new baby it can feel impossible. But I assure you, it is absolutely possible to have a healthy routine with a baby.
And routines are so good for you and your little one! Routines establish an order to your day, and help your kids feel safe, secure, and confident. They know what’s coming next, and so do you.
Having a good routine also allows you to stop wasting time and get more done. You’ll be surprised at how much more productive you are when good rhythms in your day.
For me, I got into a routine early with Elijah when he was little. While our daily routine has adjusted as our needs have changed, the fact remains that we like to have a routine.
For me, my morning routine helps me get going and get a lot more done during my day. I also tend to feel much better!
5. Recognize that you don’t have to do everything
Stop whatever you’re doing, and take a deep breath. Ask yourself if this is truly something you personally need to do.
Much like asking for help, moms often have the tendency to feel like they personally have to do all the things.
This often spawns from feeling mom guilt when others do the chores we’ve mentally assigned as our responsibility.
Too often, we have in our mind that everything in the household is our responsibility. From taking care of kids, to grocery shopping, to cleaning and cooking, the list goes on and on. And that’s not counting commitments we’ve made outside the home.
The reality is, you aren’t solely responsible for keeping your household running. Marriage and parenthood is a team effort, with equal responsibility.
Too often we assume our spouse is responsible for bringing in the income, while everything else falls on our plate. And that’s not necessarily true.
Parenting is a full time job, as is running a household. Learn to share jobs and allow others to assist you in yours.
It’s okay for others to help. It’s okay to assign chores and delegate responsibilities. As long as it gets done in the end, it’s okay if it wasn’t you who did it.
Are You Productive With A Baby?
Do you consider yourself productive as a mom of a baby? If we’re being honest, I think a lot of us struggle to feel that we are.
But keep in mind, that there are so many productive things we do that never show up on a checklist. Remember to give yourself grace and be gentle with yourself.
Do the best you can, and be okay with it.