New parents are faced with many interesting challenges that you can never really be totally prepared for. Sleep deprivation, pain and stress are all factors that new parents have to deal with while at the same time caring for a newborn and trying to work out a better way for managing their time. If you are a parent, you understand how trying it is to feel like you have to do so much but are only able to do a little. As a new parent, how can you manage your time better? Here are a few suggestions:
If you are reading this article before the baby arrives, then you should be working on tying up loose ends around the house and doing all that you can to prepare for taking a few days off from the regular rigors of life. If you do not have the luxury of preparation time and you are already suffering from sleep deprivation, try to organize your activities the best way that you can. You can organize your time by taking cues from the baby and by having a list of things to do for the day. For example, you should sleep while the baby sleeps so that you are not exhausted and unable to function. During the times when you have just slept and have a few minutes to take care of business, have a list that you can cross off items from. Not only do “to-do” lists help you to remember the things that you need to get done, but by crossing off tasks from that list you can see all that you have accomplished that day.
Make whatever you need to do at a particular moment a priority. If you are given a chance to rest, don’t allow yourself to lay awake in bed worried about the things that you should be doing. At this moment, sleeping should be your priority, and all else can wait until you are up again. The same concept applies to waking hours. Think of the activity that is most important to do now, and just do it.
Don’t waste time on insignificant activities
Many parents, especially mothers, see sleeping as a waste of time. Think of all the things that we all could get done if we cut back on the hours we spend sleeping! Sure you could stay up all night cleaning, cooking and doing other chores, but honestly, how much use do you think you will be to your family the next day? This is not logical, and we need sleep in order to be most productive. Insignificant activities would include things like watching TV, obsessing over a perfectly clean house, lying awake worried about things that you cannot control, etc. There simply isn’t a place in a new parent’s busy schedule for such things, and if you catch yourself wasting time on insignificant activities, redirect your attention to something more productive.
Establish a schedule
Establishing a schedule for a new baby in the first couple of weeks may be difficult, but eventually your newborn will want to be on some type of regular routine. Children find security in knowing what they will be doing from day to day. You can help the establishment of a schedule by encouraging your baby to be awake during as many hours of the day as you find are appropriate. Establish a feeding schedule, where feeding times are more often during the day than they are at night. Make sure night time is a time of dim lights and quiet talk. Children will naturally be drawn to following the changes that you make, but you must be determined to stick to that new schedule despite protests. Eventually you will have some regularity to your day and you will find that you can better manage your time that way.