Dividing Time

As I write this, I am sitting at the dining table and drinking my coffee. The boys are still down for their morning nap, although I’m pretty sure they’ll be up (and very hungry) soon.

It’s now five minutes later and the boys are awake and are currently enjoying their favorite breakfast – Cheerios.  Thankfully, they already feed themselves (at least with their fingers) so while I am typing away; they are happily watching Team Umizoomi as they eat.

One of the challenges of being a Mom is dividing time between Mom duties (changing diapers, kissing booboos, playing Peek-a-boo and refereeing conflicts, among others) and other duties (in my case, housework, blogging and research on an upcoming project). If this wasn’t hard enough, imagine doing this for TWO babies who are the same age and have more or less the same needs. (It would be a different challenge I imagine, if I had two kids of different ages.) I can’t imagine how OctoMom does it or even Kate (as in Kate Plus Eight).

True, it’s a lot easier now that they have some measure of independence.  It’s not as tedious as it was when they came home from the hospital. (I still haven’t recovered from all the sleep loss after the boys were born.)

Nacho and Enzo at one-week old, just home from the hospital.

But here are some things that I do to keep myself from going crazy:

1. It is okay not to be able to do everything.

Repeat this to yourself over and over. Breathe. If there are dishes to be washed and laundry to be folded but the babies are screaming their heads off, breathe. Accept that you can’t do everything.  Instead of worrying about having a spotless house, enjoy spending time with your child.

2. Prioritize.

You need to prioritize. What’s more important? Feeding the babies or washing the dishes? I always take care of whatever the babies need first. For example, I periodically wash their bottles throughout the day but wait until after dinner to wash the rest of the dirty dishes.

I’m a list person. Before I had kids, I had post-its for everything. I like to know what I’m doing each day and what I’ve already accomplished. Obviously, this all went down the toilet the minute my boys arrived. I didn’t even have time to write anything down! So just to keep my sanity, I mentally list just one to three main tasks I need to complete each day – for example: continue my research, fold the laundry and go to the supermarket. This way, a) I remember my daily tasks and b) I actually feel like I finished something at the end of the day. I only write one to three tasks because more than this and chances are it won’t be completed. And I’ll just feel guilty.

3. Don’t forget me time.

I feel like a lot of Moms get burned out because they don’t spend any time on themselves. It’s important to have at least weekly me time. It could be as simple as taking a few hours to go to your favorite store for some retail therapy or reading a book or even taking a 15-minute soak in the tub. It’s important to detach yourself sometimes in order to recharge your batteries.

4. Use your kid’s downtime to your advantage.

When the boys were little, my Mom used to tell me to sleep when they sleep. Of course, you had to when they were waking up every three hours and it took one hour to feed one and then the other. Nowadays, unless I’ve had a bad night (like if one of the boys woke up screaming at 2am and wouldn’t sleep until 4am), I don’t use the babies’ nap time to catch up on some sleep. I use it to do other chores I can’t normally do when the boys are awake – like take a shower or do some writing.

5. Enjoy your kids.

A very good friend of mine once told me that you usually get more enjoyment out of other people’s kids. At the time, my babies were just a few months old, and I couldn’t quite understand. But what she meant was, sometimes we worry too much about our kids – are they getting enough nutrition? Are they on point developmentally? – that we forget to just enjoy being with them. And it’s so true! With other people’s kids, you’re free to just enjoy playing with them or holding them. Someone else is worrying about their well-being.

I don’t claim to be an expert about mommy time management. But one thing I learned so far, your children are babies only for a little while. They grow up so fast. My babies are boys now.

So as a Mom, you need to remind yourself that your children are not going to remember if you did the laundry or washed the dishes, they’re going to remember that you spent time with them.

Have a good weekend!