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Baby-Wrangling

So, apparently babies are time consuming.  At least that’s what my wife tells me 🙂

I felt bad for her. Helen really likes keeping the house clean. Her grandmother is a German, Martha Stewart type whose house is always spotless and who always has freshly baked cookies whenever you walk in the door, and her mom is one of the most super-organized and clean people I know (although with 6 daughters in the house it was always an up-hill battle against the clutter monster). Helen inherited the love of a clean house as well as a healthy dose of realistic expectations when you’ve got kids and lots of company.

Kaylee, however, didn’t care how clean the house was. She just wanted to be held. And played with. And fed. And changed. All the time. Naptime was consistent for daughter and her hard-working mother. Leaving virtually no time for chores. 🙁

One of the best things we did since we got moved into our house was hire a Mother’s Helper. Helen knew a young lady from church who loved babies and wanted to get experience taking care of them. She’s in 7th grade and is one of the sweetest young ladies we know. She only charges a few dollars an hour because she sees it as a ministry and a learning experience. In return, Helen feds her lunch and  helps her with schoolwork when baby goes down for a nap.  She comes over once a week on “Chore Day” and saves our bacon. We love her.

The other thing we did (which has been a life saver) was turn our unused dining room into a playpen. It sits right between the kitchen and the living room (the most heavy traffic rooms of the house), so Helen can see Kaylee whether she’s cooking or on the computer. We took out all the furniture, covered the outlets, and put in all her toys, her port-a-crib, a nursing chair, and a changing mat. Kaylee is perfectly happy to play in there for long periods of time. She doesn’t feel caged in like she does in her crib and she can still see and “talk” to mommy. Helen said she felt like her hands were her own again after we set that up!

We’re just first-timers (and both only 22), so we know we have a lot to learn. Solutions like these are probably obvious to most people, but they were a revelation for us! Discovering what works and doesn’t work for our family is such a fun journey. It also helps to have super-supportive family nearby 🙂

What kinds of things did you do to try and get stuff done while tiny people were crawling up your legs?

  1. Heather

    Bless you guys:) It is such a change to have teeny ones around, although I just vaguely remember now. My youngest is 5. With her, I had a nice baby sling (not the “cool” kind that you can strap all over, but one that snapped on and off and help her pretty tightly) Anyway, she slept wonderfully if she was in the sling. Even if she was awake, if she was in there, at least I had two hands and I got more done!

    That all being said….I know it can be hard, but try to tidy up less. I hate a messy house, so I tend to buy stuff that I can hide things in–like a storage ottoman–I can hide a messy living room in a few minutes:) Baskets by doors can help do things in stages–your wife can put items in baskets by the door/stairs so the room looks better overall and you can take them where they go for her! A lovely way to show support and she doesn’t need to leave the baby and go into other rooms to tidy up (I saw a funny comedian once who talked about wondering why his wife left piles of things on the stairs…)

    BTW I think the dining room/playyard is a fantastic idea! So many parents try to keep things the same. I actually know a new mom with a giant glass coffee table-makes me sooo nervous! Things should be special for the baby for now:)

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  2. VeronicaN

    How wonderful you are able to bless and be a blessing! As a mommy of 5 (oldest being 10; youngest 1) I will add a piece of advice and a reading recommendation:

    1) It’s ok (and I highly recommend it) to have baby out of mommy’s sight in a safe place for a few minutes at a time and then gradually more as they get older. Our kids have graduated to room time where we get drinks and use the bathroom and then they play in a designated room until the end of a pre-determined time. This is great to know they’re safe while I take a quick shower or clean the bathroom or kitchen floor and I won’t be interrupted!!

    2) Creative Family Times by Allen Hadidian and Will Wilson-a very small paperback with a wealth of information and ideas for Christian families.

    Enjoy and remember it will be sooner than you know it that Kaylee is helping clean up, too!! I don’t do dishes any more 🙂

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