Time has never flown by faster than it has these past few months. I can barely keep up with my day-to-day responsibilities, because the hours just seem to slip away.
It might have something to do with the fact that I’m gearing up for our studio’s spring recital and a new session of early childhood classes, managing a full student/client load, and running a business…all while living that #momlife (which includes very little sleep, thanks to a certain baby girl).
I’m pretty sure every parent in the world would agree that naptime is sacred. It’s taken me a few months to figure out how to best utilize those precious minutes, especially on the days when I’m home with both kids, but I have it down to an art now.
In the early days, I struggled with knowing just when to put Mia down for a nap. Then a couple months ago, I stumbled upon some advice from another mom in a Facebook group I belong to.
She had read that the first nap of the day should start two hours after waking up in the morning, and the next nap should start three hours after waking up from the previous one. According to this mom, it worked brilliantly with her baby, so I was up for giving it a try.
Luckily this schedule has worked out amazingly for Mia, so now I’m a lot better at planning out our days based on when Mia wakes up.
I typically put Mia down for her nap around 10 am, at which point Parker and I hightail into my bedroom. He plays with his lego table and reads books while I take a quick shower and get ready for the day, all while Mia sleeps. If she sleeps an extra long time, I might even sneak in some quick computer work while Parker entertains himself.
When she wakes up, we go downstairs and eat lunch before it is Parker’s turn to take his nap. That time isn’t nearly as productive, since Mia is too young to play on her own for more than just a few minutes (and I always stay within arm’s length unless she’s in the exersaucer or jumpy seat).
Mostly, though, Parker’s nap time is spent giving Mia some extra attention and getting my fill of baby cuddles. If I have a show DVR’d, this is my chance to watch it since I try not to have the TV on too much throughout the day…aside from a couple episodes of Super Why or Little Einsteins here and there.
Once Parker wakes up, it’s playtime for all of us until the babysitter comes and I head to work. The days I’m home with both kids are pretty predictable and repetitive, partly because I thrive on routine but mostly because I’m not brave enough to venture out in the cold with both of them (unless it doesn’t involve getting out of the car, like a quick run to the bank or Starbucks drive through).
As predictable and uneventful as they are, those naptime minutes are still just as valuable. I feel sort of like a ninja on the days I’m able to time everything out really well and get all the things — you know, showering, eating, maybe a load of laundry — crossed off my list.
I would have never guessed back in the day that those things would become accomplishments, but it seems that comes with the territory of being a mom. As does writing an entire blog post about nap schedules, apparently.
Raise your hand if you waited anxiously for the latest Baby-Sitters Club book and then read it in 3.2 seconds back in the day? I had a stash of them in my desk at all times, and got in trouble for reading during class on more than once occasion.
One of the keys to happiness as a parent, I’ve discovered, is having a handful of wonderful babysitters on call. This is not an easy task, and we are luckier than most since our own parents live in the neighborhood and babysit frequently (and for free!).
We don’t want to take advantage of our family, though, and they’re not always available since they work and have busy schedules themselves. My mom and mother-in-law have both babysat one or two afternoons a week since Parker was born, but we needed to fill in the gaps when it came time to return to work after my first maternity leave.
Since then, we’ve cultivated our own little “baby-sitters club” who are just a text away. We have a great schedule worked out for weekdays so that a sitter is here with Mia (and Parker, on the days he isn’t at school) when I go to work.
The hours I’m at work are dedicated to working with students and clients, so I don’t have much time during the week devoted to business stuff or just to do things for myself. But Fridays are my day off, and when the sitters — two girls who live a couple streets over — come over for a couple hours after school, I spend that time on my work projects, writing, running errands, or just relaxing.
I remember thinking, back in the day, how restricting it must be as a parent, needing to arrange childcare in order to do anything or go anywhere without kids. Years later, I have found that to be oh-so-true…and it is definitely frustrating sometimes.
But then I remind myself that this is a temporary season. In a few months I’ll have at least a few days a week on my own, and then I’ll probably look back and miss this time at home with tiny kids. So like everything else, I’ll continue to soak it all up and be grateful for my baby-sitters club :)
I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions or set any big goals for 2016. Instead, my business partner Katey and I came up with a motto. “Simplify, Streamline, Self-Care” are the three words that will dictate my approach to work and life this year, which will be quite a change from 2015.
I’m taking great care to identify my priorities and eliminate the noise, but that’s really hard to do when you’re dealing with a business, a toddler, and a baby. I feel like my life is a giant puzzle whose pieces are scattered all over the floor, and I’m trying to fit them all into place. It’s hard to even know where to start sometimes.
So I pick up a piece at a time, examine it, and try to figure out where it fits into the puzzle that is my life. Some pieces get tossed back into the pile because they just don’t have a place right now, which was hard at first but has gotten easier as I’ve dedicated myself to this motto.
I finally finished reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and I want to devote a day in the near future to applying that method in my house. I think it will really help me simplify and streamline my life in general, because I am one of those people who gets anxious when the space around me is cluttered. And the act of tidying up my house totally counts as self-care, because I am a total organization nerd.
2015 was a rollercoaster year that left little time for considering my own happiness and well-being, and I’ll admit that it’s still not easy putting those things at the forefront. But I’m at least taking the first step by being more mindful about it, and continuing to come back to my motto when I start to feel overwhelmed.
I am a self-confessed homebody. If there is no reason I absolutely have to leave my house, I don’t. Those few years where I worked solely from home were pretty wonderful, and as much as I love my current work situation, there have been times when I miss being holed up all day long.
But lately I have sort of a love/hate relationship with being home. The combination of an infant, toddler, and really cold weather makes it much easier to just stay in, which can lead to honest-to-goodness stir craziness. The hours tick by incredibly slowly some days, especially when there are messes, tantrums, and an overload of noisy toys involved.
I feel so, so lucky to have so much time with my kids during the week, but last Friday when the babysitter came over and I met a friend for coffee, I came home afterward feeling like a new woman. I’m beginning to realize that this chapter in my life may eventually change my homebody tendencies…after the winter is over.
Today was the first time it actually snowed and stuck on the ground, and I was happy not to have anywhere to go all day. When Zach took the kids to a playdate this afternoon, I took a nap on the couch, worked on my computer, and then had a long hot shower — only to change into new pajamas.
It was the kind of hibernation day I loved before having kids, and I enjoyed every second of it. And tomorrow, I’ll enjoy a different kind of hibernation day, complete with footie pajamas, applesauce all over the kitchen table, many trips to the potty, and a couple episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse thrown in for good measure.