How to Find a Routine Amid the Chaos
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It’s not news that I had a baby seven weeks ago or that this baby is baby number 7! You might think that I have it all together and that adjusting to a newborn should be easy. I’ll just come right out and say it: I don’t and it’s not. Each baby requires the family to adjust to their schedule and to find a routine again. I’ve had a little bit of a struggle finding a routine this time around. I mean it’s the middle of February and I literally have no idea where January went. Is anyone with me here? Is it just me? It kind of feels like it’s just me.
My other kids are 23 months, 4, 6, 9, 12, and 14. The new baby is a little fussier than our 6th was, so some of the chaos occurs because I can’t put baby down. Some of it comes from the age difference between the last two (21 months) and some of that comes from homeschooling 3 older kids. Whatever the reason, there have been days where we get our homeschooling done and not much else. I’m trying to keep this real, you guys. Caring for a newborn is no joke.
If there are any other moms out there like me, that don’t have it all together, I hope this post helps you today. I hope you know that mom life isn’t always a walk in the park. Between healing from birth, trying to keep up with maintaining a household, not getting a full night sleep and keeping our homeschooling going, I was starting to feel like I have no free-time to myself. Even if you don’t have older kids or don’t homeschool – I think having a newborn requires a learning curve. Here is what I’ve learned:
First, do everything with a purpose.
I’m still in the process of implementing some of these things. I’m just going to share what I’m doing to help me find a routine amid this chaos we call the post-partum and newborn stage.
Use a Calendar Planner:
I use this one from sugar-paper that I found at Target. I like it because it has a spiral bound interior, month tabs and both monthly calendars and weekly.
This is perfect for keeping on task. It includes a “to call” column, “to do”, “to buy”, and “top three priorities.”
Keep a Running To-Do List
I use a journal just like this one to keep a running to-do list and a brainstorming ideas. I find it completely useful for clearing my brain out of all the ideas that have formed. I also like to keep a clipboard handy to write out my current to-do list and schedule.
Add a Menu Planner to Your Fridge
I love this Magnetic Meal Planner from Amazon. It includes all meals for the week plus snacks! Its also easy to use because it is completely magnetic so it sticks on my fridge. Its also easy to write on and wipe off – just use a dry erase marker. I also bought a few Low Odor Magnetic Dry Erase Markers With Erasers so that they are handy.
Use Apps to Help You Be More Productive
It dawned on me, recently, that I always have my phone handy – so why not put it to work for me?! These apps seem like the perfect solution to my faulty memory and my scattered brain.
Productive Habits This app seems pretty amazing. You choose what habits you wish to cultivate in your life and then add them. You have a choice to have them everyday or certain days. You can choose to skip the habits or mark them as done. It is sort of like a running to do list and reminder list in one.
Morning Routine – This was the first place I looked when I was thinking about how to find a routine. This one allows you to create a morning routine by setting a wake up time, and then adding tasks in any time increment you need.
For instance, you can add eat breakfast and put it for 15 minutes. Since it is hard to remember to feed myself because I’m busy feeding the kiddos, this is helpful for me. In fact, it gets me thinking about what needs to come next.
I have a problem remembering to get the kids to do their chores, but this is easy to add to this morning routine app. It only takes a minute to see if the dog has food and water, the trash was taken out and the dishwasher unloaded (three different kids’ chores), but I often forget to check because I’m so sleepy and distracted by the baby.
She Reads Truth – I really, really want to read my Bible daily but I often forget in the hustle and bustle of the morning hours to do it. This is an app that makes Bible reading very, very simple. You can choose which book to read through (or you can do the Bible in a Year) and it will literally break your reading down into daily reading. It takes the guesswork out of this.
Google Calendar – Using the calendar app just helps me keep track of activities and out of the house plans we have each day. I can also share our plans and appointments with my husband so that he gets the same notifications on his phone. That way we have our lives synced and no what is going on throughout the week.
Start Freezer Cooking
Freezer cooking is a lifesaver!!! I found MyFreezEasy back in September and I’ve loved it ever since. Its so easy to pick my menu, print my recipes and make the meals. I usually pick and print, shop online for groceries, then the next day do a 1-2 hour freezer cooking session. I also wrote about it here.
Lastly, I’ve found that wearing baby in a sling or wrap helps during his fussy times. He seems to settle right in and get comfy. I don’t cook or do certain jobs (like no cleaning the bathroom) with baby in a wrap because I don’t want baby to get hurt. I can do vacuuming, take a walk, fold laundry, and play with the other kids while babywearing.
This is me in my Hotsling that I’ve owned since 2005!
So, remember to take baby steps and try to find a routine by adding in a few of the suggestions (or your own) one at a time. Don’t try to do too much, too fast, or you might burn yourself out. Giver yourself some grace as you get back into the swing of things with an infant.
What do you do to find a routine?