Balancing baby and housework can be a challenge.
I have lots of respect for moms who work and manage a household as well as stay at home moms (sahm) who despite not having to work work, still have to care for their kids.
Current I am a SAHM of one munchkin, E. We live in a one-bedroom apartment and are largely homebodies. We eat out maybe once a week and the hubs packs lunch at least 4 times a week. As such, there is quite a lot of cooking and cleaning to do.
E has a fixed schedule that she largely follows. At 5 months, she takes about 3 naps a day which gives me about 5 hours (2h x2 and 1h x1) to get cooking, cleaning and other tasks/errands done.
Here are some ways I manage:
- I have a schedule/plan for most key tasks – a cleaning schedule, meal plans, E has a schedule etc. Having a schedule helps me stay on top of things. That being said, I do cut myself some slack and fall off the bandwagon once in a while, especially when I am sick and/or tired.
- I break up cleaning tasks – For example, when I have to clean the bathroom, I might clean the toilet bowl and tub on one day and wipe down the counters and mop the floor on another day.
- I break up cooking tasks – When cooking, I look at a recipe or think about what I am going to cook and decide how I can break up the prep work. Some questions I ask myself – Can I cut the veggies the day before/in the morning? How long do I need to put everything together? I usually cook throughout the day during E’s nap times.
- I use shortcuts when it comes to cooking – For example, I used to make almost everything from scratch, but now I do buy the occasional jarred tomato sauce for quick pasta dinners.
- I work together with my spouse – The hubs and I work together as a team when it comes to managing the household and E. For example, after dinner, the hubs will do the dishes and I will give E her bath and put her to bed. The hubs also helps out with housework, especially on the weekends.
- I “wear” E – Babywearing has many benefits and one of them is being able to get stuff done with baby on you. There are days when E is very “clingy” and I can’t put her down. Also, in the evenings, she tends to want to have me in her line of sight at all times. Wearing E in a carrier or wrap enables her to be with me while I get stuff done. Do note that it isn’t advised that you wear your baby while cooking at the stove unless baby is carried on your back.
- Keep things organized – In general, my house is decently organized and things are packed away neatly. This helps me stay on top of housework. We also purge things frequently and are mindful not to accumulate too many things.
- Have baby watch you when you do things – Babies are naturally curious at this age about what is happening around them and “involving them” or allowing them to observe you while engaging them in conversation (albeit mostly one-way) keeps them entertained. When I am cooking and E is up, I usually sit her in her high chair and let her watch me cook. I also talk to her at the same time and explain to her what I am doing. At times, I allow her to smell (and taste in the future) ingredients that I use. When doing chores like laundry, E also sits in a corner or lies on the bed nearby and watches me fold the clothes.
What are some things you do to help you manage baby and house?