For new parents, the first days, weeks and even months of parenthood are filled with unique time management troubles that are difficult to effectively master. In essence, any breastfeeding mother is a slave to the grumbling stomach of her always eating infant, and the father is trying to do all that he can to help his struggling wife while at the same time fulfilling his responsibilities as the breadwinner. The situation becomes even more complicated when a single woman must juggle all of the responsibilities of the household and be up at all hours of the night to take care of a child. Some mothers have felt out of control, overwhelmed, and like there just wasn’t enough time in the day.
Although you may not ever be able to gain back those days of sleep deprivation, there are some ways of better managing your time from this point forward. Below you will find some suggestions for managing your time as new parents.
Know what your priorities are
You have just had a baby, and you would surely agree that the baby is a priority in your life. But you must also remember that the mother is also a priority. The mother has also gone through a traumatic experience. A hospital stay is a serious thing. Mothers need to make sure that they are taking the time that their body needs to heal rather than focusing all energies on the baby. Mothers can do this by making sure to rest while the baby rests. Oftentimes the unpredictable sleeping patterns of a new baby are what frustrate new parents the most. Try to work with that schedule. When baby is awake, do what you would normally do. Some experts suggest that trying to keep baby awake more during the day will help them sleep better at night. Learn how to manage the “awake” time that you have as productively as possible.
It’s alright to say no
It is alright to pass on voluntary activities when you are just starting to figure out a schedule that the whole family, baby included, can work with. You may have other children demanding your time as you try to manage your schedule. If you feel like the demands are too great, do not try to be the super parent by doing everything that anyone asks of you. Learn how to say no. Doing without is what all new parents have to deal with. You cannot realistically be able to put forth the same amount of energy that you had before a new baby was born. Just remember, you are not a bad person if you do not take on all of the responsibilities that are presented to you.
Focus your energy
Time pressures are managed, not necessarily mastered. Sometimes we have to give in to the unexpected events that will take place during the day. The best way to be at peace with what you are able to do in a given amount of time is to focus all your energy on whatever it is that you are doing. When it is time to rest, erase the worries from your mind and rest. When it is time to work, then focus your energy on efficiently spending your time at work. Worrying about all of the other things that you could or should be doing does nothing but waste the time that you have now.
Make a plan and take action
Reading about time management tips for new parents and actually implementing a plan, are two very different things. What types of time saving tools work best for you? Do you do well when all of your appointments are written on a calendar, or would you rather have a list of things you need to do? Take a few minutes each day to think about what you will do differently to improve your feelings about how you manage your time. Time management miracles do not work overnight, but you can be a little better tomorrow than you were today.