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Q&A Tuesday: How can I be organized when I have a nursing baby and toddler?


Bridget left the following comment on my recent time management post:

The thought of getting up before my children seems impossible right now as my 6-month-old is still waking up in the night and I feel like I never get enough sleep. He has a feeding around 5 a.m. and then my 2-year-old is up and ready between 6:30-7 am… and I constantly feel like I’m run over by a train. I would love to be more organized but it’s just hard when you never get a set amount of sleep. Any tips would be appreciated! -Bridget

I realized after I wrote my last post on time management that it’s possible some people might think I was saying you needed to adopt a morning routine similar to mine. Or that you need to get up before your children do.

Please know that this is just what is working for me right now. And while it is really helpful, I certainly don’t think it’s for everyone. Nor would I be getting up when I do right now if I were up multiple times in the night with a baby or toddler!

I’m at an easier season of life right now. I’m not pregnant, Kathrynne is old enough to help me with quite a few different things, Kaitlynn is learning how to to help and can do a number of things by herself, Silas is almost weaned and all three of my children are sleeping through the night most every night. So, what works for me won’t work for you because you’re at a very different — and much more difficult! — season of life right now.

However, I can very much relate to where you’re at because Silas did not sleep through the night for the first entire year of his life. In fact, for 12 months, the longest stretch of sleep I got was six hours — twice. It was hard, especially because Kaitlynn wasn’t even two when he was born and she was still waking up at night on occasion for that first year of his life.

Here are some things which helped me (They may or may not be helpful to you. Take what helps you and leave the rest!):

Give Up the Expectation of a Good Night’s Sleep

Instead of getting frustrated over how little sleep I was getting or how often my sleep was being interrupted, I gave up my expectation of being able to get a good night’s sleep and asked the Lord to please give me grace and bless and supernaturally multiply whatever sleep I was able to get. This was hugely helpful to me to realize that God knows how much sleep I need, He’s not confined by a clock and I can trust Him to provide what I need.

Make Sleep Your Priority

At the same time, I think it’s vitally important to do everything you can to make sleep a priority. Let the dishes sit in the sink, turn off the computer and go to bed as soon as you can at night.

I know the temptation is great to use that quiet, uninterrupted time to tackle your list of 997 things you haven’t gotten to in the last six months, but your body needs sleep. If you can squeeze in a nap in the afternoon or on the weekends when your husband is home, snatch the opportunity. Sometimes even a 10 or 15-minute catnap can do wonders!

Lower Your Expectations

This is not the time for tackling big projects, volunteering for ministry opportunities or doing detailed, in-depth cleaning. Stick with the basics and lower your expectations. If your family has clean laundry and food in their bellies, most of the other stuff can wait.

Develop a Simple Routine

Don’t worry about specific times, just make a basic list of 10-12 things you want to accomplish every day in the same (or similar order). Such as:

1. Get up, read Bible

2. Breakfast

3. Start a load of laundry and load the dishwasher

4. Take the children out on a walk.

5. Morning naptime for baby, toddler play with a special toy box or basket in the playpen — put the laundry in the dryer, do one cleaning project*, thaw something for dinner

6. Lunchtime

7. Read picture books and play with the children.

8. 2-year-old watch DVD, baby in swing while you fold and put away laundry

9. Afternoon naptime (everyone naps, including mom!)

10. Quick pick up of the house, finish dinner prep

11. Dinner

12. Bedtime

I’ve found that just having a basic routine mapped out is so helpful. It keeps things calm and more structured and everyone knows what to expect next. Plus, it ensures that the most important tasks get done every day.

*Consider coming up with five homemaking tasks — one for each day of the week — and tackle one per day. Something like:

Monday: Vacuuming

Tuesday: Bathrooms

Wednesday: Mop Floors

Thursday: Dusting

Friday: General Straightening and Clutter Removal

Give Yourself Grace

Don’t beat yourself up over what you’re not doing. Don’t compare yourself to other seeming “supermoms.” Don’t stress over what’s being left undone.

It’s just a short season. Now’s the time to just love your little ones, take care of your health and keep your marriage strong. The dust bunnies will still be there waiting for you whenever you’re ready to attack them! :)

Laugh Often

Learn to laugh instead of cry and things will be much better all round. Find the humor in every situation that you can. Surround yourself with positive people and encouraging messages to help build you up.

Don’t Neglect Your Health

Make sure that the foods you are putting in your body are nourishing you — especially as a nursing mother. It’s worth it to spend a little more at the grocery store to stock your refrigerator with healthful foods you can grab for snacks — such as fresh fruits and veggies. In addition, make sure you are drinking plenty of water, eating plenty of good protein and whole grains and taking a good multi-vitamin.

I’ve found that I feel so much better when I eat a big salad at least once a day, drink 8-10 glasses of water, take my vitamins and get fresh air and exercise.

Enjoy Your Family

Your babies are only little once. Take time to just enjoy them. To stare into their faces. To soak up their cuddles and smiles and giggles and firsts. Stop and listen to them, talk with them, love on them. Cherish them.

And don’t neglect your husband, either. You might not have a lot of energy left at the end of the day, but at least meet him at the door with a kiss and a smile. Ask him how he’s doing. Make time for him.

This stuff is so much more important than a clean house or an organized kitchen. And if you’ve got to choose between cleaning or cuddling, always choose the cuddling. I promise you won’t regret it at the end of your life!

What advice or tips do the rest of you have to add for Bridget? Share them in the comments.

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Comments

  1. says

    One thing that helps me when waking several times during the night with a little one (neither of mine slept through the night until almost 15 months, and my first was still waking every 2 hours or so until then!) is to NOT watch the clock when you get up in the middle of the night. For one thing, it makes it hard to remember how _many_ times you get up, but it also helps (me anyway) to not wake up as much when I get up, so then it’s easier to get back to sleep (or sleep as I nurse – my first also took about 45 minutes to eat).

    As long as you’re sitting there watching the clock, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to become resentful of the little blessing that you have and all that they’re “taking away” from you.

    It’s MUCH better to have nighttime wakings be a blur.

    Works for me, anyway!

    • Rachael says

      I like to use this time to catch up on television shows that I tape during the DVR. It makes the time go much faster, and I watch shows like Oprah that no one else in my family likes.

  2. says

    I am in a similar season of life as you, Crystal… and I find myself thinking, “Wow! My babies are growing so fast!” Now, I am relishing in the little time I am blessed to have left with my 3 year old youngest daughter before she goes off to school. This is such a wonderful, wise post! Enjoy this time when your children need you most! It is often a difficult time, but when you come through it, you realize how quickly it has passed! I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true! :)

  3. says

    I have found that making dinner first thing in the day is a huge help. My toddler can spend some time with me by helping, and it is a big stress-reliever to know that I don’t have to think about it later. Plus, we are able to have an earlier dinner time, which means we can get to bed earlier and still (usually) get the kitchen cleaned up beforehand!

  4. marie says

    I have to say that since finding this site a month or so ago it’s been a huge blessing to me. I often check it now and read through the comments to find strength and encouragement. I have twins that are 3 1/2 and am 6 months pregnant. The pregnancy has been an extremely difficult one. I had to be on a picc line IV at home and med’s they give cancer patients because I was that sick. I could barely get out of bed or stand up. My children would ask me, “Mommy are you ever going to play with us again.” At least twice during the pregnancy I reached rock bottom and felt I wouldn’t make it another day. But God in His goodness sustained me. My husband was laid off during those 6 months which was a blessing in disguise because he was able to manage the kids and the house. During that time I had to completely let go of everything.
    Now I am finially off the IV and med’s and slowly getting around but it’s taken a toll on my confidence. I am extremely weak and find it hard to stand even for more then 5 minutes. I remember the days of doing activities with my kids like projects, painting, coloring etc. Now it’s a struggle. I feel like I’m failing as a mother and wonder how will I manage with a newborn and twins. (never have I worried before about my abilities) We wanted this baby so much and she’s a true MIRACLE and yet I can’t enjoy this season of being pregnant. I know that once she comes I will be exhausted with the new life of a newborn. How can I find balance when I am where I’m at right now? Unfortunately, the TV is being used more often because I just am unable to function at a decent level right now and my husband just started working full time again.
    Sorry for my rant- but you all seem to have such great advice. And my soul could use some encouragement. I’ve never felt this way before even when I had newborn twins and no help. Thanks for listening.

    • Janet says

      @marie, God bless you, Marie. It is good to have a place to rant sometimes. I was the other way around with my twins. I had a one year old while pregnant with twins. I did not get so sick like you, I can’t imagine that, but I remember well that feeling of not being able to stand for more than five minutes. We had lots of TV. But you know what? Your kids won’t remember much of it, if any. You will have plenty of time later to do more playing and painting. They will be happy to have another sibling to love. By the way, our kids now are 6, 5, 5, 3, and 7 months. So, I really appreciated this post too, because my house is in a constant disaster state! I don’t often take time to read so many comments but today it is encouraging. And again, may God bless you, Marie!

  5. says

    I highly recommend cleaning up the kitchen in the evening, before going to bed. It makes it so much nicer to walk into a clean kitchen in the morning. I also like to prepare Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oatmeal (a crockpot dish), so breakfast will be ready, when we wake up! It is delicious and smells like apple pie! The recipe can be found here: http://christine-mary.blogspot.com/2010/08/apple-cinnamon-overnight-oatmeal.html
    Another thing I like to do, the night before we are having burritos for dinner, is to cook pinto beans in the crock pot, overnight. Then, the children and I have pinto beans with nachos for lunch, and pinto beans with our taco meat for dinner (in burrito wraps). Tammy shared a great post about making pinto beans in the crock pot here: http://www.tammysrecipes.com/node/4082
    As a busy mama to four blessings, 7 years and younger, I have learned that the crock pot is a wonderful servant!

  6. Charity says

    I know exactly what you mean Bridget! I have never tried to rise before my children. I have three littles (born in three yrs) and am 5months pregnant. I also have hypothyroidism and my thyroid levels go crazy when I am pregnant leaving me utterly exhausted. So between a thyroid disorder and pregnancy I have to take my sleep pretty seriously. i know I am a better wife and mother when I am rested, and so I don’t feel guilty at all for going to be @ 10pm and not getting up until my two oldest littles come to snuggle in bed with me around 7am. (And often times I still take a nap in the afternoon when they do!)
    It seems like everywhere (blog wise) that I read lately there are posts on how to organize your day/time, suggestions for routines/schedules, advice for how to plan your day without feeling overwhelmed with littles at home, etc. But when the women read the post and comment, they tend to compare themselves and their day to everyone else’s, resulting in feeling like they aren’t measuring up. I think it is vitally important for us to remember that none of us are alike, we all have different things going on in our lives and we just can’t compare ourselves to one another. (I know none of the posts where written for that prupose.) Don’t feel like a failure because you are different from someone else, and don’t let the thought of being imperfect drag you down. There really is no right or wrong schedule for your day. You have to do what works for you!

    And remember, this time with the wee ones goes SO fast. I know one day I will miss my bulging pregnant belly, I will miss the soft, chubby cheeks of my nursing baby boy, I will miss hearing “Mommy! Mommy!” twenty umpteen thousand times a day by little voices with sweet lisps. My crumb covered kitchen floor can wait, after all, it will still be there long after my children are grown…and I probably won’t find a full nights sleep as precious then ;)

  7. Ashley Bass says

    Thank you for sharing this information! I have a 2 year old and a 14 month old, they are 15 months apart…and life can be so hectic during the day with them. I feel like I never get things accomplished. At the end of the day, the house is in worse shape than when the day begin. I am also currently expecting my third, due in June, so I am even more stressed and worried about how I am going to keep up on top of things. Thanks for your tips and I need to try to develop them into my routine.

  8. says

    At my baby shower for my oldest daughter *now 19* one of the ladies gave me a framed needle point that read “Quiet down cobwebs and dust go to sleep, I’m rocking my babies and babies don’t keep” I know your feeling frazzled now hun, but following simple guidelines and keeping things simple and prioritize you will be fine. Then one day like me you will blink and they will be 19 and 16.
    I have that needle point saved for my daughters it brought me so much perspective I hope it helps them and you!

  9. Peggy says

    At this point you will need to go with the flow and get as much sleep as possible, nap when the 2 year olds naps and don’t be afarid to ask for some help, mom, friends. dad, or anyone that can. As the childern age you will get your life back to order. Don’t let little things get you out of sort. I raised 4 children and I can remmeber these times so well. It will get better:0)

  10. Kate says

    I guess my most obvious tip is to tell your husband what you need and ask for his support and help.

    DH frequently works 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, and yet he still insists on helping around the house and with our DD. I always get at least one day a week to sleep in for an extra hour or two.

    Right now he is on back-shift (6 pm – 6 am). When he gets home at 6:30 am, he will unload the dishwasher and put away any clean dishes before DD and I wake up. He also gets breakfast started. When she and I are up, we all have breakfast together as a family and then he goes to bed. She and I head to preschool/Grandma’s house and work.

    When he wakes up in the afternoon, he’ll put away laundry or start a new load for me to finish when I get home, run the vacuum, dust, or mop the floor.

    I am very blessed that he feels it so important to help us out even when working as hard as he does.

    Another thing that helped us was when we moved to a brand-new, but much smaller home, was that we had to downsize–ALOT. Getting rid of a lot of our “dust-catchers,” limiting DD’s toys, everyone’s clothing, etc., makes it much easier to clean. And perhaps not the most frugal/earth friendly suggestion is that on each floor of our home I keep a good quality vacuum, a mop, and in every bathroom there is cleaner and paper towels. I frequently clean the bathrooms while DD plays in the tub. I just rotate her bath-tub to whatever bathroom I’m working on.

    And whenever DD lays down, I do too. I may take the first 15 minutes to work on a short project, but I lay down and rest.

    Our house may not always be as clean as it could be, but it’s usually organized and picked up.

  11. Jessica says

    I have a 4 year old, 2 1/2 year old and 8 month old and having a simple routine really helps! I do one housecleaning chore each day during my youngest’s morning nap and smaller tasks immediately throughout the day. For example, I wash up the breakfast dishes right after breakfast – the kids can entertain themselves for the five minutes it takes and then dishes don’t pile up. I admit that I am a very organized person, but simply putting things away where they belong is how I can stay organized with three small kids. Instead of just leaving things in random places, I take the extra few seconds to put it where it belongs – it helps.
    I am not a morning person, so I prefer to shower and read my Bible after the kids go to bed – and I put them to bed at 10pm so they don’t wake up before 8am – works better for me!
    It has also helped to admit that there will be days that I don’t want to do this – that I would really like for someone else to be Mommy for the day – and it’s not realistic to expect every day to be great. But I remind myself that God is more than enough for me and that He will help me and provide me with everything that I truly need!!

  12. Shannon says

    My girls are 19 and 15 years old now. One of the things that really worked for me is they would both go down for an afternoon nap at the same time and I would lay down then, too. Even if I didn’t sleep there’s something very relaxing about the body going horizontal instead of trying to get everything done. I worked full-time when they were small so this was really great for the weekends.

    I agree with Peggy – ask for help if you need it. My mom would sometimes come over and just do my dishes or take the last feeding of the evening for me (I didn’t breastfeed for very long). Any help is relaxing.

  13. Shannon says

    I also wanted to add not to be too hard on yourself. You will make it through this season. I did and never thought I would.

  14. Nicola says

    What fantastic advice Crystal!! Especially the bit about giving up the expectation of a night’s sleep. My daughter only started sleeping through the night 2 months ago when she turned 12 months and already I feel like a new woman & that will come for you too Bridgit. I found the nights extremely difficult until my baby was around 8 months when I realised that going to bed every night hoping that tonight would be the night that I had a full night’s sleep was pointless. It just set me up for disappointment. There was many nights I cried through the feedings because I was just so tired. I realised that very soon she would be big and I would miss the cuddling time that we had together at night & I should cherish it while it was there (easier said than done :) ) The day she turned 12 months, she slept through the night. She still wakes occasionally but you don’t mind that.

    Another bit of fantastic advice Crystal gave is to lower your expectations. I am a perfectionist. In an ideal world, I would clean a room from top to bottom. So, in the living room for example, the floors would not get cleaned unless the cob-webs were dusted out of the corners, the light shades, mantal & other funiture was polished, then the sofas & the floors were hoover and finally then the floor mopped. Needless to say, with 2 small children I never got very far with that task. Embarrassingly, it would sometimes be a couple of weeks before the floors in the kitchen & living room would be mopped. I finally had to admit defeat & let go of my perfectionism. Now the floors get a quick sweep & a mop every night after the kids are in bed. I spend 10 minutes on it at the very most as I don’t want to spend all evening cleaning. It may not be perfect but at least the floor are seeing a mop every day rather than once a fortnight.

  15. says

    I love this post! I have been there (and depending on the day, still there)! I have 4 children, the oldest is 5. The first two are thirteen and a half months apart and the rest are all twenty-one months apart! My seven month old usually sleeps through the night, but I’m still nursing! I understand the pressure of being “Super Mom” because my mom was one, now she has so many health problems and can’t work. I really believe that she did so much that she wore her body out! I have FINALLY come to the conclusion that if someone comes over and is disgusted with my house, then they probably have not been through this stage in their life yet and one day they will understand! The thing I try to remember is to see myself through my childrens’ eyes. I even ask my older kids, “What do Mommies do?” and if I am pleased with their answer, than that’s good enough for me (some answers I’ve gotten are: exercise, wrap presents (it was close to birthday time for him!), read books and love kids). All those answers I was happy with (although I was scared that “Watch TV” would be their answer! Here are my top tips: SLEEP when possible, take stock in Clorox/Lysol wipes, try to never leave or enter a room empty handed!

  16. Anna says

    I have been following your blog for a year. I am a single mom with 4 kids including a child with disabilities. My own health is compromised. I work full time outside the home and I am a professional. I had to learn the hard way to manage on my own when my ex left and has not been responsible. I first learned to pray and then I read about organization and living a simple life. Life started to get better and then an intruder broke into our home. He terrorized my family. It has been awhile but my children still do not sleep well. We all have PTSD but are grateful to be alive and well. I was again challenged in life and started reading again.
    The comments you made about a routine are important. Children thrive on a routine. The police caught the intruder. My family testified in court. One of the most important things I did to help my family was to keep them on a routine (but not be inflexible) during this time. We got up and had breakfast, everyone has chores to do before and after school. I made out a weekly calendar of activities and keep it posted on the refrigerator. We ate dinner together each night, went to church and church activities while at the same time going to court. Sleep was a tough thing in our household during those months but again, routine was important, a pretty strict bedtime, bath, putting on PJs, snack, story time (reading for older kids), quiet music, prayers for a restful night, night lights if needed, mom resting with children if needed, (my children’s pediatrician prescribed some sleep aids if children could not sleep) and the same routine every night. It took 2 years but the children finally are sleeping better.
    I was exhausted most of the time but my children mean everything to me. After what we went through believe me I would rather deal with sleepless nights. I will always be grateful that I am alive and well and that my children are alive and well. Sleepless nights are not easy to live with but they can be dealt with and “this too will pass.” My saving grace was my faith and having a routine. Time management is difficult but can be accomplished–find something that works but start with small goals and stick with it. Changes take time.

  17. says

    I love what you had to say about giving up the expectation of getting sleep and trusting God to provide enough. I have a suggestion for some of the mom’s with really little ones like me. Make a schedule but don’t put times on it. Start your day in the same routine but don’t watch the clock. Sometimes I do my devotions with my kids awake. I just give them some toys and read my Bible.
    Here is my schedule, without times.
    Wake up
    Bible Study
    Feed kids
    Feed me
    Empty Dishwasher
    Clean up Breakfast
    Devotions with the kids- read a story from a children’s Bible
    Homeschool morning work
    Give kids a break- do a little cleaning

    http://lindyandjeanne.blogspot.com/

  18. Janelle says

    Thank you so much for the helpful advice! I have a 2 year old and a 12 wk old. My maternity leave is just about up, which means that Monday I am going back to work. I am a surgical nurse who works 4 days a week, and I am often on call for the hospital. I am not really sure how I’m going to get everything done and still be a good Mommy. I really appreciated your tips on structure and praying for artificial sleep:) I’m going to miss my little guys so much, but I am confident that God will help me with the transition. Please keep our family in your prayers.

  19. says

    Last year I had my daughter when our son was only 18 months. The first three weeks I don’t think that girl ever slept! She nursed 16-18 times a day. I didn’t get more that two hours of sleep at a time for almost 2 months. I had a c-section too, so I couldn’t lift my son. My husband was very busy at work, and that left everything up to me on more days than I wish to remember. I wasn’t sure how I would ever get things under control, and have enough energy left over to really enjoy my kids. I finallly realized that it didn’t matter if things weren’t perfect. Now a year later, things seem so much calmer ( most days!). I just try to get done what I can, let the rest go, and enjoy my babies!

  20. Cathy says

    FlyLady! Seriously, I’m in the same boat right now with an 8 MO who still wakes up several times a night. DH and I agree that right now I need the extra sleep rather than trying to wake up way ahead of everyone. My other kids are 2, 4, 6 and 10 but we put the 6 and 10 YOs in school this year (after 4 years of homeschooling) so I’m home with the 3 littles during the day. FlyLady and her “15 minutes” way of life keep the house clean (not perfect, but liveable).

  21. says

    This is me! I have a 3 month old and a just-turned-2-on-Sunday year old. This post was an encouragement… some of us know this stuff but still need to hear it, you know? Personally I have a chalk board between my dining room and kitchen. Each day after I’ve splashed some coffee in my face : P I stand at the chalkboard and write a list of things I want to do that day like shower, kid’s baths, walk outside and remind myself to make chicken legs for dinner. I need that because it gets so chaotic sometimes I forget to go to the bathroom or eat lunch.

    I was wondering if you use day-planners or could recommend one. I have always loved day-planners but some are better than others. I got one in the dollar bin at Target for 2009 and the space where you can write each day is too small, but then some day planners are way too delux for what I need right now (and too expensive). Any suggestions?

  22. heather says

    Once I shook off the morning fog today, I remembered the laundry tip I wanted to give last night!
    Bridget,
    If you have a newer model washer, see if it has a delay wash setting. I get distracted with my two little boys and after having to rewash clothes because I forgot about them after a day or two…
    I go down and retrieve my last load from the dryer and put another load in the washer, set the machine to start after we’ve gotten up. One less thing you have to remember in the morning and I can hear the beeper go off. Maybe time it so its ready to go in the dryer when the little ones go down for a nap so you can toss it in the dryer and then rest yourself knowing you’ve got clean clothes and it took only a few minutes to accomplish!!

  23. Lynette says

    One major thing is not to compare yourself with other moms! It may SEEM like they have it all together, but you may not be getting the whole story. When my kids were young, there was one particular mom that I was so jealous of because she seemed to have it all together. Her house was always clean, she was always welldressed and seemed to be well rested. Turns out, she was taking her kids to daycare 3 full days a week AND hiring a housecleaner twice a week. There wasn’t anything wrong with what this mom was doing – she just wasn’t a fair basis of comparison for me. So, don’t worry about what other moms do or don’t do – just concentrate on the basics at this point in your life. Keep everybody fed and clean, and enjoy this time because I can tell you, it goes by too fast! My kids are teens now, and I truly miss the closeness of the younger years. Try giving a 14 year old boy a hug and you’ll see what I mean!

  24. Rainbow says

    I love your last 2 sentences! I think we tend to get caught up in trying to have a spin and span house when what really matters is the time we spend with our family. I most certainly will alway choose cuddles over a super clean house. Thanks for reminding us to always take that time. :)

  25. Christy says

    I’m so glad you mentioned laugh! I remember those sleep-deprived months after my son was born. I found myself watching old cable re-runs of America’s Funniest Home Videos in the evenings somewhat regularly. Those would always get me laughing. Even if I only watched 20 minutes or so I always felt energized afterward. It’s like laughing lifts your spirits and wakes you up. It was so helpful for me. It still is now.

  26. Sarah says

    **tears** Thank you. I am the first-time mom of an 8 month old who hasn’t decided to like food yet – just mom – and who is getting up 2x a night for nourishment. I needed to hear this…

  27. Karrie says

    I hope the moms with babies will consider reading the book, On Becoming Babywise. It was written by a Christian doctor on how to create healthy sleep patterns for babies (and in turn, moms), and for decades, “Babywise” babies have been sleeping through the night by 7-9 weeks. I don’t know what I would have done if a lady at church hadn’t given it to me when I was expecting my first baby.

    These other tips are wonderful, too. And thank you, Crystal for the post, it’s very, very helpful.

    • Bridget says

      @Karrie, We followed babywise more closely with our first daughter who did indeed start sleeping through the night around 7 weeks. Our 6 month old goes to be at 7pm and will wake 1-2 times around 4-5am to nurse. I’m not sure if it’s because of his size- he just needs to eat (he was born close to 11 pounds). I’m a night RN that works 3 nights a week and pump when at work, so part of me isn’t concerned with getting up in the night because I want to make sure my supply keeps meeting his demands. Or maybe maybe problem is putting him to be to early and trying to do to much with those “free hours.” I guess our situation is a little more complex (but really whose isn’t?) We defintaely haven’t followed babywise as closely as we did with our first, but have taken the basic principle/schedule to heart.

      Besides it’s not just the lack of sleep that gets to me but also my toddler is the one who has brought a lot of stress into the picture as well, going through what some optimstically call the “terrific twos” ;o) testing limits, etc. I’m deeply encouraged by this post and all the comments, knowing this season won’t last forever and I just need to cherish it. Thank you for all the reminders! :)

    • Kelly says

      @Karrie,
      Oooow, can you tell me does this have any tips for older babies who have gotten into bad sleeping habits thanks to their busy mommies and daddies? My daughter is 12 months old and wakes up in the middle of the night multiple times and can’t seem to get herself back to sleep. We haven’t nursed during the night for eons. Thanks!

      • Karrie says

        @Kelly, I know there’s a chapter on “Getting a Late Start,” and there are also other books in the series for each age group, but those books assume that you’ve adapted the “parenting philosophy” of the first book. I think it would still help you, even though you’d be able to skip some chapters. It’s an easy read, and it works!

  28. Stephanie says

    I have a two year old and a nine week old- the toddler is the one not sleeping anymore. Before her sister was born she slept through the night, it is getting better but she is still up at least 2-4 times a night and up for good at 5am. I am so very tired and decided to pare back. If we make it to playgroup/storytime (both drop in) then great, if I am exhausted then we don’t. Right now I am only concerned with health and sanitation so I am keeping up with laundry, diapers, dishes, garbage and the cat. My husband is making dinner and doing the grocery shopping. I try to sweep every day and put the house back together before I go to bed. If that doesn’t happen then at least the dishes and laundry are clean, the garbage is out and the litter box doesn’t smell.

  29. Cher says

    Thank you so much for the reminder to give myself grace. I work part-time, have a 4yo girl, a 13mo boy and am 15 weeks pregnant (eek!). I REALLY needed that reminder to give myself a break and that this season is just that, a passing season. It’s so easy to get down on myself because I didn’t clean the house, when the reason was that morning sickness prevented it. Morning sickness will pass and my house will still be here, waiting to be cleaned.

  30. jennifer says

    Maybe it’s the fact that I am 38 1/2 weeks pregnant with my first child and VERY emotional but this brought a tear to my eye. I am anxious about the days that lie ahead and the precious little time I will have at home with my son before I must go back to work. This really puts things in perspective and I hope that the words of this post play back in my head to remind me to just enjoy each and every moment and let all the small mundane tasks that run my life now just wait for another day.
    thank you for these words!

  31. says

    I can definitely relate. I have have a 24 month old, 6 month old and work 40 hours a week with a 1 hour commute each way. I’m up by 5am every day and come home to a disaster to clean up since DH is a SAHD with the kids all day. It’s exhausting! It helps to remember that this is a short season. They are growing so fast.

  32. Stephanie says

    It only took me a month of having my newborn son crying the entire time I was making supper and then stressing every weekend to get my home cleaned (I work full time outside the home) to figure out soemthing had to give. I’ve turned to freezer meals (what a life saver!) and also do a little cleaning every day. My house is never spotless top to bottom, but I know things get done regularly and I’m ok with that. It’s picked up every night when I go to bed, so I feel like I have order in my life. My son is now almost 4 and this has saved me so much stress! My husband and I are waiting on an adoption, and I know I will have to make adjustments to my routine and am looking forward to the change!

  33. Kelly says

    Oh my goodness Crystal, this post is such a blessing. I, too, am nursing and am also juggling a FT and PT job and have a husband who works nights. I feel so frustrated at the state of disaster my house is in and also at the fact that my husband is never home, despite the fact that it was our mutual decision for him to take his job so we could avoid daycare expenses. Thanks for the reminder that family, including my husband, needs to be first and that my daughter will grow up so fast, no matter how unorganized I am and how messy my house is. I think it will serve as a much-needed attitude adjuster that will help my marriage too. Thank you again.

  34. says

    Ask a single gal pal to watch your kids as you organize now and then. As a single young woman, I miss being around children and babies since I grew up and honestly, when I am lonely I just want to be around healthy families. I would happily watch your children while you organized. I would happily entertain them at the grocery store as you run around grabbing necessities, I would happily feed them as you prepared dinner for your husband. Single people usually want to be in families, and as we don’t have our own-most of us would happily serve in someone else’s to be a blessing and to be blessed.

  35. Angie says

    Thank you for this post!!!! I have 2 small children and this is SOOOOO what I needed to hear right now!

  36. Julie says

    My one piece of advice for those with a new little one: accept all offers of help! I always felt so bad passing off my crying (colicky) infant to someone else even for a few minutes, or accepting meals or offers for babysitting. But, now I realize that they REALLY don’t mind, and they wouldn’t offer if they did. At the time I would have done anything to have 5 minutes peace from all that crying, but now I would gladly take a crying infant from another mother to give her a break. I wish I had realized how much others really did want to help and I would have taken them up on all those offers!

  37. Shauna says

    I used to try to clean my house all in one day but when I had my third child it became impossible. I had a 3 1/2 year old son, 21 month old daughter and my newborn son..I new something had to change.
    I have broken down my cleaning to not even everyday:
    Monday – vaccum and mop
    Tuesday –
    Wednesday – one week I dust the next week I change sheets on beds
    Thursday –
    Friday-
    Saturday – clean bathrooms and laundry
    I try to pick up everyday. On the days I do not have anything scheduled I try to do laundry, organize closets, anything extra that needs to be done. I try to keep my schedule flexible and open. That way if I miss a day such as Monday because I want to do something with my kids I can bump it to Tuesday and not feel overwhelmed because now I have twice as much as to get done.
    I also find it extremely helpful to start a load of laundry first thing in the morning and then you have all day to get it in the dryer, folded and even possibly put away.
    I manage to keep a pretty clean house even though I am not the best homemaker I am able to enjoy my kids and feel somewhat organized.
    Another wonderful thing that worked for me is when I was nursing I made activity bags for my other kids. (This was not my good idea but one a neighbor shared with me). They were only allowed to come out when I was nursing and they had special toys in them they liked. They were just things I had collected at dollar stores and such but the kids loved them. Then while I was nursing the kids were not whining at me or ripping apart my house and I didn’t have to always turn on the t.v. to keep them entertained.

  38. redheadmommy76 says

    Wow, I REALLY needed that. Thanks so much. I have a 6 yr old, 3 yr old, 19mo. old and 4 mo. old. I’m breastfeeding and taking care of the 19mo. old full time and the 3 yr. old part time when she’s not at PDO. I just can’t seem to keep up with any chores. I used to be so organized and such a meticulous cleaner. Now I just do what I can to get by. And, more often than not, my husband is kicking in extra help around the house since I’m breastfeeding every 1.5-2hrs for our baby who is underweight. I get the judgmental looks from his mom though. She never had this many kids or so many small at the same time. None of our family know what it’s like, but they sure do make their standards known. Ugh, just wish I had more moms in my situation closer to me. It’s nice to know I’m not failing every day like I feel like I am. I’m trying to do the cherishing a little more every day instead of letting the tasks run my life. Man, this is a tough gig. Sure wish there was a manual out there…

    Keep up the good work ladies & hang in there! :)
    John 15:5 “Apart from me, you can do nothing.”

  39. says

    Thank you for this post! I am a mommy to a 4 yr old, 2yr old and a 2 month old! I know I set expectations way above what is reasonable and hearing that from someone else is good for my soul! I really need to get a simple schedule set like above.

  40. Megan says

    Thank you so much for this post. I’m in a similar position with a 7-month old nursing baby who wakes up two to three times each night. I’m a perfectionist to a fault, and it is SO hard to be at peace with not being able to accomplish everything I want to!

    This was a much needed reminder to cherish every moment with my precious son and lean on the Lord through this season in my life.

    Thank you!

  41. says

    Great Post Crystal!
    I agree with you and with so many of the commenters that said to enjoy this time and not to get too stressed out over the small stuff. It seems that you will never survive this stage of life, and before you know it you are already in the next one!

    One thing I would add is to make it a priority when planning those 5 homemaking tasks for yourself, to see what it is that your husband most likes done. If he could care less or doesn’t notice the floors being mopped, but gets frustrated that he has no clean shirts….make laundry the priority.
    Often times as homemakers we do the things that we most want done (which isn’t bad) at the expense of what our husband would most want done. But you need to ask him! Maybe he could care less about wearing a dirty shirt, but stepping in gunk from a dirty floor grosses him out! :)
    Blessings to all,
    Joy

    • says

      @Joy@thestayathomemissionary, It’s funny you should mention that. I did talk to my husband about that and wrote about it in in king of our castle. I was surprised at the results and found I could let a lot of guilt and pressure go because of it!

      I’ve only read part of the comments but am loving them! Life is pretty smooth right now. With a 2yo and 3yo, I’m in a pretty good routine right now. One that I am sure will go right out the window when our new baby arrives this spring! LOL. I’ll be needing this advice then.

    • chris says

      @Joy@thestayathomemissionary,

      DH and I are bothered by different things. I guess I always felt that if sometthing was bothering him, maybe he should make it a priority to clean it ;)

      I was also going to say since the OP didn’t share if she nursed laying down or not. If she doesn’t I would highly encourage her to try and figure it out. Cosleeping and nursing in the sidelining position were a huge live saver for me. DS2 coslept. DH would get up once each night to change a diaper (DS2 slept poorly if he was wet). I never got out of bed unless I had too pee. Most of the time I was unaware of how many times I nursed (I am very nearsighted and can’t see the clock) and mostly felt pretty well rested in the a.m.

  42. Sophia says

    I needed this post today. I have a 28 month old son and a 4 month old daughter. I am nursing my daughter. Everyday I look around and see a disaster. It is so overwhelming. I don’t know where to start. It seems like I never have even 15 mins to try and do some cleaning up. I am always frustrated and stressed about the state of the house. It is getting in the way of me enjoying my children, which makes me feel so guilty. I try and remind myself that it is just a season.

    • Cindi says

      @Sophia,
      Sophia,
      my boys are 19 months apart and I can remember just wanting to cry after we brought Kyler home. I would have a baby on each side of me, both wanting mommy and both crying…it was so overwhelming! Hang in there, I wish I could give you words of wisdom, but know that you are not alone (even if it feel like you are!).

  43. Emily says

    I haven’t had time to read through all the comments, but I’d recommend 2 books for you to read (I know, in all your spare time). Both recommend putting baby on a flexible routine of eat time, awake time, and then sleep time. Many people often switch the order of these last 2 activities, but awake time followed by sleep time naturally helps babies fall into a good sleep pattern and help them sleep through the night. I followed this type of flexible routine with both my babies, and they both slept through the night by 11 weeks. Of course it is best to start right away when a baby is newborn, but it can be done with a late start. The books are called “On Becoming Babywise” and “The Secrets of the Baby Whisperer”. The premise is very similar in both books, but Babywise some would say is a little harsher (I tried not to take everything literally in the book). Anyway, both might give you great ideas to get your baby, toddler and yourself started on a simple, flexible routine.

  44. Trista says

    Thank you SO much for this Crystal! I am in a similar situation…I have a 2mo that nurses every two hours and a 27mo old who likes to have constant attention! :) I often am overwhelmed by how my house looks and how big my “to-do” list is. This was very helpful, and I will definitely be putting some of your tips to use.
    I do have a question though. Do you do your morning Bible reading with the kids? If you do, do you read a standard version of the Bible or do you have a children’s Bible that you use? I’m looking for some Bible lessons to do with my 2yo, but am having a hard time finding some. Do you have any suggestions?

    • says

      We love The Jesus Bible Storybook for young ones. We also just read straight Scripture and stop to explain as we go along. There are a few other things we’re using which I’ll share more about in my post today.

  45. Keri says

    What great, true words of encouragement! I too find myself stressing out because the house is in chaos. But at the end of the day and this season of my and my children’s lives, I want to know that I spent every moment I could just loving on them.

    Thanks!

  46. Amy says

    I am a mother of 4 little ones under 7 years old and I’ve had my share of sleep deprivation! But as a doctor, I would ask everyone to look into the American Academy of Pediatrics position on to the Babywise program before considering it for your family. It has been cited in the medical literature as a cause of health problems in infants, including failure-to-thrive.
    Here is one side by side comparison that explains why pediatricians have issues with Babywise:
    http://www.gfi.org/java/pdf/AAP_BWise.pdf

    • Laura says

      i have heard the same thing! i think there are SOME good things about this book, but i’m a little leery of some of it as well. I really like the book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I felt that it had a more balanced approach… plus, it really worked with both my kids!

  47. Traci says

    Definitely not a time-management tip, but if you are nursing… have you had your doctor check your iron levels? Lack of sleep could be a factor, but if your iron is low it will make it even worse. When I was pregnant, I was extremely tired all the time until we discovered I was carrying twins and needed even more iron. It made a huge difference!

  48. Cindi says

    God must have sent this to me…yesterday I was feeling as though I could not do anything right, especially being a good mommy. I have a 2 1/2 year old and a 13 month old who is still nursing…(the baby is)…I was feeling very out of control and owerwhelmed…thank you for reframing the priorities. The boys will only be little once and the house will still be a mess when I get to it. i love the part about granting myself grace.