This is the question that I get from most mummies, either from commenting on my post or even private messaging me. My answer has been always “time management”. And, then they will go on further “how?” Errr….”like that lor?”
So, let’s put this into writing so that whenever someone asks me about this – I will just copy and paste the link to them. *grin*
Since February or my girl’s 13 month old onwards when I turned a stay at home mum, her schedule has been fairly consistent – just that she has reduced to one nap per day and she is sleeping later at night; occasionally waking up later in the morning.
I basically gets up 15-30 minutes after my hubby’s gets up to go for a jog; that will be around 7 to 7.30pm. I begin my day by brushing my teeth and then prepare breakfast for my hubby – which would be usually half boiled eggs (just boil hot water and pour onto eggs). Others like coffee and toasting of bread – he will settle it himself. Then, I will then start preparing the meals for the days – usually soup or stew chicken (which I would have marinated the previous day) and also my little girl’s brekkie – usually fruits yogurt with cheerios or scramble egg with fruits. Good thing is that we adults and the toddler have the same set of meals – where I will use natural ingredients for our meals (without salt and sugar). In between time gaps of waiting (for water to boil), I will surf the net, update my blog, prepare my own coffee for breakfast and have a quick brekkie (bread, muffin, biscuit) – coffee is a MUST to survive as a stay-at-home-mum!
In between time, my little girl would have woken up – depending on her level of tiredness and mood to sleep in. When she wakes up, she will either yell for me or walk over to the kitchen to look for me. Once awake, she would want to be breastfed immediately and then I will teach her how to wash her face, brush her teeth and *cough* try to potty train her – so far, I have gotten her to sit down, but actually peeing or pooing has been difficult/ or yet to be successful. Then I will get her to take breakfast after letting her warm up in the living room (while I quickly do some stuff in the kitchen). I will usually keep an eye on her while she has her breakfast – I could even watch her eat from the kitchen while I cut vegetables or so (save some time here) – I just have to put her nearer to the kitchen (which is no entry for her – safety gate on).
After breakfast, we will take our shower together. Then, little 17chipmunks will play by herself (she will occasionally run to the kitchen to look for me- I would have to run to and forth the kitchen-living room to calm her down) while I will continue with preparing lunch and/or dinner. By this time, one of the meals would be almost done (or both meals done if we are having the same dishes for the day –usually this is the case). Next, we will have our time together either playing, learning or grocery shopping. In between, she would have a little snack (even outside home – which is usually cheerios, raisins or teething biscuit). When at home, the morning snack would be usually fresh fruits.
We would have lunch by 12.30pm, which will take about 30 minutes –including cleaning up the mess. I have practiced the policy of not force feeding her – but let her eat if she wants and let it be when she doesn’t. Just after I wash her up (which including trying to potty train her) – depending on the level of mess (I might change her) – I will let her some time alone – playing/ listening/ watching kids videos. This is the time I will do the dishes and if she isn’t clingy that day – I will go on preparing her next snack/ meal. If she is clingy, I will get her involved – by shifting the kitchen to the dining table. Or, if she is clingy because of sleepiness or so, I will just lay on the bed with her – while she climb up and down; or wants to be nursed – this is the time I take a break. Note that each time I nurse her on the bed (which she does several times during day time) is an opportunity for me to get updated with what’s happening by going through facebook, reading news and also updating some posts on facebook. She will eventually takes her nap – which lasts from 30 minutes to 3 hours – depending on her level of tiredness.
Her nap time is my opportunity to rush everything – I will usually cook and/or bake and then mop the floor when she is asleep – as these two are the most difficult tasks to do when she is awake. I would also marinate stuff for the next day – so cooking gets easy the next day. I could leave laundry while she is awake – as she works as my little assistant too. I could also leave ironing clothes (which I do once a week) when she is awake – during her own play time. She will usually wake up right on the dot when I get to sit down on my chair (except for cases when she is really tired – like today?) House chores that probably need to be done on a fortnightly or monthly basis will be planned out eventually. For example, washing toilets can be done if she decides to sleep in or during her bath time (where I let her play longer in the tub). PLUS, I don’t live in a big bungalow. It is just one level condo unit where things are still manageable and within my eyes.
Right after she wakes up from nap, she wants to be nurse – which takes about 5 to 10 minutes. In most cases, this is an opportunity for me to take a short nap – yes, real short one like 5 to 10 minutes – which really helps. Then, she will take her afternoon snack while I relax and watch her. By evening, we would be in the playground, swimming pool or if it is raining, do some indoor activities like hula hoop, play dough or clay art. Or, sometimes when I don’t get to finish my laundry, we will just do it together.
Next, we will usually take a shower before dinner – just to ensure that she is clean from germs before having dinner. Yes, that would mean another round of cleaning after dinner. After dinner, she will get to play the tab – while I do the dishes and have some alone time for myself – I get to sit on the desktop if she plays the tab. She will come bug me if she starts to feel bored or wants to be nursed. At this time, sometimes I just play with her lego or her toys.
Soon, hubby returns home – I have more break time from then on. After hubby’s dinner, I will prefer to do the dishes while hubby entertains our girl. *blek*By this time, she would have also gotten bored of me and cling on the papa for his phone/ ipad.
After hubby takes his shower and clear some of his stuff, we would have time to watch some drama – while the toddler would be playing herself or lately, doing “ceramah” (although we don’t know what’s she trying to say). We also take the drama time to read news on our phone/tab/pad. Eventually, she will use up her energy and throw some little tantrum, before waving goodbye to papa in front of the room – indicating that I have to nurse her to sleep. If I am still not too tired after she has fallen to sleep, I would either prepare some cooking/baking stuff for next day, surf the net, update blog or continue watching drama with hubby. I usually go to sleep between 12.30am to 1am.
It is as simple as this; so, there’s nothing extra ordinary that I do, I guess!
1. Do as much as possible when the toddler is asleep!
2. Eat the same type of food as the toddler -promotes healthy eating too.
3. Get the toddler involved in some activities like laundry.
4. Be quick to offer different activities to the toddler – so that they won’t be bored. When they are bored, the tendency for them to be clingy is high.
5. Just lay on the bed to accompany them if they are clingy – the reason of this clingy-ness is probably because they are tired.
6. If you are breastfeeding, nurse lying down. You get to relax/nap/surf the net using your phone.
Some people love to use the phrases like “poor thing, you are so tired” or “you have no time for yourself”; but I actually prefer this kind of schedule than having a meaningless life back then (the time when I just got back to work after maternity leave) – at least I get to see my girl grows up and spend my time with her. Tired? Yes, I am tired but I am loving what I do and that’s what it easier to get things done!