Survivor, Team Tenney Style
Shortly after Alessandra was born, I sent my sister in-law and my good friend Maureen
Anyway, the gist of her post is there's a period of time after a new baby when she goes into "bare minimum mode." She makes a few meals over and over again. The kids watch more TV than they normally do, massive household projects are put to the side, etc. I knew what I was doing wasn't working, because every night I was going to bed I was frustrated, exhausted beyond all rational belief and wondering how I was ever going to make it through the next day. For me, housework is a big thing that I just can't let slide. When my house is a mess, so is my mind. However, it's impossible to have a Norman Rockwell-looking home when you have a 2-year old and a 2-month old to care for. I ended up making myself a list, and I can't tell you how much easier my life has become when I have everything laid out in front of me, an easy-to-follow checklist, and a simple way for me to keep the house neat and organized without neglecting my kids or losing my mind. As to when I do my chores, generally I do the day-to-day ones in the morning, when things are relatively quiet. Alessandra takes a pretty good morning nap, and Tony is preoccupied with Bubble Guppies or his trucks, and doesn't need me watching his every move. The twice a week/once a week chores I break up over the course of the day. I might do one during nap time, and another one in the evening after everyone has gone to bed. Here's the list I made for myself:
To Do Every Day:
1. Vacuum downstairs (my dog spends about 23 1/2 hours out of the day downstairs, and since he's a beagle he sheds like crazy. If I didn't vacuum every day I would go crazy).
2. Wash dishes/run dishwasher, put dishes away.
3. Wipe down kitchen counters.
4. De-clutter the dining room table every night before I go to bed. (You know how everyone always has that specific place in your home that holds every knick-knack, every piece of junk mail, every cord to some electronic device? Sure you do. Ours is the dining room table, and it drives me nuts).
5. Laundry. There's no getting around this one, especially since we cloth diaper Alessandra. If I didn't run at least one load of laundry per day, the hamper would start puking out dirty clothes.
To Do Twice/Week:
1. Scrub bathrooms
2. Windex glass surfaces
3. Dust/wipe down surfaces with cloth and/or Pledge.
To Do Once/Week:
1. Swiffer second floor.
2. Mop kitchen/dining room floor.
3. Wipe down leather couches.
As far as meals go, the best advice I can give any new mamas out there is to invest in a crockpot, if you don't already own one. The crockpot is your friend. Love the crockpot. Become one with the crockpot. There are thousands of tasty, healthy, easy crockpot recipes on Pinterest, All Recipes, the Food Network, etc. I'll share a couple of my tried-and-true favorites with you.
Chicken Taco Stew (we're having this one tonight for dinner!)
Pulled Pork Tacos
Balsamic Roast Beef
Beef Stew With Herbed Biscuits
Cuban Ropa Vieja
Maple Hazelnut Oatmeal (for breakfast or for brinner!)
One last thing I would like to mention-and honestly, I think it's the most important-it's okay if things sometimes fall by the wayside. I have a very hard time letting the little things slide, but when a tiny baby changes your life in such a drastic, earth-shattering (and yes, of course wonderful) way, something's got to give. No one is going to die if you have a cluttered living room. The world won't come to a screeching halt if you go a day or two without doing laundry, and your family will survive if you order takeout every now and then. Not to mention, you have to take some time for yourself. Yes, I try and accomplish some things on my chore list during nap time, but I also need a Mama Time Out. My time outs usually include reading, watching trashy reality shows like My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, or goofing off on the internet. Not to mention wine o'clock! ;) It's taken me longer than I would have liked to realize this, but sometimes your days will look more like this:
I'd love to hear from other mamas out there! What is your daily/weekly routine like? How do you balance home, family life, work, "you" time?