In my experience nothing tames your self-control beast like parenthood.
When I was pregnant people repeatedly asked me how I was going to cope when the baby arrived and refused to follow a schedule. I joked in reply that I was pretty sure my baby would be born holding a colour coded to-do list.
Given my love for all things organisation (I think I’ve mentioned my alphabetised spice rack before) it was a fair enough question, yet not one I stressed about overly.
In some ways I think pregnancy prepares you for the demands of parenthood. Nothing is more unnerving than realising that your body really is just a complex organism that you have next to no control over; I mean if I could have knocked the 24hr a day nausea thing on it’s head I bloody would have!
So I had plenty of time to practice not being in control of stuff. But it wasn’t easy. I did lots of meditation. I focused on the things I could manage like healthy eating and exercise. I did fun things like craft stuff for the nursery. I accepted help from others.
Then like clockwork little Elliott arrived on his due date after a textbook 3 hour labour. Kid appeared to love a schedule, yahoo!
Then of course the tough stuff started. The sleepless nights ahead of a big day. The ‘poonami’ just as you’re about to head out of the door. The need to cluster-feed as you’re trying to make dinner. And more recently, the epic tantrums when you’re trying to achieve anything; washing, cleaning, cooking, showering.
So yeah. My days don’t run like clockwork like they used to. There are days it drives me batty, and there are days I completely let it slide. But I’ve learnt some great tricks to stay on top as much as possible amidst the chaos:
Technology is your friend. My husband and I have a shared calendar so we know who is where and when. My grocery app has a barcode scanner so as things run out during the week I take a quick snap and whammo on the order they go! I use a cleaning app that prioritises tasks that are overdue, a life saver when you have a partner who needs a list to know what’s grotty…
Pre-plan what you can. I plan meals in advance and order everything we need for the week ahead. Each Saturday I work my calendar out for the week ahead and plan logistics with my other half. I pack lunches and snack boxes the night before so I can just grab and go. I have a fully stocked toy bag in the car with everything a toddler needs to stay busy (and quiet).