How I learned to deal with lack of time {Emotionally} -title changed :)

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby on. Posted in BABY, Daily, LIFE, New Mom Experience

I guess the post titled, “Time Management”, was misleading some people into thinking I’d write some tips, or about how I get things done, so I changed it to a more relevant name. Eventually I might write about what I actually do to manage time in detail, but for this post I wanted to describe the frustration of never having enough time and how I dealt with it from the emotional perspective.

I think the hardest change that motherhood brought for me has been time management. When you’re pregnant, people tell you that you won’t have time and you have a vague idea of what that means, but like with everything in life, you don’t truly understand until you’re there.

Some people have it easier, some people have it harder. If you’re a stay-at-home mom and your baby sleeps perfect 2 hour naps each time, then you probably find yourself with more time on your hands than you did when you were working. But that’s really rare. Most of us are in situations where juggling responsiblities, desires, hobbies and babies is a reality that we have to contend with. Everyone, obviously, deals with it differently. Every person is different in their needs and what issues they have with lack of time, as well as how much their baby allows them to do while asleep and awake, and finally what they are happy with and what the priorities are.

My problem has been that I am used to being very engaged with things I do, having a lot of hobbies, only feeling good when I am productive and get things done. On the other side, I do love to relax, take a bath, sit back with a book ( i love reading), swing in a hammock, listen to music. I didn’t have much problem giving the latter up, though I do miss a good read and a cup of tea once in a while. However, what really bit me in the ass with was not being able to be productive in the sense that I am used to.

I have always had a ton of hobbies and I have been very fast and productive at my job, as well. To switch to something that doesn’t have deadlines, rushes, unlimited work time, no interruptions, and more importantly for me thinking- it was hard. And the hardest thing was to never be able to rely on a certain amount of time that I could dedicate to one task.

I went from a 24 hour day where I could work and do things I wanted virtually at any time of the day and night to 3 naps a day that lasted anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. To me the uncertaintly was the most challenging. What complicated things further is that I refused to do anything but engage with Alexis during her awake time unless she was interested in playing on her own ( which she wasn’t until literally 2 weeks ago).

I would be rocking Lexi to sleep, thinking and planning in my head all the things I was going to do and GET DONE once she is asleep. When I’d get up to put her down and she would wake up, I’d think “Oh that’s alright, I’ll get it all done after I rock her some more”. When I would finally put her down for good, after 4-5 failed attempts, I’d rush to my computer with a massive list of things to do and, before I can even check my email, she’d wake up.

So needless to say, I’ve had very very frustrating days in the beginning. I have to admit I’d get VERY frustrated, because I wasn’t getting anything done and I didn’t think it was appropriate for me to do them when Lexi was up. She needed my attention and my love and my most important job, as a SAHM, was to give that attention to her. What didn’t help matters was that I didn’t have any time in the evenings when most babies go for the night around 6-7pm and sleep relatively well. {Lexi STILL goes to bed around 8-9pm, up for the day at 6am and wakes up often enough that it necessitates that we go to sleep with her so that we could get ANY decent amount of sleep.}

But the resentment kept building. The resentment of the situation where most every other baby “appeared” to have normal 1-2 hour naps and I would fight for 10-20 minutes of nap time. (Since then I’ve met a few moms whose babies need to be rocked to sleep and only nap for 20-30 minutes as well)

I was enjoying rocking Lexi to sleep and spending time with her while she slept, but I wasn’t enjoying not getting things done and feeling completely unproductive. I decided that I had to do something about it. Change the way I thought about the whole situation.

The worst part was not having my expectations met when it came to being “productive” for the day. When I’d expect to get a few things done, but be unable because Lexi would wake up the second I put her down or 5 minutes later. So I told myself to ALWAYS go into her nap time EXPECTING that the first 3 times I put her down, she will wake up right away. Then after that, when I managed to put her down with her still asleep, I would tell myself that I would ONLY be able to open my computer and check my email. Then if I got THAT done and she was still asleep, I’d tell myself that I WILL NOT have time to finish the next task I am about to do. And so on and so forth…

This made A WORLD of a difference in my levels of frustration. I wasn’t setting myself up for failure, I was setting myself up for constant pleasant surprises (” Oh she is still asleep and I can do one more thing?”). Of course, I had to keep reminding myself to think in this new way.

I lived like that managing my expectations for about 4 months and then her naps started evening out. Now I still keep it in the back of my mind that, most likely, I won’t be able to finish what I am doing, but now I get a pretty reliable 30-40 minutes with occasional days where she’ll be up constantly.

My husband and I had also agreed that, for my sanity, I needed 2 hours a day to work on things. So he’d take her for 2 hours when he could, while I would FRANTICALLY try and get stuff done (some work stuff, some accounting, some blogging, some family stuff). This is no longer necessary on most days, but it helped me get over the hump.

Now that she is over 6 months, she can play on her own for a bit. I still refuse to do any computer work while she’s awake, because it’s a slippery slope to ignoring your child for me. But now I have the opportunity to get a bit of cooking done, throw in a load, hang up some clothes, mail some returns. And her nap time is exclusively reserved for blogging, researching, ordering, emailing, editing photos and videos. I am still very organized during the nap times, because I can only rely on 40 minutes twice a day (or 40min x2 twice a day if I am lucky). I don’t eat, I don’t drink, I don’t take time to go to the bathroom (unless I can’t hold it)- I just work, work, work. And then when she wakes up, I catch up on all that eating, drinking, peeing business :)

I still spend about 1/3 of my day just rocking Lexi to sleep, because of how often she wakes up and how hard it is to put her down occasionally, but I have adjusted emotionally to not expect anything different.

My next goal is to find a way to work out and to do my hair/light make up/moisturize/take a consistent shower in the morning.  {edit: I do take showers when I have/want to. But I just always feel like there are more important things to do lol Like play with Lexi} Up until now that hasn’t been the priority, but now I feel things have mellowed out enough that I can start to figure out ways to get even more organized and get that done as well. I had stopped “taking care” of my skin and my hair for a month or so for lack of time, and I see a huge difference a month has made. I also need to tone up and Lexi still doesn’t like the stroller much, so we can’t go jogging with her yet.

{Lexi is at 3.5 months, wearing a Polarn O. Pyret onesie}

But I am HAPPY.

I am happy with the place I am at, emotionally, productively and physically. I am happy about the way things are ( with occasional bouts of frustration here and there). We’re in an equilibrium and life is just awesome right now. I love having a baby, I love having a 6 months old, specifically. I love Lexi, and our time together. I love to occasionally have time to blog. It took a little bit of adjustment, but once you figure out how to deal with the curveballs thrown by life and/or your non-sleeping baby, it’s all pretty darn good.

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