Once you have a baby, your schedule will never be the same. A baby constantly demands parents’ time and resources. Yet parents are still responsible for all of the same obligations that they had before, even with the addition of a little one to care for. You are not alone if parenthood has put you in a difficult spot. The majority of new parents have a difficult time staying on top of their schedules and the new addition to their family.
The fact of the matter is that the first few days are the hardest, and you may struggle well into the first few weeks, but eventually you will regain control of your life, and both you and your baby will be happiest when there is a schedule to follow. Children thrive when given schedules that they can depend on. Part of feeling secure is knowing what the day will hold. When a child can count on you to give them meals, naps, diaper changes and bedtime, for example, at the same times every day, they feel like their world is under control, and they feel more at peace and assured.
The same can be said for parents. Parents need to know what they need to do in a given day in order to make sure that it gets done. Most people find ways of scheduling their time. Some write lists; others have appointment books, and some jot down notes on calendars. Yet all these methods are changed when we have a new baby that we must accommodate. What are parents to do when they cannot always accurately predict when and what the needs of a new baby will be?
There is no sure way to stay on top of everything in your schedule and to take care of a new baby at the same time. Most people are forced to make some very difficult decisions about things that they must prioritize and give up in order to take care of a new baby. Many recreational activities are the first ones to be eliminated. Parents are often left with time to do only the essential things in life that are needed in order to survive. Yet with some creativity and smart time management, there are ways of integrating some much needed recreation into a busy new parent’s schedule.
If you are part of a couple and have a mate who is willing to help care for the child, ideally both of you would work together to take care of the needs of the child while giving each other some much needed time to yourselves. For example, mom can be given a chance to catch up on doing the things she needs and wants to do on the weekends, while dad is allowed to take time to go to work and have fun sometime during the week.
If you are not able to have the help of another person in your house, you may need to ask someone for help. Help from others after first having a baby is almost a necessity. Family members, friends, and neighbors can all help with chores around the house, cooking meals, or other tasks that you find you cannot do alone. You may also consider hiring someone who can help you for a couple of days each week.
The point is that staying on top of your schedule when you have a new baby is often a task for more than one person. Unless you are willing or able to cut back on the things that you are responsible for, finding help in different ways is often the best option.
Prioritization was mentioned earlier and still remains a key factor in keeping on top of your schedule. However it is important to assign an appropriate amount of “priority” to the things that bring us joy. Sometimes an entire day doing nothing but spending time with your new baby is the priority.