When you become a mom, the word "time management" takes on a whole new meaning. Being a mom is the best, and it can also be the worst! Being a mom brings out challenges that you thought were your strengths. Time management being one of these for me for sure! We can get caught up in this fast-paced world, where every minute counts. New moms specifically, can often find themselves juggling a multitude of responsibilities while still trying to "keep up". From feeding, diaper changes, family and friends visits, doctor's appointments and having a clean house, not to mention work if you decide to keep working outside of the home, the demands on our time is stretched to its limits. Today, let's explore the art of time management for new moms and discover strategies to make the most of your precious hours.
Why Time Management for New Moms Matter
Effective time management is not just a skill; it's a lifeline for new moms. It can make the difference between feeling overwhelmed and feeling some semblance of control. Of course, the best laid plan can blow up in minutes as a mom, but if we have an effective time management system, we can account for moment like that. Here are some reasons we as new moms want to pay attention to time management:
Reduced Stress: When you focus on time management, you are less likely to feel stressed or rushed. This, in turn, positively impacts your mental and physical health. The less overwhelmed you are, the better you can cope with the many demands of new motherhood.
Enhanced Productivity: Efficient time management means you can accomplish more in less time. As a new mom, you know that there are more tasks to be done and a lot less time. By using your time effectively, you can get more done including self-care and relaxation! Yes, scheduling relaxation time is now a thing we have to do.
Improved Well-Being: With better time management, you can allocate time to self-care activities, which are crucial for your overall well-being. When we take the time to feel well-rested and emotionally balanced we are being selfless. We are better able to be present and loving with our baby and the family around us.
Quality Family Time: Time management isn't just about getting more done; it's about creating space! When pay attention to your schedule, you can set aside precious moments to spend with family where you aren't worrying about what hasn't gotten done or what you have to do. You are more able to stay in the moment and be emotionally availble for the people you love.
Understanding Your Time: Identifying Time Wasters
If we talk about time management, we have to talk about what you are doing currently that feels like a waste of time. Activities that you are doing that can either be stopped, delegated or paid for. Some time wasters, like watching Netflix can double as self-care, but sometimes that can be a time suck and energy suck. It is essential to take a look at what feels like a waste of time when we look at time-management for new moms.
Identifying Time Drains: Take a moment to identify activities or habits that eat away at your time without providing substantial benefits. Take note of how you feel after enaging in this activity. Do you feel refreshed and ready to get going again, or do you feel like you are a numb lump on the couch with guilt creeping in for "wasting time" or "not connecting with your baby." Look at your phone usage. Are you spending too much time on social media, or getting stuck researching everything you are having anxiety about. Maybe you are doing some online retail therapy that doesn't quite feel like therapy when you push at to cart. Are you getting lost in household chores because you are avoiding something, or because you are trying to calm your anxiety or have the place "not look like a pig stye". Identifying these drains is the first step in regaining a sense of control of your time.
Minimizing Distractions: Distractions come in various forms, whether it's your phone pinging with notifications, the allure of social media, or the constant beckoning of household clutter. Do you notice that you are using distractions as a way to zone out, relax, fill your time, or distract away from the hard emotions? We use distractions because it is easier to do something you know rather than the thing you are avoiding! Sitting in the discomfort is hard especially when the source of discomfort is your baby, the thing that you are supposed to love unconditionally and never get tired of... and cue the mom guilt. Find ways to minimize the distractions and work on these hard emotions even if it means reaching out to a therapist.
Time Management Tools and Apps
In this digital age, we have plenty of apps at our fingertips. A lot of the ones we use on a daily bases are to help distract us. Let's use some of these to help our mental and physical health! There are a ton of time management apps that help take the mental load off of you. There are apps from task lists to calendars, time tracking to app blockers for those pesky apps that are energy drains. These tools can be invaluable for new moms. Here are some tools that have been helpful for time management for me and many of my clients. Google Calendar: This free tool is my person lifesaver. It helps organize your schedule and takes the mental load off of you. You can color-code appointments, set reminders for yourself and baby, schedule household tasks, and share calendars with your partner or family members. It's is also a great way to keep everyone on the same page without having to have conversations or being viewed as nagging. Mindful Time Management: This app focuses on combining mindfulness and time management techniques. It helps you set intentions for your day, prioritize tasks mindfully, and track your progress. Learn how to drop tasks when they are not the priority and learn what tasks can be given to others. Meal Planning Apps: Apps like Mealime, Yummly, or Paprika can simplify meal planning and grocery shopping. They offer customizable recipes, shopping lists, and meal schedules, reducing the stress of daily meal preparation. Ther are some apps that you can even grocery shop and get your food delivered to your house. Get meal planning and grocery shopping done while your baby is taking a contact nap, or what I like to call nap trapped. Screen Time Blocker Apps: A lot of the times, we have the habit of getting on our phone to scroll before we even can think about it. It is only an hour into scrolling that we realize what we have done. Apps that block other apps, or put time limits on apps can be a powerful tool to help you stop and think about what you are doing. They help you break habits with screen time usage. Apps like Stay on Task, Flipd, OFFTIME, and Forest are great apps to look into.
Time Management for Self-Care
While the demands of being a new mom is intense, it's crucial to carve out time for self-care. Many new moms may feel guilty about dedicating time to themselves, but self-care is essential for maintaining your physical and mental health.
Explore the importance of dedicating time for self-care in your schedule. Discuss how prioritizing self-care activities can contribute to better time management by improving your overall well-being. When you're well-rested, relaxed, and emotionally balanced, you're better equipped to handle the challenges of motherhood.
Setting Realistic Expectations: It is common for people to suggest time away from the baby for self-care. This may or may not be possible depending on how old your baby is. Self-care literally means doing something to take care of yourself. In the early stages of motherhood, this can be taking a shower and making sure you eat something when you are hungry. Asking for support so you can get some needed sleep or getting outside with or without your baby for some fresh air.
It's easy to set overly ambitious goals like going shopping with your girlfriend for the afternoon, or going to a baseball game, especially when you're a new mom eager to do it all. When we set goals that are too loft, it can actually lead to frustration and burnout. "why can't I do this stuff? I used to be able to. My life is over!" These are all really common thoughts when we are getting used to our new identity as mom and trying to figure out how to take care of ourselves again. It takes time to learn anything, and being a mom is not an exception to that rule. Set realistic goals for self-care and be kind to yourself. This is all new, you will get the hang of it eventually.
Hi, I’m Kristina Anzell, I am a Clinical Social Worker dedicated to providing specialized and compassionate mental health support for moms postpartum. My mission is to empower you to thrive in your role as a mother while nurturing your own well-being. If you enjoyed this blog post, check out my blog here! If you want more information or are seeking treatment, feel free to reach out!