Re: Working moms - How do you do it?
posted at 8/17/2011 10:10 AM EDT
Soxy--I'm sorry you're having a hard time with this. It's REALLY HARD to make it work and you're certainly not alone. The first thing that I will put out there--and you can take it or leave it b/c I don't know you or anything about you--are you depressed? Depression manifests differently in different people and it's VERY COMMON after having a baby. I have two year old twins, and for a few months fairly recently I was just all over the place. I was late to everything, forgetful, and completely disorganized and just feeling "blah" all around (not sad/depressed, just "blah"). Usually I'm completely on top of things, on time or early for everything, planning in advance, playing out all possible scenarios in my head ahead of time so I'll be prepared for whatever comes up, but I just couldn't get it together anymore for some reason. I've been seeing a therapist for mild depression off and on for years, so she knows me pretty well at this point. I had never been on medication for the depression and my therapist had never recommended it. BUT, after consistently being late (not just a couple minutes...like, 15 or 20 minutes) to my appointments with her for a couple of months and just talking about my new-found flakiness in our sessions, she suggested that I go on medication for depression. I told her I'd think about it--and at my next session, we talked about it some more and I decided to try it. I've been on it for a few months now, and all of the "focusing" problems I was having are gone and I feel like I'm back to my old self. I'm on a fairly low dose, but it's been enough. Anyway, what I'm reading in your post reminded me of me not too long ago, so I wanted to put it out there as something to consider.
In any case, it's really critical to do everything the night before. Have everything ready and in the fridge and/or by the door. You can even put some things out in the car the night before to shave off another minute or two in the morning. Keep a list next to the door, and don't leave until you're sure you have EVERYTHING.
Bathtime--do you do it every night? For a baby, you can probably cut that down to 2 or 3 times a week (or even less). They really don't need to bathe everyday. If it's something he likes and you enjoy and you have time, then you can do it more often, but this is something you can cut down on. We did baths on Friday night, Sunday night, and one other night during the week...usually Wednesday.
Get up earlier. (Yeah, I know...I am NOT a morning person at all and used to think that anything earlier than 10 am on the weekends or 8 am on weekdays was just sadistic.) Even 10 or 15 minutes can make a difference and cut down on the morning chaos.
Dinner. Do your grocery shopping on the weekend. You don't mention DH or DS's father, so I don't know if he's around, but it makes a difference in my advice. If DH is around, one of you can go out during naptime on Saturday or Sunday and do all your shopping for the week. If DH isn't around, try going first thing in the morning on Saturday or Sunday. It's usually a bit quieter and will be easier to get it done faster. DS will probably enjoy looking around at all the various-colored packaging and seeing other people. During the week, after DS is in bed, one of you can prepare dinner while the other works on getting things ready for the next day. You can also try to make a few things ahead of time on the weekends and stick them in the fridge or freezer to throw in the oven during the week. Even cutting up vegetables ahead of time makes dinner prep go faster during the week. Two words: crock pot. If you don't have one, get one. Throw everything in it the night before, stick it in the fridge. In the morning, pull it out, plug it in, set the timer, and when you come home, you'll have a hot meal ready and waiting for you. Always double or triple the amount of food you usually make. Eat what you normally eat and then freeze the rest so you can eat it when you just don't feel like cooking.
Bedtime routine--if DH is around, you should start alternating nights. The person who isn't doing bedtime can have little time to him/herself to regroup and relax. It's amazing what 15 minutes of alone-time can do for one's mental health.
Also, there's a website: www.flylady.net
that's got a great philosophy and method for getting and staying organized, keeping the house reasonably clean, etc. I don't follow it religiously...or even agnostically, for that matter, but the message is very empowering and it's very do-able. You don't have to do it all, all the time. Just doing a little bit can make a difference. Simply cleaning your kitchen sink in the evenings can do wonders for your mental health and sense of accomplishment (who knew?). In any case, it's worth having a look to see if any of her suggestions are helpful to you.
Take care and don't compare yourself to others or think they have it all together. They don't. They've just developed coping mechanisms and organizational skills to make it look easy.
Hang in there. You can do this.