The other day I was chatting with some new moms about how adding a new baby to the family is beautiful and amazing and also sometimes sends the entire household order into a total tailspin.
Not that anything has crashed and burned over here. I mean, it’s all just going totally smoothly and my husband has never found me locked in the closet with a carton of rocky road ice cream crying about how I’m never going to sleep again.
And I definitely have not stood over the sink and poured orange juice straight down the drain instead of into my daughter’s glass at breakfast on multiple occassions.
I’ve read a lot of advice about how to navigate this time in your life and I always feel a little discouraged when the suggestions aren’t super budget friendly. I’m all, “Thank you for that, but having this baby just cost me a fortune, I’m still paying him off so I can’t spring for a babysitter or a housekeeper every week.”
But I did have a few bits of advice of my own to offer, mostly learned through trial and error as we’ve fallen into our new rhythm.
I like to call this “Life Hacks For New Moms” and it’s full of my incredible, seasoned wisdom, like “park your car right next to the buggy corral.”
No but seriously, that advice is life changing. I realize this seems counter-intuitive in that logic says that you should park closest to the door but a wise woman once gave me this sage advice and it changed my life. Instead of juggling my brand new baby and diaper bag and preschooler until I wrangled a cart from inside the store, I just park next to the corral and grab one from there and then to proceed to dump all of my gear into it.
Here are a few other things that I’ve found helpful in this season of no-sleep and hormone swings:
For Staying Savvy
theSkimm – I used to read the newspaper every morning. I still subscribe to two on my Kindle Fire but now I’m limited to reading a few articles here and there throughout the day. Several friends recommended theSkimm to me and I love it!
theSkimm is a free daily newsletter that’s sent straight to your inbox. I’m pretty possessive about my inbox because email is the bane of my existence but I love this one because it’s smart, witty and quick. It summarizes the global news in a non-partisan way so I get a quick rundown in the AM of what’s going on in the world to follow-up on more in depth when I have the time. Plus, I’m partial to smart and funny. Get it in your inbox for free here.
Grammarly – I am constantly typing emails and social media updates and other correspondence with one hand in the middle of the night while I’m nursing. Multi-tasking mama for the win! Except it’s always riddled with typos because of my current side-kick, Sleep Deprivation. And also the fact that my baby likes to put his feet in my face.
Grammarly is a browser extension that corrects your spelling and grammar as you type. (It keeps telling me that the use of “in” in the former sentence is a confused preposition but I am leaving it the way it is because I am a rebel without a cause.) I love it and do not know how I ever lived without it. I am very certain that it would have made my editor’s job much easier had I been in possession of this when I was writing my second book.
I live too far out in the country for full grocery delivery but several stores do grocery pickup, where you can order your groceries online and then just pull up to the store and someone will bring them all out and load them into your car for you. Like, someone else walks around the store and picks up everything on your list for you. What is this sorcery?!
Walmart’s Grocery To Go service is a new mom’s best friend, y’all. Not having to unload my sleeping-and-or-crying infant from the car seat while someone else loads my trunk full of groceries? I am so for this. (Clicking this link will give you a $10 off code to try them out!) A friend recommended this to me when I was bemoaning how overwhelming my shopping trips had become and it was a total lifeline this winter. Plus, my kids were sick every five minutes in January and I am sure the general public apreciates me not contanimating the store with our germs.
Home Delivery Services
Honestly, this has been my sanity saver. One of the hardest things for me to adjust to the second time around was how difficult it was to get out of the house with two children. I didn’t experience this with my first child on account of how we were quarantined for the better part of her early years. So I was really taken aback by how overwhelming a trip to the store was with two small children.
I once spent three hours on one grocery trip because I had to stop once for a preschooler potty break, once for a diaper blowout, and once to nurse the baby. I may or may not have come home and declared that I was never, ever leaving the house again.
Now I have everything I can delivered to my door. I’ve found a couple of services that are cost-effective and honestly? I think I’m actually saving money, since I’m not wandering the store in a zombie-like state throwing random items in my cart in an attempt to get out of there before a meltdown but instead focused on exactly what I’m ordering.
My favorites home delivery services are:
Amazon Prime Pantry – anything that is a pantry item gets ordered directly from Amazon Prime Pantry. I’m not kidding, literally every single grocery item that isn’t fresh meat, produce, or dairy gets ordered online and sent to my door. (I’d have it all sent if I didn’t live out in the boonies where fresh delivery wasn’t available.) Cereal, dairy-free baking mixes, snacks for school lunches, and even my favorite chai tea comes right to my front porch.
By eliminating all of the pantry staples from my grocery shopping trip, it makes it much quicker to run in and grab only my fresh goods if I need to.
Grove Collaborative – I use Grove for all of my household goods. Amazon Prime Pantry doesn’t offer as many natural selections for things like cleaners, body wash, paper products, etc. which is what I prefer. I’ve been using Grove for almost three years now because they are such a fantastic company to work with (you can read my past reviews of them here, here, and a breakdown of how it all works here.)
I am a huge fan of using all natural household goods partially because I am a little bit crunchy but also because of that one time my toddler sprayed herself in the face with bathroom cleaner. A panic attack and a call to poison control later and turns out, we had no ill effects from our plant-derived cleaners from Grove.
Every now and then Grove sends over a special offer for my readers and they just sent one to celebrate spring cleaning. I mean, I am not celebrating spring cleaning, I am mourning spring cleaning because I hate it but at least it smells amazing in here. Because I got to grab the new kit below a little early in the limited edition spring scents of lilac and peony. (Personal preference is the peony, it smells amazing. Like, it’s tricking people into thinking my house is all freshly scrubbed and flowery.)
When you place your first Grove order of $20 by March 19, you’ll get a totally free seasonal kit to help you get a jumpstart on your spring cleaning in the limited edition spring scents from Mrs. Meyers. It’s a huge savings and a great incentive to try out Grove Collaborative for the first time.
I’m telling you, the first time a box of toilet paper and shaving cream and dish soap arrives at your door, you will be singing the hallelujah chorus. Especially if that day happens to be the same day that your baby learns how to take his own diaper off after naptime. Not that I know anything about that.
Here’s what’s included in the free Mrs. Meyers kit:
- Free Mrs. Meyer’s Spring Hand Soap
- Free Mrs. Meyer’s Spring Dish Soap
- Free Grove Collaborative Walnut Scrubber Sponges
- Free Grove Collaborative Glass Spray Bottle (I mix my own essential oil blend in these to make air freshener!)
- Free Shipping & 60 Day VIP Trial (I love the VIP program, they send freebies every quarter and the personal conceirge service is super helpful)
(If you’re already a customer, you’ll receive a Grove Collaborative Spray eBottle for free – perfect for making your own fresh scented cleaner!)
And my biggest life hack for new moms?
Join a moms group. You can find a MOPS group here. And then go. Go and eat breakfast with no one interrupting you and chat with other moms about how in the world Nick ever got picked to be The Bachelor (and also deep, important life stuff but seriously, Nick?) and let other people hold your baby and remember that it’s a big job to be responsible for a whole, tiny, little human life.
So lighten your load. Outsource where you can. Embrace help.
Because over here my days are much better when I’m not stressing about my household to-do list so that I can snuggle with this guy.
(P.S. I was awake next to him writing this while he napped, no one send me hate mail about him sleeping in my covers ;))