I highly underestimated what I could and couldn’t do after having our little one in September. I expected to be able to put baby in the car seat and zip off to take care of our usual family errands. After my first outing with baby, I learned, very quickly, that I was very wrong. Everything took more time. I was thirty minutes late getting out of the house because I hadn’t taken into account I needed to feed him before. I forgot to get this item and that item. Did I have an extra outfit and diapers? Finally, when I thought it was all going great when I got to the store, he started crying because he wanted to eat again. My errand running days as I knew them were over, but I learned to adjust very quickly. Here are five time saving tips I’ve picked up on over the last few months of new mommy hood that might help you prepare for life after having baby at home and on the run.
- Grocery Pickup
Grocery pickup has been an absolute lifesaver for our new family. The very idea of having to disrupt baby’s nap and trudge through a crowded grocery store makes me feel ill. With grocery pickup, I can sit in the comfort of my own home (hopefully when baby is taking a nap) and throw together a grocery order. I don’t worry about forgetting an item or having to run, for the second time, to the back of the store because I grabbed the wrong flavor of yogurt after forgetting the sour cream. After I fill my cart, I choose a pickup time that’s right for me. That means moms can finally work around their schedules without having to rush through the aisles. And, with flu season in full swing, you can forget the anxiety of bringing baby around a lot of people. Just strap baby into the car seat and off you go. Grocery pickup services may even load your order into your car for you. Check your local supermarkets/superstores for availability.
- Grocery Delivery
If your local grocery/supercenter doesn’t offer grocery pickup, another timesaving option to look into is grocery delivery through 3rd parties. Apps like Instacart are available to pick up groceries from your favorite stores and deliver your order to your home in just a few hours. Items are a little more expensive because of the convenience, but if you find your time running thin through the week, it might just be the service for you.
- Crockpot Meals
It’s the end of a long day. You’re worn out, baby’s crying and won’t nap, and you still have to cook dinner. Looks like it’s two #13s and a side of fries, again. There’s no shame in takeout, but it tends to eat a hole in the food budget after a few times a week. It also might not be the healthiest option for your family. Enter in the glorious crock pot. The crock pot allows you to set your meal (or bulk of it) in the morning and forget it. Nothing feels better than knowing your dinner will be ready when you are at the end of a trying day. As a bigger timesaver, you can make portioned meals ahead of time and freeze them for future use in the crockpot. So, the next time you want roast and vegetables but don’t have the time to whip it up, all you have to do is take it out of the freezer, pop it in your crockpot, and spend your extra time not having to cook snuggling with baby. (To save even more time with clean up, invest in some disposable crockpot liners!)
- Online Ordering
Don’t feel like lugging a 100 double mega roll toilet paper package through the store? Tired of asking your partner ten minutes before the store closes to make an emergency diaper run? Online shopping might just become your new hobby. With online shopping, you don’t have to worry about the extra bulk in an already crammed car (can those strollers get any bigger?!). Also, with many stores and sites offering fast shipping with a minimum order or monthly/yearly shipping subscriptions, you can order ahead in anticipation of running out of an item.
- Breastfeeding/Feeding Station for Mom
When we brought baby home, I found myself running from one end of the house to the other each time he wanted to feed. I needed this. I needed that. I was thirsty. I was hungry. Where was my phone? Great, my phone’s dead. Where’s my charger? By the time I was ready to sit down and nurse baby, he was red in the face and had his little fist was lodged in his mouth because he was so hungry. I finally had enough and set up a breastfeeding station. In my station, I put the essentials I found I was always rushing around for: a water bottle, a phone charger, a little snack, a book, a pad of paper, and a pen. If you are pumping, it might be a good idea to keep a few extra supplies in your kit, too, just in case. Now, when baby is ready to eat, I am prepared for him. I can catch a little “me” time while baby is being nourished.
While life as I once knew it is gone, my independence isn’t--it just takes preparation now.. I am still learning what works and doesn’t work for our family (through a LOT of trial and error). One day, baby will be ready and excited to go out with me on adventures and help around the house, but until then, I’ll keep looking for shortcuts to keep this household running smooth (as smooth as it can get, anyway!).
By Colleen Sexton