It is hard to feel productive as a mom. As I type this, my 5 month old is doing tummy time, by my side, and I am cheering him on. As a mom, you definitely learn to multitask. As a woman who is always thinking up ideas and new goals, including starting this blog, I needed to figure out ways to feel productive during the day. Some days taking a shower is the most productive thing I do. I try to celebrate these small goals and let go of expectations.
Here are my productivity hacks and the ways my mom friends stay productive too.
My baby normally takes 3 naps. During the first one, I do yoga as soon as I put him down and watch him on the baby monitor. During the second nap, I make coffee and work on a blog or research baby info to learn more about this motherhood thing. During the 3rd nap, I basically eat a snack, because it is normally pretty short. I now try to read while he is breastfeeding and I try to do dishes and food prep while he is playing in his bjorn bouncer seat. My husband does the grocery shopping during the week, which is super helpful. When my husband comes home from work-I fit in a shower. I do laundry, while he plays by my side, and talk about the clothes, as I fold them. I also try to take walks with him in the stroller with another mom or by myself and use that time to pray.
Here is what other mom’s are saying…
“I use the Graco EveryWay Soother
a lot. I bring her in it from room to room, so I can keep an eye on her in it. If she needs to be held, I carry her in the Lille Baby Carrier. I go into the day having a couple of goals and I get to them when she naps. For maintaining the house, I stack things like dishes and things that can wait for the end of the day. Prepping my meals ahead of time, when my husband is home saves me a lot of time so that I don’t have to cook during the week, and can focus my energy on my daughter.”- Mom of a 9 week old
“Using an Instant Pot, exercising with toys in your hands in front of the baby, prepping and cooking dinner starting in the morning so you don’t stress if you can’t do it right before dinner, cutting up all of your veggies for the next few days all at once, instead of doing it in each meal, making a bowl for your lunch the night before, so all you have to do is heat it during the day, listening to podcasts during walks, always planning you and the baby’s next meal and activity, so you’re not wasting time thinking, having you and the baby’s next meal and activity so you are not wasting time thinking, having you and the baby’s out the door outfits ready in the morning, even if you don’t know when you’re leaving because you never know when you need to quickly leave and don’t want to be scrambling. I just discovered that when I’m cooking and the baby is in the bouncer, you can hook a toy onto your belt loop, so they are entertained while you move around the kitchen. ” -Mom of a 3 month old and 3.5 year old
“My husband does all the cooking and dishes-he enjoys it! I work out at night, when my husband is home. I make a to do list every day and try to get to things when I am in that room…emptying the dishwasher while my son eats breakfast, folding laundry when we go upstairs to play. I also cheat and put ridiculous things on my to do list, so I feel productive, like “shower” and “take vitamins”-Mom of a 5 month old and 3 year old
“Okay, well first off I can say it is very difficult, hence me taking 2.5 hours to respond to you. I cook for my daughter on the weekends when my husband is around and have it all frozen and ready to go for the week. We cook our dinner when he gets home and she goes to bed-so we eat late, but I can’t prepare a fresh meal during the day. I wash dishes and do loads of laundry in spurts, as she is independently entertained for a few minutes at a time. I’ve never read or worked out, while she is awake, aside from recently doing some stretching, while she plays near me. When she goes down for a nap, a few times a week, I do 20 minutes of either some sort of workout at home. She only naps for an hour so usually naps are focused on doing my work for my job and then all the chores that I can’t do, when she is awake. I get shopping done through amazon shipments! I take her to the grocery store every other day. The older she gets, the more time we spend out of the house at her activities, so the majority of the time with her at home is her meals, changing/baths, and me playing and reading with her. A few tricks I have learned are a load of laundry a day. When it gets to be too much, it’s much harder to do-I can handle switching one over in between playing with her. I do the dinner dishes before bed, even though it is 9:30 when we’re done eating. It is worth it because waking up in the morning to do breakfast routine to a full sink makes me anxious, so that helps start the day off right."
-Mom of a 19 month old
**"**Cleaning and working out are definitely the ways I stay most productive during the day. We have our morning routine of his playtime, while I do the dishes and straighten up the home. I fit in mini workout routines whenever I am playing with him on the floor. It gives him time to be independent while playing, while still feeling like I’m involved." -Mom of a 9.5 month old
**"**I would like to thank the inventor of the Pack ‘N Play for giving me a safe place to contain my child, while I do laundry, cook, and clean." -Mom of a 7.5 month old
**"**I like to try and make household chores for him and I enjoyable. I put some music on that we can sing and dance along to. Sometimes I wear him in the baby carrier or put him in his jumper in the same room as me, so I can talk to him about what I’m doing or sing/dance with him, while I go about my tasks. I also try to take advantage of nap times and bedtime to sneak a quick workout in, to do things around the house or to reconnect with my husband. Nursing also allows me to multitask, so that I can read, while he’s cuddling up and eating." Mom of an 8 month old
**"**When my son was 4-6 months old, he LOVED his Skip Hop activity table. I could leave him in there and he would laugh and play, so I could get some chores or work done. Now that he’s crawling, it’s a little harder because I have to keep my eyes on him constantly. I mostly try to fit in my chores and tasks when he is asleep. Or, during the short windows after meals when he is calm, full, happy and not sleepy. I know I can leave him in the Pack ‘N Play with a couple of toys and he will be safe. He does not like to be left alone, so that Pack ‘N Play will move into the kitchen or living room depending on where I am." -Mom of an 8.5 month old
**"**My husband and I were both very active before baby and we found ourselves not wanting to take time away from him to go the gym or a yoga class these first few months (getting to a Bikram class took almost 2.5 hrs with travel time!) We decided to start a little at home gym routine using YouTube and PlayBook (I loooooove Melissa Woods workouts on here- she uses toning of small muscle groups that really need strengthening, since carrying baby around, bending over to pick up toys/laundry etc.) and we bought some light weights and workout bands. We live in 1900 sq ft, so it’s nice to be able to just toss our workout stuff in a bin, like I do with baby toys ;) and it doesn’t take up too much space. Ultimately, we ended up getting the Peloton bike, which I cannot say enough good things about. We both cancelled our gym memberships, we’re saving a little money and it gives us more time together. Maybe one day we will get back to the gym or take workout classes again - I still treat myself to the occasional weekend yoga class at a studio - but our time together right now is too precious, so we make sacrifices to stay together." Mom of a 5.5 month old
“I automate as much as possible like automatic bill pay and Amazon subscribe and save. I basically don’t go to the store for anything but groceries.” Mom of a 5 month old, 3 year old and 5 year old
"One of the hardest lessons I had to learn in the first year of motherhood was the futility of making plans. In the beginning, I would try to find a pattern to my days and then make a to-do list. I had always been a planner. Organized and always on the go. I could do this. Except my baby didn’t care that I had a list of things I wanted to do. He wanted to eat and cry and sleep on me and cuddle. He didn’t care much for my schedules. It didn’t take me too long to find the beauty in submission. I had to find a new way to be productive. Instead of making lengthy daily to-do lists, I became more realistic. I let go of the “must.” If I got it all done, great! If not, that was okay, too. I became better at time management – I knew how much time I had and what I could realistically get done in that time. But that wasn’t always enough. There were days when he was cranky and no toys or amount of babywearing let me get things done. If I tried to power through I would get frustrated and burn out and give up on getting things done for a few days. Hardly productive. Then I remembered something I had heard long before I ever had a little one compacting my schedule. I had listened to an interview with Ellen Burstyn on Death, Sex, & Money https://www.wnycstudios.org/story/ellen-burstyns-lessons-survival-membership/ where she talked about allowing herself “should-less” days. Days where she did not let the phrase “I should…” enter her mind. She let herself just be. What a wonderful thought. So I leaned into it as a mama. On days when he was struggling, we had a should-less day. We cuddled, we walked, we went to the park. On days where he was doing good naps I cranked out as much work as I could with the time I had. And I could! Because I wasn’t so exhausted from trying to force my way through a tough day that I had the physical and mental energy to work out, do work, clean, or cook. Sometimes being productive means knowing when to take time off. Be should-less!" Mom of a 1 year old
How do you stay productive during your days? I’d love to know in the comments below.