Having a newborn is amazing and wonderful and if one word could sum up the last 6 weeks, exhausting. I envy those moms whose newborn is sleeping through the night at 6 weeks, I am not sure I even know what that looks like as I have never had that happen with any of my 5 children. This little guy is growing so fast I am worried the exhaustion is going to make me miss some of the little things and I don’t want to miss anything. I have literally cuddled, held and snuggled this little guy so much in the last 6 weeks because I am having a hard time coming to terms with him being my last baby. 6 weeks ago I was totally not having another baby ever. My body ached and the pregnancy as much as I love being pregnant was taking its toll. Now even with the exhaustion, I want another.
I think I just don’t want to believe that my days of having babies is done. I know that 5 is a lot in terms of family size today but I just can’t help being sad at the end of what has been a huge part of who I am for the last 13 years. I am actually pretty sad typing this up because I know I could do it all again. Some days are truly a blur for me since little guy has come and it’s mostly because having 5 means most days are busy and we are go, go, going until it’s bed time. So as an exhausted mom of 5, I wanted to pass on my tips for balancing kids, exhaustion and the wonderful joys of motherhood. These tips will help the first-time mom and the mom just about to have her second (or sixth) or at least I would like to think they will.
- Buy yourself a really great agenda/calendar. I find that writing stuff down helps me keep on top of things. With 5 kids doing a few different things after school, doctors visits and blog stuff having everything in one place really helps me keep on top of things. My favourite agenda is the Create 365 Happy Planner that you can pick up at Michael’s. It’s a little expensive but I waited until there was a sale on everything in the store at 20% as well as a coupon for 50% off one item, it only ended up costing me 19$ and I love it!
- Use your smartphone to set reminders for events, kids activities and even taking medications for yourself and the family. I literally have about 6 alarms that go off daily that include time to get up, get the kids off to school, pick the boys up at the bus, take your vitamin, get daughter to take her medication and start dinner. I know the start dinner thing sounds funny but sometimes when I am writing or breastfeeding, time escapes me and then next thing I know it’s 6:30 everyone is starving and dinner is super late.
- Cook in large batches when you have time. I use my crockpot religiously even during the summer. I probably have it out at least twice a week and in the winter it’s out usually 4 times. Making big batches of something you are cooking anyway to freeze for later is a huge time saver especially on those nights where you are spending your time chauffeuring children to hockey, swimming, gymnastics etc. My favourite things to do in my crockpot are stews, chili, spaghetti sauce and Salisbury steak.
- Tag team chores in the house and make the kids pitch in. Each and every one of my kids (minus baby) has a specific job that they have to do. We all have to help each other to have this house run smoothly. You can use this really easy chore chart. Just add in the chore and under each day your child’s name, I started using this in September and so far it’s been great!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s hard for me to admit when I need help especially when I need it and then I get burnt out which isn’t good for me or the kids. My husband has been super amazing from the beginning and helped with everything. He is a very hands on daddy too so unless baby needs to be fed, I know he is good to do anything else.
- Meal plan for a few weeks. I try to plan out our meals for 2 weeks. My kids are on the slightly picky side so usually in 2 weeks we have spaghetti twice, chicken fingers and fries twice and then I try to plan different meals for the rest of the two weeks. This is where tip #3 comes in handy as you can cook once and eat twice.
- Save about 3 hours, one day a week for doing a full clean of the house. Although I do try to clean certain things every day (like the kitchen), there are rooms in the house that only get done once a week including bedrooms (bed linens, vacuuming etc.), front hallway and floors getting washed. We sweep the floors downstairs daily and clean the bathroom every other day but once a week we do a really thorough clean which includes scrubbing floors. The kids clean their rooms every other day but once a week they really clean which include vacuuming and dusting.
- Don’t forget to just spend time together as a family, real quality time. One of my big rules in the house is that we always have dinner together every night. Even when my husband was working, I still had dinner at the table every night. It gives you all time to catch up, find out how each other’s day has gone and just reconnect when you are so scattered the rest of the day.
I hope this list can help you balance life, kids and home, I know that these have saved my time and my sanity.
What are some things that you do to save time and balance it all? Can you add anything to this list that I may have missed?