There is one question I feel that plagues every mother who has ever walked this earth.
How the blooming heck do you get stuff done around the house when you have a baby?
While some days it seems like you'd have a better chance at scaling Mt Everest, it can be done. You’ll be tired but it can happen. Here are some tricks I use to ensure I maintain a bit of sanity by having a (semi) clean environment to live in.
Of course, if you’d have met me in the newborn phase, I was an entirely different animal. One who couldn’t care less that the floors were covered with crumbs and the dishes were stacked sky high for a week. These days bubs can entertain himself a bit better and I have some secrets up my sleeve for gaining back some cleaning time without being a neglectful mum. I can even play hide and seek while I clean too which makes him (and mumma) very happy.
This I consider to be one of the greatest inventions. You can pop bubs in the jumparoo in front of cartoons (I try to restrict it to 20 minutes) and scoot about doing what you need to. Unfortunately, if you are 100% anti-screen time for bubs then this won't work for you. I’m not here to suggest any scientific evidence for or against screen time for babies. This just works for us and if you’re still working on ‘survival’ mode then you, like us, need electronic baby sitting once in a while.
And baby-proof the hell out of that room. I mean good quality because the old cardboard and washing baskets piled on top of one another won't work long term. Babies are surprisingly strong and they can have an iron grip (you’ll notice this if you forget to cut their nails and they start trying to stand up using your bare leg as a balancing post).
The play-pen/room divider can have a double-up effect in that you can confine toys and baby related items to that side of the fence with you on the other. Even better, put some baby friendly music on to keep them happy. This usually works for us for a good 30 minutes before our bubs starts wanting more mumma time which I gladly give. They are only little for a short while and you are going to miss it when it's gone. I do find that if I miss one stage terribly, it is swiftly replaced with the next one and that part of parenting is very exciting.
Pop them in their cot with a book or toy that’s new to them while you organise the baby room/put laundry away/clean up. This usually gives me an extra 20 minutes of time. Try this for a dazzling light display to keep bubs amused - they may even crack up if it appeals to their baby sense of humour. Another option for when you are in the kitchen is to give them some pots and pans while you do the dishes (probably best to mop the floor first). You might be lucky to score another 10 minutes to put some dinner on.
This is pretty obvious but sometimes it can be hard to leave bubs in the hands of someone who:
A: Hasn’t done a first aid course or
B: Doesn’t know the subtle nuances of your child or know what each cry means.
I’ve limited this to 2.5 hours maximum for the less experienced sitter so I have piece of mind that I can get home for a feed or to organise sleep. I mention this point as well because it can actually halve the time you spend shopping or running errands because you have less fumbling around to do with bubs. You can efficiently get in and out before bubs even notices you're gone!
While you get the plants watered or hang the washing out, bubs can watch you in the open and play with toys and give you about 20 minutes depending on your baby’s attention span.
These little time hacks are working for me right now but chances are, they might change next week. Oh the joys of child-rearing! But they are important to share because even if one tip can help you out, it's worth its weight in gold if maintaining a somewhat tidy home is meaningful for you. If you don’t care, then half your luck!