Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Breastfeeding and a Quick Look at How I Schedule My Time
Cara asked "I've got one, just because I'm feeling impatient right now. Do you feel like breastfeeding a little one every other year (or so) takes up a ton of time?"
I'll give you the quick answer first and then go into details of how I manage my time.
Breastfeeding does take a ton of time and I do get frustrated. I try to look ahead a few months to when the baby will be older and I will be able to accomplish more. I also try to put the proper weight on what I am accomplishing now. Sitting quietly, playing with my baby's fingers while he looks up at me with a smile in his eyes will be something that I miss desperately in a year or two so I make sure to soak it in at least once a day!
Now for the book length answer and how I get things done.
My baby is almost a year old and I have older children who can distract him if I'm in the middle of something and he needs to wait a bit to nurse. He is also on solids so, many times, he will sit happily in his high chair with a little snack while he watches me work.
I try not to have too many things on my to do list or in my schedule. What I am able to accomplish goes in cycles with the baby's age. If I have a newborn I'm happy to take a shower and make the bed each morning. The rest of my day is mostly spent on the couch with my baby and my younger ones hanging around. I can get lots of story time and personal reading time in. I read 'War and Peace' in a few months while my oldest daughter was a baby! As the baby gets older and starts napping in bed instead of on me I start keeping a to do list with projects that I can do quickly or in short sessions. After I had older children who were able to cook meals, clean house, and help with laundry life was much easier. I gave up time for personal projects when the baby was small but by the time he/she was 4-6 months of age I was almost back to a normal workload with the children taking on most of the cooking and household chores. As the baby nears 12 months I have started cooking a few nights a week and have time for sewing, gardening, and exercise.
When I had mostly little ones I would get very frustrated about not being able to clean the house. My husband and I finally came to the conclusion that it was better for us to clean the house together on the weekend in 1 hour instead of me taking over 4 hours to get it done with the interruptions of meals and breastfeeding. We fell back on this plan whenever a new baby was born, when we started school after summer break or whenever my schedule was too full of extra work.
A few times each year I become overwhelmed and depressed that I am not supermom and able to do everything. So I have to think about what, why, and how I'm doing things and cross non essentials off my list. Then I write up a loose schedule and try it out for a week or two. I usually have to take even more non essentials off my list after the trial period.
I do think it's important to leave at least one thing that makes you feel productive and one thing that is just for you and maybe even a "waste" of time. You need those things as a creative outlet and to just be yourself-not mom, homemaker, wife, just you. The things that make me feel productive are keeping my bedroom pretty, having the house picked up once per day and vacuuming. My creative "just me" time is usually spent sewing, gardening, writing, or sometimes reading.
One thing I have noticed is that when I'm frustrated with my lack of time I'm probably trying to do too much. It is hard to admit that and cut some things out of my day that I really want to do but we are all happier when I am able to admit it and change things around.
Another thing I do is to list all of the things I want to do and then assign one day of the week to work on certain items. For example, sewing on Mondays, extra kitchen work on Tuesdays and Thursdays, project time (baby book, photo album) on Wednesdays and then maybe a special play time with the children on Fridays.
I do need margin in my days or I will feel too stressed out. My basic schedule has a few things that can be and often are skipped. I keep a notebook with a running to do list. I accomplish what I can each day and then move the other items to the next day. After I have moved some things back a few times I will realize that they don't even need to be done or that I can put them off for a few months.
I keep my basic schedule in a plastic sleeve so I can mark things off with a dry erase marker as I do them. Then I can wipe it clean for the next day. ticking items off shows me that I am accomplishing something each day. I have a list for the younger students' school time also. The children have one with their chores. I can add extra jobs easily by just writing on the plastic. They like knowing exactly what needs to be done each day without having to wait for me to tell them.
If you have any questions or want more specifics leave me a comment and I'll do my best to give you a clear answer.