Even with a baby-led way of parenting, when Zeke chooses his own naptimes during the day and bedtime at night, there is still a certain pattern to our day, that lets me get some housework finished, a blog entry done or some other online time, dinner started or whatever else it is I need to do.
The trick is to take note of your baby's patterns. They may always have an hour sleep in the morning, or a long sleep in the middle of the day. Use these times to get things done, but prioritise the things you need to do. Getting a head start on dinner is always good, as is doing some dishes or laundry (if bubs can sleep through the washing machine) however, if you have to choose between starting dinner or cleaning the windows, start dinner, even if it will have to be reheated at mealtimes. It is near impossible to cook when the baby is tired/hungry later in the evening.
Multi-tasking is great as well. If your mind allows you to focus on more than one thing, you can work on several small projects at once. For example you want to check your emails, do the dishes, and get a load of laundry done, pick up all the bits of rubbish toys on the floor, but only have 60-90 minutes while your little one naps.
- Put baby to sleep in cot/your bed/wherever works
- Pick up toys/rubbish on the way back
- Turn on your computer
- While it boots, fill sink and put first load of dishes to soak
- Check baby... turn face to side so nose is no longer pressed in mattress
- Collect a few spare toys en route
- Collect dirty laundry in basket
- Do first sink of dishes & leave to air dry
- Pick up bits off kitchen floor while there
- Put laundry on
- Pick up all bits of rubbish/toys en route and put in appropriate place
- Rush to shut baby's door so washing machine does not wake.
- Read emails.
- Check baby again... rotate so head is not pressed against cot bars
- Dry dishes & think of responses to emails
- Check baby did not wake when you dropped entire cutlery drawer
- Put next load of dishes in to soak
- Reply to a couple of emails
- Do next lot of dishes & leave to air dry
- Return to computer to reply to more emails etc
- Continue switching between computer & dishes
The theory being (and it works for me) that you do not get too bored/frustrated with any one task, and do not end up spending too much time waiting for your emails to load, crusty dishes to soften etc... obviously if you are still sleep-deprived this may not work because you will forget what you started.
But what if your LO doesn't nap, and is insisting on round-the-clock attention? Again the multi-tasking comes into play. Start playing with the baby in a safe place (where you can leave them) and when they're engaged get up and pick up a few things, fill the sink, etc. You may only get a couple of minutes in between returning to your child and resuming play or giving them a cuddle... but even a few less things on the floor or a couple of clean coffee mugs really helps the atmosphere feel less chaotic.
ALWAYS REMEMBER: Sleep is the MOST IMPORTANT priority as a new mum. If you are pooped and your child is asleep, throw a load of clothes in the wash and lay down. There is no point having a tidy house if you are exhausted to the point of tears. The first thing I do when Zeke goes down is consider if I need a nap myself!
Anyway, I know Zeke's nap is rapidly coming to an end (the builders next door have just come off lunch break and are banging and crashing with abandon,) so I'd best get myself another drink, throw some more clothes in the washer and get back to it!