Again another departure for this blog. New year, time to try out new things I say!
Now my son is nearly 20 months old, I find I have more 'me time' than I have had since he was born. This seems crazy. His naps have improved a little but that's not it. I think generally I've become more organised about how I approach things and realised the hour or so when he does nap during the day is time for me, not time for me to catch up on x, y and z...
So here are my tips to free that time up for you.
If your child is not the best sleeper in the world and takes a little time to go down, use that time wisely. My son is ok now but I still stay upstairs with him for at least 10 minutes, more like 20 every nap and bedtime. Generally he's ok, but sometimes he just wants an extra cuddle before giving into slumberland. So apart from a few seconds, this time is still usable even if you can't get started on something downstairs. You could use it to clean the bathroom, sort out some washing, put washing away, make the beds, write a blog post, etc, etc. Time saved 20 - 40 mins per day.
Make recipes which can work for your child and for you, make loads and then freeze extra in little pots for your child. Stews, dahl and bolognaise are great for this. It means you can make tea for your child in 10 minutes or even less (the time taken to cook pasta, rice or some vegetables). If you use a slow cooker, preparing a lot of these kind of dishes can take a matter of minutes (easily done as your child is eating their breakfast for example) so the preparation is less than 10 minutes too. Time saved 10 minutes per day.
Don't think that you have to play with your child 100% of the time. It's good for both of you for them to learn to play on their own a little. My son is the clingiest child I know but he will still play on his own with certain things as long as I'm around. Don't feel guilty about using this time to do a bit of housework. My son also loves joining in with dusting, especially as he likes playing with the fluffy duster! Time saved 10 minutes per day.
Putting toys away together not only saves you time but also helps teach a sense of responsibility in your child and can form part of a bedtime routine. Time saved 10 minutes per day.
When you're making food for tea or cutting up fruit for your child, do a little extra and save it for work lunches. Not only will this save time in the morning but it's more likely to mean you have something healthier to eat. Time saved 10 minutes per day
Don't worry. Let things lapse a little. It really won't make much difference if you change your beds every 10 days rather than every 7. Yes, it's nice to have a tidy house but it's even nicer to have some space to yourself. Allow yourself that space. Time saved; unquantifiable.
I find it so difficult to get washing done at the moment, even more so because our tumble dryer is bust but I find the best idea is to do a wash per day to keep on top of things. I put a load in the machine ready to put on once my son wakes in the morning (our washing machine is on it's last legs I fear. My son even says "noisy" when it's on!) This does mean though that it's all done ready to put out either when I get back from work or during the day when I get a minute. I used to wait until my son was asleep to hang it out before I realised there was really no point. When he was younger in the spring, I used to put him into his carrier to do it which he loved. He also loves pegs. Thinks they're the most exciting thing in the world. Time saved; 15 minutes.
Edit: I forgot completely! I used to wait until my son was asleep to have a bath. My son was such a terrible napper when he was younger that this was normally a pretty stressful experience to get him down. By the time he was asleep, I was too frazzled to even move and too worried the bath would wake him up again. He was a few months old before I finally realised there was no need for me to wait until he was asleep to have a bath, particularly as I wasn't getting one at any other time. I still do this now even though he's nearly 20 months old. I'm not pretending having a bath with a toddler in the room is the most relaxing experience but my son loves "bathing Mummy". He puts his toys in with me and plays with the bubbles. He has fun, I get my hair washed. Result! Time saved; 30 minutes per week.
Total time saved easily more than an hour! Time enough to feel absolutely no guilt if you do nothing when they are having a nap. Genius!
I've submitted this to a blog carnival on how people cope with kids hosted by herecomethegirls.