Many moons ago, when I was a carefree human, I was famous for many things; being organized was not one of them. I pretty much lived in the moment, never planning ahead and had an easy-breezy, devil-may-care attitude towards my day. Being married to someone as accommodating and accepting of my flaws as The Husband, didn’t really help. But as all parents know, parenthood switches something inside of you. While you might start exhibiting complete disregard towards issues that really irked you in the past, you may also surprise yourself with a wide array of new little things that will concern you now.
Motherhood has brought big, noticeable changes in me. And the most prominent of these to me is my innate need to be organized. I suppose being responsible for the survival of another human forces me to plan my day, my meals, my work and my priorities in the minutest detail possible. Having a toddler means that things don’t always go as per plan, but I do my best to catch up with loose ends during the day. Today I thought I will share a few things I do during a regular day in my life, that actually help keep me sane and maintain a semblance of organization in mine and my daughter’s day. They might be helpful for you if you are new to parenthood. And if you are a seasoned parent who has done all this and more when they had a two year old, you might just get a good laugh at my naivety and enthusiasm.
- Since the time that my daughter has had a fixed wake up time, I make it a point to get up at least one and a half hour before her every morning. This gives me enough quiet time before the chaos begins. I have my breakfast and morning tea in peace, watch some TV and sit quietly with my thoughts. Now that she goes to pre-school three times a week, I use this time to eat, pack her snack, shower and get ready for the day before she wakes up. This means that when she is up, I am completely focused on her instead of rushing her while drying my own hair. And we all know that rushing a toddler is a recipe for disaster. I have come to greatly value these extra hours that I gain by sacrificing some sleep each morning. They are instrumental in giving me the patience to deal with my daughter in the first half of our day.
- I never ever let myself go hungry or thirsty during the day. This is a lot more important than it might seem, but it is a well-known fact that most humans get grumpy and impatient on an empty stomach. And while having a toddler guarantees that they will get on your every nerve multiple times a day, the chances of you reacting like The Hulk are greatly reduced when you are well fed and hydrated. I snack as soon as I start to feel peckish mid-morning and I also always keep my water bottle close by, because hydration keeps me pretty!
- I try my best to finish most of my household chores while my daughter is awake. Granted it takes me an hour to finish a thirty minute task but that’s totally my fault. Pretending to be Cinderella and singing and dancing while folding laundry will obviously take a lot longer than expected, but that’s essential to distract my daughter from her constant demands. Why I do my chores while she is awake has a very selfish reason. Just so I can do what I actually love when she is asleep. She still naps around two hours each day (thank God!) and that’s when I enrich my life with writing, reading, photography or an adult-ish TV show not suitable for little eyes and ears. I have noticed that on the days that I don’t take out this time for myself, I turn super grumpy in the evenings and go to bed feeling heavy and annoyed.
- And while I do like to get housework out of the way while my daughter is awake, I also make it a point to spend some time each day with her where we play, read, paint or simply tumble around on the living room floor. I put away my phone at a distance so that I am not tempted to check it constantly and focus all my senses on my child. And even though I am around her all day, she loves our one to one time and I too, feel oddly fulfilled by this intimate interaction.
- After becoming a mother, waking up to a clean home has become sort of a fetish of mine. So after we put our daughter to bed, I recruit The Husband’s services and we take ten minutes to clean the kitchen and living areas. We don’t run the vacuum or anything, we only put things that have been uprooted by a two year old tornado, back at their right places, load the dishwasher and clean the counter tops. And even though we don’t enjoy spending precious minutes on cleaning when we could be cuddled on the couch watching Stranger Things, I have come to see how much better my day starts when I wake up to a clean kitchen and how much I enjoy breakfast in a clutter free room.
- Ever since my daughter started pre-school, I have made sure that I decide what she and I will wear tomorrow, the night before. I check if the clothes need an iron (which I always hope they won’t, but they always do!) and hang them behind the door. This greatly reduces my morning stress and I have not once had to squeeze my eyes or take deep breaths to compose myself in the morning since she started school, which I am sure is a good sign.
- I also don’t allow myself to even sit on my bed at night, no matter how tired I may be, until I have done my night time skin care routine. You see, my night skin care ensures that I will wake up looking well-rested, hydrated and all those good things. Which in turn means a good start to the morning, an appreciative attitude towards the small things in life and of course, less time on makeup.
Having said all this, I know that even the most organized moms out there will agree, that there comes a time during the day when all your planning and organizing goes down the drain, when all hell breaks loose in Toddlywood and sh*t hits the fans (sometimes figuratively, other times literally!) However, I have noticed that the best way to go to bed, semi-satisfied with myself each night, is to try my best to eliminate the usual suspects I have talked about and slay all the known reasons that I know cause me stress. Thanks for being here right now.