Time-Management and Energy-Level Lessons Learned in Year One of Motherhood

I've managed to somehow ensure that Isabella reached her first birthday. Here's what I've learned about motherhood in the last 365+ days.

1. Full-time, at-home mommydom is a study in complete and total physical exhaustion.

When I was pregnant, everyone told me "sleep now, because you won't be sleeping much when the baby is born," and "get rid of your cats because don't you know they are going to kill your child while she sleeps???!!!??." But nobody, and I mean nobody, told me how physically draining it is to be responsible for hauling your one-year-old out of the fireplace, out from behind the couch, and down off the fifth stair of your staircase 45,000 times a day.

Clearly, I should have been working out since about my 15th birthday to prepare my body for the aches and pains associated with parenting an almost-walking toddler. Because.I.Was.So.Completely.Unprepared.

2. Being a mom is not a good choice for the Type A.

I am tightly wound and completely unashamed to admit this. I like order. I like lists. I like to cross things off lists in a timely fashion. I become slightly-to-moderately unhinged when I have too much to do and not enough time to do it. (See this post for my case and point.) Since becoming a mom and opting to work from home with a full-time job, a part-time freelance job, and starting up a new business with friends all while taking care of Isabella, my very ordered universe has disintegrated. There is much chaos and flying by the seat of one's pants going on in my world right now, and I do not like it.

Of course, much of this situation is of my own doing, but my hope is that this is all about to change, because Melissa runs her life by a kick-ass schedule that I'm making my personal goal in the next month or so to try and replicate. I adhere to a quasi-schedule in my head. But I need to get it down on paper.

3. "Downtime" has taken on an entirely new meaning.

In the pre-Isabella days, I would come home from work, throw on my pajamas, and completely zone out in front of the tv (but I was always watching the National Geographic channel or C-SPAN, and never, ever those mindless and ridiculous reality tv shows all the kids are watching nowadays) before starting (read: microwaving) dinner. The hubs and I would eat dinner, and then commence an evening of...more of the same.

Since becoming a mom, "downtime" happens when Isabella is napping or asleep for the night. My relaxation comes in the form of doing dishes or laundry, scraping dried food out of our hardwood floorboards, and picking up sundry toys, and concludes with a long and luxurious night spent working from my laptop. And yes, these are actually the less-taxing and most relaxing parts of my day.

4. My in-office job was a cake-walk compared to staying at home with a baby all day.

When I worked from my office, my day went a little something like this:

Get up. Get ready. Caffeinate self. Drive to Dunkin Donuts. Buy coffee. Consume coffee (rapidly). Enter office. Turn on computer. Write blog post. Make miscellaneous personal phone calls. Write daily task-list. Take copious coffee breaks. Go for walks with co-workers around the office park. Repeatedly ignore daily task-list. Walk around and visit coworkers. Eat lunch. Go to the bathroom and examine teeth for leftover lunch bits. Check blog. Consume more coffee. Check blog again. Go home.

And of course, for at least three 10-minute increments in my nine-hour day, I was working.

That life of Riley came to a halt almost 13 months ago. Now, my day goes a little something like this:

Get up. Get Isabella up. Start coffee. Prop open eyelids with toothpicks while she bounces off the walls, her toybox, the furniture, and the cats until breakfast. Attempt to feed breakfast. Clean highchair, floors, nearby furniture, self, and baby following mealtime meltdown. Attempt to put sleep-hating baby down for a morning nap. Run on treadmill. Shower. Get baby up from "nap." Flee from confining walls of house in search of adult conversation in playroom of library. Pry Isabella off ceiling of playroom. Drive home. Attempt to feed lunch. Repeat aforementioned post-mealtime cleaning ritual. Dance with glee because it's afternoon naptime! Run to laptop to work while baby sleeps. Get baby up from nap 10 minutes later. Strap thrashing baby into stroller for a walk she has no intention of enjoying. Prepare and "feed" dinner. Repeat breakfast and lunch cleaning ritual. Strip down baby, plunk her in tub, and attempt to wash her while preventing injestion of more than 6 fluid ounces of dirty bathwater. Wrestle baby into pajamas. Kisses! Hugs! Story! Nighty-Night! Collapse in sheer and utter exhaustion.

Goal for year two: Put English degrees to good use and clone self.

7 Responses to “Time-Management and Energy-Level Lessons Learned in Year One of Motherhood”

  1. # Blogger Marie

    LMAO. Yeah, I really don't get how anyone has more than one child and gets anything done! It's hard enough with one child!

    All I can say is -- wait til she's walking!! ;-)  

  2. # Anonymous Melissa Garrett

    Oh the pressure! Now that you've linked to my post, I definitely have to live up to the schedule :-0

    I have realized about myself, and maybe you have too, it's when I have too little to do that I am unmotivated. If I have a lot on my plate, I am very efficient at completing tasks. I get bored quite easily, so it's best to have tons of stuff to do. I think "I don't have time" is a sorry excuse for most people. It's all about being productive and staying on task.  

  3. # Anonymous Spunyarn76

    WOW. I can honestly, truely say that, after reading this blog, my perspective on possibly having children has changed. I thought I would one day plan on having children. I thought I'd be able to handle the stress of both working and raising a kid Maybe even JUST raising a kid and not working. But now I'm not so sure about any of that...
    Thank you for your honesty.  

  4. # Blogger Kristi

    I can't imagine it. And she's almost walking! Taking 8-9 steps on her own.

    Melissa-I'm the same way, actually. I work best under pressure (most of the time). However, when I have too many small but not pressing, things to accomplish, I tend to procrastinate.

    Spunyarn76-As challenging as some days are, there is nothing more fulfilling for me than being a mom, and for all my kvetching, I truly love being at home with my daughter. For me, it's impossible to have it all, all at once, but that is not to say it can't be done. Balancing motherhood with a FT career can be difficult, but it can certainly be done. You just have to be better at dealing with stress than I am! :)
    Thanks for stopping by my blog.  

  5. # Blogger Jesser

    Oh sheesh. You are so right. My best friend and I were talking the other day ... we both work part time ... and we were discussing that we'd both (at one point in time) come into work even though we were feeling pretty crappy because it was easier than being sick AND being at home with our babies. You love them to death, but it is way exhausting.  

  6. # Blogger Damselfly

    Haha! I love it.

    I've been making attempts at a schedule now, too. Although, sadly, ours doesn't include a morning nap anymore. Sigh.

    Glad to know my child isn't the only one who lives on ceilings.  

  7. # Anonymous sher

    Wonderful! You are such a great writer. You have idea how much I enjoy reading your posts! :)  

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