Adventures in Boobieland: You. Me. Baby.

The view from our balcony during a trip to Cancun, Mexico in Spring 2011 ,
when it wasn't so hard to find alone time.

My daughter is the greatest blessing I could have ever imagined, but adjusting to life as a mom hasn’t been easy. When we found out we were pregnant a couple of months after graduation, I was just starting to figure out how to be a grown up and live on my own.  Add learning how to be a wife and a mother into the mix and the challenge seemed impossible. I took some time off work thinking that taking one thing off my plate would make things a little easier. At Merle’s last check up, the doctor told us to make sure my partner and I each had time alone, time alone with the baby, and time together. I brushed her off, thinking ‘yea, yea I know how to manage my own time.’ But ignoring this advice has been to our detriment.

My partner, the baby and I spend almost all of our time together in our 300 square feet studio. I take care of the baby and do all the cooking and cleaning, while my partner works on computer programming. When Merle naps, about an hour a day cumulatively, I get time to myself if there isn’t other work that needs attended to in the apartment, which means there is never really any down time for me. My partner does work on his computer, but he is always my back up with the baby for exploding diapers or when I’m in the middle of something when she wakes up from a nap and can’t easily drop what I’m doing. Needless to say alone time is not something we get very often. We end up getting frustrated with one another, because neither one of us feels like we are ever making progress, simply reliving the same day over and over again. Looks like the doctor was right.

In an effort to get things back on track, I am working on setting up a strict timetable following the doctor’s orders. Each week I am enforcing alone time for each of us, which will give the other one alone time with the baby. With my partner’s work, it makes sense to give him two mornings off, meaning out of the house and not on baby duty, in a row and then give myself the third morning off. I am also instituting date night once a week after the baby goes to bed. Our budget doesn’t allow for pricey nights out and I am not ready to leave Merle with a babysitter, but spending time together as partners, not as Mommy and Daddy, doing anything will make a huge difference in our nonexistent romantic life. Having these distinct blocks of time divided up for us will help us both be more efficient with our time and be more appreciative of one another. I’m also hoping that it helps us feel better about where we are in life and be clearheaded when thinking about where we are headed.

In general I think budgeting your time helps make the most out of each day, week, month, etc and isn’t squeezing the most out of each day what we all want? Instead of having definite checklists of what has to be done each day, try blocking out your time into categories, such as work time, relax time, and play time and allow yourself to get done whatever you can in that designated time, without stressing about checking everything off your to-do list. You know when your next block of time dedicated to that category will be, so set aside your stress until then and don’t let it bleed into your down time.  My hope is that this is another step toward living in the present and making myself into the person I want to be. 

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