Posts Tagged ‘schedules’

Life-Life Balance

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

I have discovered a secret about motherhood that I’m a little worried might not ACTUALLY be a secret. Maybe every single other mom already knows and I’ve just been lalalalaing my way through the past 3+ years.

Having a schedule makes me better at my job.

I was going to say “makes me a better mom” but it’s more than that. I’m better at managing my time, I’m better at feeding everyone healthy food, I’m more interested in playing blocks and reading stories, my house is in better shape and I sleep better at night. A schedule is like the opposite of kryptonite to this SuperMom. Sunlight. Sunlight is what made Superman strong, right?

After I left/lost my job when I was pregnant with Evan, I realized I needed to fill my time with something besides couch naps and daytime TV. I spent hours redecorating the house, painting the entire second floor and third floor. I blogged like it was my job. I baked a lot. But “busy” is not the same as a schedule and giving birth made it worse. At home with a newborn I was just trying to SURVIVE. It took almost 5 months before I could even commit to showing up at a breastfeeding support group regularly. Since then we’ve added a lot of activities and favorite places – Stroller Strides, gymnastics, the zoo, the aquarium, playdates, whatever – but none of those are mandatory and/or took up more than a couple hours a week.

But now we have SCHOOL. And don’t tell me it’s not mandatory – my kid might read this blog one day and I have told him quite firmly going to school is The Law and Mr. Policeman would be very angry if he doesn’t go. It structures our week. It gives me a few hours during which Getting Shit Done is much, much easier so Shit Gets Done. Laundry, check! Cleaning under the couch, check! Setting up the DVR for all the fall shows, check! Organizing the kids’ dressers with fall transition clothes and dropping off old, outgrown, non-favorite stuff at Goodwill! I’ve only got 2.5 hours so prepare for some of the fastest sock-sorting you’ve ever seen. I could win the sock-sorting OLYMPICS.

For the first time in more than 3 years I have to say “Let me check my calendar” before committing to stuff because I might actually have somewhere to BE at 11 am on a Tuesday. My phone is set up with alerts like “bake for bake sale” and “preschool open house” and “switch laundry to dryer” and I love it. When I wake up in the morning with a sense of purpose – especially a purpose that requires me to put on pants and be out the door in 2 hours – I don’t get to 5 pm and think “oops, there goes another day”.

I suspect this is part of why people say being a stay-at-home-mom is so hard. It IS hard to spend your entire day taking care of small humans who don’t appreciate it in any way. It’s hard and thankless and frustrating and repetitive. It’s easy to fall into a “who cares?” pattern when it comes to the state of your hair and your floors and your life. I’m not saying there aren’t amazing, super, awesome, fun moments too. There are. Every day. But if you look at parenting as one big long stretch, those first few years as a SAHM are an endless blob of unstructured time, with days and nights often running right into each other and pants being worn for far too many days in a row.

Maybe I’m still in the preschool honeymoon period and pretty soon I’ll realize all this driving back and forth and remembering snack for Special Helper Day and avoiding PTA phone calls is for the birds, but until then I’m really enjoying only dragging ONE screaming child around Target and mopping the floors more than once every decade.

…Although right now I’m using the time mostly to deal with the Saddest Teething Baby Even In The Whole World Who Is Getting Her Two Year Molars Or At Least I Hope So Because Otherwise She’s Just Turned Into A Huge Jerk.

caroline in an apple orchard

Don’t let her fool you – she flounced off and pouted under this tree for like 10 minutes because I wouldn’t let her eat a rotten apple off the ground. WORST. MOTHER. EVER.

 

You can sleep when you’re…bored to death with all this nighttime schedule talk

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

While E was out of town for a couple nights, I decided it was time to make a few adjustments to the baby’s nighttime schedule. (Changes go a lot better when I implement them myself and declare a new Baby Law.) As much as I loved our cuddles and the ease of nursing the baby without getting out of bed, this 7 month old little monster child is NOT the sweet little baby who snuggles. This one kicks and squirms and thrashes and the other night he stuck his fingers up my nose, Three Stooges style. Let me tell you, that is at the top of the list of uncomfortable ways to wake up, right behind with a car on top of you.

So I sat Baby Evan down and explained it was time for him to sleep in his own room, he agreed, and we lived happily ever after. AHAHAHAHA if only babies were that easy, I’d have a dozen more. The first thing I did was move our entire bedtime routine upstairs – bath in the bathtub instead of the sink, nursing in the nursery instead of on the couch. I also decided it was time to do away with the swaddle, in the hopes that he wouldn’t wake up trying to break free. And the third thing I did was drag out the Baby Go To Sleep music cd I tried months ago but never really seemed to work. I’ve also been trying to convince Baby Evan that the blue blanket my mother-in-law knit for him is his lovie (or as I called mine, Favorite Blankie) so it can take over some of the comforting during the night.

Pretty much the only thing my The Baby Books agree on is that infant sleep cycles are only 90 minutes, and ever hour and a half babies wake, check their surroundings and resettle. The “resettle” part is the key word in that sentence, because according to The Books, I have created some Bad Habits with my baby and breaking those Bad Habits means anything from 4 nights of screaming to 8 weeks of sleep deprivation to three more years of getting kicked in the kidneys all night. I have not allowed my baby to learn to resettle – because of the swaddle and the rocking or nursing to sleep – and now I must pay the price. Luckily for me, my baby didn’t read The Books and has no idea he’s supposed to torture me for my poor planning. Letting him sleep unswaddled allows him to literally check his surroundings at night, rolling around to get comfortable or scratch his nose or get closer to his blanket. Playing the Baby Go To Sleep cd while we rock him to sleep and setting it to repeat all night is enough of a reminder that it’s bedtime (and as a bonus it drowns out a lot of the tossing and turning noises so I can sleep more). And now he’s nursing just when he’s hungry instead of using me as a pacifier all. night. long.

While he was sharing our room, I was getting about 4-5 total hours of sleep. That is definitely not enough for a functional human being, unless you are currently the parent of a baby who sleeps even less than that, in which case I am so, so sorry. With the baby in the nursery last night, I slept EIGHT HOURS, even including getting up to nurse at 2 am and getting up to bring the baby to bed at 5 am, where he slept happily until 8:30. I’m not banishing the baby from our bed permanently – I’m not even taking down the co-sleeper yet – because when he’s teething/having a growth spurt/reaching a developmental milestone our night schedule might could will change again. And I’m dealing with a little bit of attachment-parenting guilt for choosing my sleep over maintaining a family bed. But after 7 months of exhaustion, I think even the most ardent attachment parenting expert would agree it’s time for a change.

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