What’s that you say? Project management for new moms sounds way too complicated.You don’t need one more thing to worry about on top of your already huge load of errands and responsibilities. But don’t just click away just yet! I’m a professional project manager, and new mom, and I need to pass on some game-changing information about how basic project management tactics can change your mommy lifestyle!
Before we get into all of the project management jargon and fancy acronyms, let's talk about how mastering the basics of project management will get you at least 80% of the way there.
Understand you have finite resources. Your baby organization has maybe 2 or 3 full-time people and a minivan of things to get done. If you look at it this way, you’re much less likely to get caught up in feelings of inadequacy and much more likely to appreciate the huge undertaking that parenthood is.
Considering that you only have a finite amount of time, energy, money, and patience, it makes sense to delegate and outsource. Ask Daddy, your best friend, or even Grandma for help on non-essential tasks and outsource where you can.
Get comfortable with tradeoffs. It’s easy to get obsessed with parenting. You want your baby to have the most and the best of everything. I get it, I’m guilty. But that doesn’t mean we need to drive ourselves crazy trying to attain some unattainable level of perfection.
The best way to handle this is to do a brainstorm and figure out which things are essential and which things are not so essential. Baby need free-range hand pureed organic carrots? Ok, maybe you can trade that off with healthy kit meals, or take-out for the adults.
This will help keep you sane and keep expectations reasonable. So often we overcommit our time, energy, and money - and then feel the stress of that overcommitment later.
Before I realized I could apply my task management skills to the home, I was so confused I didn’t even know where to start with my work. There was so much to do that I just kept reacting and barely getting anything done well.
Start With Time Management. Use a calendar tool to block out time and set reminders. I make events for everything, from breakfast, dinner, and nap times, to when I have to be somewhere, go shopping, and more. Even if I’m not always able to stick to my schedule, I have an overview of what activities and tasks took longer than expected. It helps me know where my time goes and stops any feelings of overwhelmedness or disappointment. I also learn over time how long activities take - like the extra 5 minutes it takes to put a baby in a car seat and take them out..
So you weren’t able to clean the whole house AND the bathroom? Well no kidding, the baby woke up 8 times, you had to run to the pharmacy, and needed a nap because you stayed up until 4 AM with a teething mini-human. Forgive yourself.
Use a Task List. This could be as simple as making a list every morning and crossing things off it, or it could be something more complex like implementing a project management app like Asana or Trello. You can split your tasks according to projects, give yourself due dates, and follow-up if you’re not able to meet your due dates.
Do I hear protest that there’s no way you’d be able to update something like this reliably? That is a surefire sign that you are already too overwhelmed! Hand off some duties so you can get yourself organized. Sanity is everything for you and your baby!
It is no longer the 1950s. All businesses have implemented time-saving technologies and strategies. We use smartphones, drive smarter cars, bank online, and watch smart TVs. Can you imagine writing an actual letter and sending it by snail mail? No right? But somehow, so many new in-home technologies exist and so many people aren’t taking advantage of them yet.
Get a CocoonCAM Baby Monitor. You don’t need to tie yourself to your napping baby’s room. Use that time to get some work done around the house, do a quick at-home workout, or get some cooking done. The CocoonCAM can alert you if something is up with your baby, but more than that, you can use your smartphone to keep an eye on your sleeping child, semi-remotely.
It’s a game changer!
Invest in a Robot Vacuum. It’s the year 2019. Siri should do the vacuuming. As a mom, it’s so easy to want a clean home but to then sacrifice everything that is not absolutely essential. This is where automation comes in! Automate the vacuuming!
Optimize Your Dishwasher, Washing Machine, and Dryer Pipeline. Yes, I called it a pipeline. No, the dishwasher is not related to the washing machine and dryer. What you want to do, though, is to make sure that you run all three of them at a set time each day.
Once the family gets going, things get messy quickly. No one needs to spend time on dishwashing or laundry. Get eco-friendly machines so you can use them guilt-free and then maximize the usage.
I personally even split the laundry loads by days. Daddy’s clothes for the week are handled on Saturday. Mine are on Sunday. The baby’s clothes go on Monday and then I do a second round for all of her accessories. These include bibs, blankets, swaddles, etc. I can’t believe how much laundry one little monster creates.
Hire Some Help. I know, it’s not possible to always hire help. It’s expensive, after all! But your organization is overstaffed and overworked. You need a contractor! I have someone who acts as nanny to the baby and handles some of the baby’s cooking and cleaning.
I also have a professional cleaner come through once a month and do a deep clean of the house. The baby vomits and poops freely and the last thing I want is an E. Coli infested couch.
Sometimes, I get really tired of Daddy’s laundry - and I send it all out to get washed. It feels a little luxurious, but there’s no way I have time to wash his hoodie collection. Trade-offs! Take my money, well, our money, right?
I found that these project management inspired tactics worked for me, but the biggest tenet of project management is that you don’t make more work for yourself by project managing. Take this as a set of guidelines and then implement what works for you, even if it’s just the attitude!
For me, seeing the house as a huge, chaotic undertaking helped me feel more confident in my role as the Head of Operations of the home. I am much less likely to self-blame and much more likely to identify failure points and improve upon them! I also feel better about investing into sensible home goods and services. Overall, the approach has really changed my motherhood game.
What kind of tactics do you use to manage your house? Tell us in the comments!