Time Management

by Becky Myers on October 20, 2011

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All my life I have praised myself for my incredible ability to structure my day and activities into neat little categories of time that allow for the accomplishment of tasks and leave ample room for fun and relaxation. I sit down every night and list my to-do’s and see where they can fit in during the week. Usually I only list 4 things per day, and many times I would even add to the side (lay down for ten minutes and nap), or, eat ice-cream and “smile.” Yes I was that detailed. But apparently there are others as crazy as myself since I saw a book at Barnes and Noble called “listography”, wholly dedicated to this habit of mine.

Since the birth of my daughter 8 months ago I have continued to write lists. Now they are even shorter though. Where on day used to be filled with laundry, grocery shopping, a workout and a full house vacuum, now the list simply says “laundry and pay bills”. And that is certainly enough for one day because in between those tasks there’s feeding, diaper changes, naps, etc.  This has worked pretty well for me. I love the feeling of marking off the task on the list and feeling accomplished. It’s great for my self-esteem; it means I’m productive and organized. On the weekends I never make lists and my days are open for anything, but ironically those days have proven to be the most anxiety-ridden for me b/c I get extremely bored and restless.

Recently, I haven’t been able to follow my lists at all. I am unmotivated and feel that everything gets interrupted so if I do make a list, it doesn’t get done and I feel like a failure. Just yesterday I spent 2 hours trying to get my daughter to take just one nap, and after all of that I was just too exhausted to worry about dishes. I just wanted to sit and stare at the TV. Too often I find myself slipping away from organized days. Now when I wake up with my daughter I feel lost. How do we play? What should we do all day? I feel that my daughter grows bored of the same few toys and games we play.  I’ve danced with her, took her on a picnic, took her to library story time, sign language classes, etc. Things just seem to get expensive and many times it feels like I spend more time researching and planning the activity and it doesn’t always even seem worthwhile. It turns into more of a stressor at times.  Seeing that I am a military wife and my husband is only here on the weekends, entertaining my daughter can be an exhausting task all by myself. Perhaps I am just getting really burn out.

All in all I’m still unclear as to what life as a SAHM is for me.  Do I need to let it be unstructured messy fun? What if all my lists are just sucking all the joy and spontaneity out of life with a beautiful baby?

I just can’t decide. I know deep down that I want a clear and focused perspective on my new role and lifestyle. Many days I wonder how other SAHMs feel about their daily life. Do they just wake up and live life without plans? Do they rush around from activity to activity? Where is the balance in this life…I feel that I could slowly become the mom who watches too much TV, drinks too much coffee and eats too many drive-thru meals. I just don’t know.

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Becky Myers (6 Posts)

Becky is a navy wife and new parent to a 9 month old baby girl. She plans to enter an English PhD program next year and enjoys cooking, writing, yoga, upcycling and gardening during her free time (what free time?! )


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Molly October 21, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Thank you for your honesty. Many of us feel the same and are afraid to admit it.

My suggestion is to add scheduled hours of free fun like laying in the grass, playing on a slide or just going for a walk and looking for birds. Bring a snack, bring a blanket, invite some friends.

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Susie October 23, 2011 at 3:27 am

I agree with Molly, many of us feel the same way. I think some of your questions become clearer as your baby grows and is more aware of the activities you do together, you can see which she best enjoys. We find a mix of regular activities each week (2 groups we attend) and other more spontaneous or ad hoc arrangements (coffees, park trips and playdates with others etc) works well. The rest of the time is free play at home or just our family. The balance works well for us, you’ll find what works for you too in time…

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Monya November 4, 2011 at 11:52 am

Oh my gosh, I feel the same way as you do! Especially in the last two paragraphs. My daughter is 16 months and it gets a little easier each month. When we are together, I don’t worry about dishes or errands, I save those for when my husband gets home or for the weekends. And we always do them as a family. (though I will take her to whole foods with me each week for groceries) we wake up, eat, and then do something…play at home, play outside, go to a story time, see a friend. Then we nap at noon. I always lay down with her and really value my quiet time to read, sleep or just decompress. Then, after the nap we eat and play at home or outside until daddy gets home. so our day is like three chunks…activity, free play, daddy. I know your husband is gone during the week so maybe you could have a friend or family member come over at night to give you a chance to eat and relax. Good luck and thanks for sharing!

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Michele November 12, 2011 at 12:46 am

All the important things are things you can’t predict the time of, or check off:

diaper changes (howmany, what time)
feeding (may be as few as 6, as many as 20! Teething happens, so do growth spurts!)
eating (remembeing this is key to NOT losing 60 pounds inthe course of 8 months, no matter how much you need to lose it!)
playing (you are your child’s first teacher – and play is the BEST of all! Rahima Baldwin Dancy wrote the book. : )
teaching (those teachable moments that are entirely unpredictable…)
and more…

I’ve given up TV, and don’t miss it except for the occasional ‘joke’ I’m left out of.

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