I got the career I always wanted. I got the baby I always wanted. Now how do I do both while still squeezing in time to acknowledge my hubs once in awhile? That’s what this post is about. I’m not a parenting expert, nor a productivity expert. But if there’s one thing I’m good at it’s surviving, and here’s how I do it!
Feed Yourself Well & Make It Easy
Aesthetics aside, we all know being in better shape will enable you to be a better mother. The two things I absolutely can’t live without to accomplish this are my Instant Pot (affiliate link) and pre-prepped foods from my neighborhood grocery store.
Why Instant Pot? Aside from the benefits already baked into all slow cookers (see what I did there?), you’ve also got a pressure cooker that can turn frozen meat into cooked meat in minutes. No more having to remember to take out the frozen meat the night before or having to thaw it before you can make dinner. (Call me lazy, but for me it’s the difference between a home-cooked meal and ordering a pizza.) Tacos, drumsticks, spaghetti sauce, and chili are all regular staples I make using my Instant Pot. In my 4th trimester after buying an IP, I went from not being a cook (even pre-baby) to making a home-cooked dinner a few times a week. That’s huge!
So what do I mean by pre-prep foods? I mean chopped fruits and vegetables, meats and even entire meals prepared by your grocery store using fresh, whole ingredients. I literally never need to go to the interior aisles except for baby and non-food items. I’m finally achieving the dream of eating only from the produce and deli sections and it’s because I’m letting my grocery store do the hard work. I’ll even assemble a week’s worth of pre-prepped meats and produce into meals that I freeze and take to work the next morning (street tacos with a side of fresh fruit, anybody?). Do I pay more for them to clean and cut for me? Yes. But would I pay more for takeout and the long-term medical costs of a poor diet? Absolutely.
Steal Time To Move The Needle
There’s a Johnny Cash song about stealing one car part piece at a time from the factory. Little by little and after a long time, you have enough parts for an entire car. Now, I don’t condone stealing from others, but I’m a huge fan of stealing time. If you have a side project – a blog, for example – that you want to launch but you feel like you can’t, read on.
As a new mom with a full-time job, I steal time typically twice a day – during my lunch hour at work and at home after work while my husband is picking up our daughter from childcare. I get roughly two hours a day from this if everything aligns correctly. That’s 10 hours a week, 40 hours a month. You can do A LOT in that time. The caveat? When I’m with my daughter, I drop it all. That’s HER time. Those two time slots may not work for you, but the point is to find a couple of pockets. Create them if you need to, enlisting the help of others. Which brings me to …
Ask Him For Help (Even Though It’s Unfair)
This one’s a biggie. Make the division of labor very clear early on and enforce it. This includes the mental load! I won’t get into the age-old discussion of whether husbands do enough (it varies after all), but I do know they need it communicated to them even though it is unfair. It’s just the way it is, and the feminist bad-ass in me hates it and tries to chip away at it. That said, the needs-to-get-things-done part of me shrugs, says screw it and paints the poor guy a picture. However you do it, just make sure he’s helping.
Don’t Borrow Trouble
A good friend dolled out this gem or her mom’s to me after I got some pretty upsetting family news right after I had my daughter. Just don’t bother yourself with things that are going to drain you and take you away from the stuff that matters. All your life’s petty annoyances will still be there for eye-rolling and side-eye when you’re past this crazy chapter of your life. Instead, just take a big, cleansing exhale and focus on that side hustle and your darling family. It works, I promise.
S.B. Castañeda is a writer and new mom based in San Antonio, Texas. When she’s not blogging, she can be found cooking with her Instant Pot and listening to her favorite true crime podcasts. She also enjoys writing for her mom blog, Baby Brain. Check out her recent post on budget jogging strollers.