Saturday, November 20, 2010

Housekeeping for new mothers

Let me open up my bag of housekeeping/babycare tricks for you. I've got some sneaky ways of keeping tidy while keeping a baby happy.

  1. The sling is your friend. Have a tiny baby who needs you ALL THE TIME? Can't be by himself for a single second? I know the feeling. Even now, at 8 months, Franklin still enjoys his sling while I do a bit of work. Apparently, babies who ride around in some sort of carrier get lots of stimulation, feel more calm and secure, and don't cry as much.
  2. Stick to the basics. You've just given birth, for crying out loud! So long as you're not tripping over garbage or poisoning yourself with salmonella, a bit of dirt's not gonna hurt. The bathroom, kitchen, and main living area should be your cleaning priorities (though actual cleaning doesn't have to be one of your priorities--sleeping and eating and loving your baby are much higher on the list).
  3. Is your tub more brown than white? Got a slime mold waving at you every time you look in the toilet? Don't worry, we've all been there. Just before hopping in the shower, give the toilet a little brush and flush--no need for chemicals if you're doing it daily. I keep a little container of baking soda on the rim of my tub and at the end of my bath/shower, I sprinkle a little onto my damp washcloth and scrub any obvious spots. The washcloth either goes straight into the laundry basket, or I use it with a little more baking soda to wipe out the sink if needed.
  4. There comes a point when your baby is a little more independent. At about four months, Franklin could lie under his baby gym for 45 minutes a day, batting his toys around. This is an ideal time for some quick cleaning. I've found vacuuming with a baby in the carrier is hard work, so do it when he's awake but otherwise occupied. Use a slightly damp cloth to dust so it won't fly about and get into your baby's precious little nose. If you're anything like me, there'll be four months' worth of dust!
  5. There's also the baby swing/bouncer/walker. I don't actually like these much because a baby's spine and back muscles aren't strong enough to hold their body weight for long periods of time; these can put a strain on their backs. But for short periods (the longest I ever use ours is 20 minutes a day) they can be invaluable. I have a bouncer that hangs in a doorway and it moves around the house with me.
  6. Ignore everything else, but don't let the essentials pile up. Dishes and laundry are two things that become overwhelming very quickly. Try to do some every day. Enlist your husband in this if you can: mine washes dishes at night and I put them away in the morning; he also puts a load of laundry on every night and one of us puts it to dry in the morning. And put it away, too! I couldn't even count the number of times I've had to go searching for a clean pair of socks in the morning...
  7. When your baby gets mobile, the fun really begins. Franklin loves following me around while I clean. He chases the dust mop, the vacuum, the broom...then he gets distracted and I only realize he's no longer with me when I hear a thump...WAH!
So with all these sneaky tricks, I really don't have an excuse for not keeping a spotless house, do I?

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