Heyyyyyy slayerssss! Happy Monday! Since I’m a stay at home mom, it’s rare that Monday’s feel any different than another day, but for some reason, this one is just harder. I am so STINKIN’ stoked for the weekend already...
We are seriously in the home streach of this pregnancy and I am amazed! Like what even? Where did the time go? Where did all the clothes that used to fit go? Ha! Seriously... I need to have this baby before I am wearing the same top every single day. My belly waited til the last minute to pop and now I’m popping out of EVERYTHING! But, in all seriousness, we are almost there, and that actually prompted me to realize, I’ve like never done a parenting post before. Sure, I share my experiences, but I don’t believe I’ve ever written a “helpful advice” post before. So, ladies and gentlemen, today is the day. I’m going to give this a shot and if I fail, well, please don’t tell my son. He thinks I’m pretty awesome. Haha!
If you aren’t a parent, or you don’t have youngins that need a lot of structure, don’t feel obligated to read this. I mean, no one should feel obligated to read this blog anyway, but don’t feel bad if you just want to move on to something else today. There will be more later, Lord willing. B U T, if you are a mom or dad or you plan on becoming one soon, you might find this post helpful, or even just a place to gain some knowledge about what works for one family and then take it and shape it your own way for what works in your home. Lets get started!
When I was getting ready to give birth to Sami, I thought motherhood was going to be a breeze. I just thought this perfect, tiny human was going to come into the world and then I was going to be able to keep my same routine, nurse every two to three hours, go out for coffee, have mommy dates with my friends, and live life exactly like before, just with a little side-kick. Yeahhhhh, nice try. That DID NOT happen. Like not even remotely. I spent the first two months crying just about as much as Sami did. We had major complications breastfeeding (we did make it through, and I breastfed for 15 months), Sami had a terrible case of colic, I was on two rounds of antibiotics for two terrible cases of mastitis (if you plan on breastfeeding, make sure you know about this and do all you can to avoid it), and on top of everything else, my child hated napping. A newborn who doesn’t like to nap is, might I be extremely transparent with you and say, a nightmare for me. It was tough! I just needed a break and I never got one. Sure Omar helped as much as possible, but I was nursing and sweet Sam Bam wanted to eat all the time. It was legit, the only way he would relax. I knew we needed to be in a routine, but how do you get a sleepy, hungry, colicky baby into a routine? Y’all, I still don’t have an answer for that because it didn’t happen. Sorry.
Yeah, I failed on the routine thing. We just nursed basically all day and I learned to love doing nothing but sitting on the couch. I was able to make dinner, and I made sure to get myself into some sort of a morning schedule where I could shower and put on makeup. That was simply for sanity’s sake and my husband’s. But let me tell y’all, it was not easy. Once we got Sami’s colic solved (Yay for the chiropractor 👌🏼) and the nursing issues sorted, then our routine began. So the following will be what Omar and I have found to be the three most important building blocks of establishing a good routine for kiddos.
1. SLEEP: Something that was extremely important to Omar and I was that we could still get time together. As a mom it’s really hard to not just embrace tunnel vision and see nothing but that baby. Ladies, listen, your significant other needs you and your attention too! Motherhood is exhausting and extremely challenging at times, but seriously, dedicate some time to just you two. Believe it or not, when you have time to reset with your Love, things look a lot better afterwards.
We did this by establishing an early bedtime. By the time Sami was few months old and only waking a couple times to eat, he was going to sleep at 7pm. It’s harder to establish that early bed time when they are eating frequently, and still waking to feed more than a couple times a night. But when you have those night feedings down to only one or two a night, it becomes much easier. Of course, there will be nights when you don’t get them into bed at the perfect time due to a crazy day, or illness, or what have you, but it is possible to put them down early. If you get into a consistent, fairly early bedtime routine, it really makes this process much easier. Bath, bible reading, and a song make for a pretty full proof nightly routine. A bottle or boob are usually the final act for bedtime, and that often helps seal the deal.
Sometimes if your child requires a bit less sleep than others you may find out putting them to sleep early means getting up a wee bit earlier. But if you and your spouse are able to spend time simply being together in the evening, I would say that is a good trade off. If your marriage is struggling during this season, than I would say you need to make this time absolute priority!*
If you are one of the millions of parents struggling with a baby who refuses to sleep then I would encourage you to really do your research on what the best method would be for your family to actually train your kiddo to sleep. Omar and I chose, what is, unfortunately, called the “Cry it out” menthod. A lot of people do not like this method, and you are fully entitled to your own opinion! But we prayed about what to do to get our sweetie to sleep, and this worked wonders! The first few weeks were tough and full of tears, but Sami always had a full belly, lots of love, and a clean diaper, so he was never neglectfully left to cry himself to sleep. I was always aware of his needs and his reactions. But, if this style doesn’t work for y’all, do what does! Still, for your spouse’s sake, your sanity’s sake, and your sleep’s sake, just consider some sort of sleep training. Be prayerful about it, talk to experienced moms and don’t let a preconceived idea keep you from trying something unique.
2. CONSISTENCY: Our bodies are made with an internal clock and when we keep that clock oiled and well taken care of, it runs well for a longgggg time. Your baby will run well when you get your child into a daily routine. I don’t mean that you have to do the E X A C T same thing every single day, or be overly religious about making sure they go down for their afternoon at 1pm exactly. But planning your day as well as you can the night before really does help. Maybe you grocery shop once a week, then pick a particular day every week to do that shopping. Maybe you get your nails done or go to bible study on a particular day, see if there are ways to adjust your baby’s schedule so that it doesn’t throw him off when his nap falls in the middle of your appointment.
Unfortunately, keeping track of time more strictly will often require you to sacrifice something out of your day. Maybe you will have to get up a half an hour earlier on Tuesdays because little baby went to sleep a little earlier the night before, or you’ll have to skip a part of your favorite tv show because Sweetie needs to go to bed 45 minutes earlier because the day was exhausting. But I will tell you, when you have a well rested baby, who is wallowing in the ease of daily similitude, your home will be a very enjoyable place to be. And an added bonus is that a well rested baby often tends to be healthier, as well.
3. QUALITY TIME: Once you have sleep and consistency down, you need to make sure to spend quality time together. If you’re a stay at home mom or even just a millennial, staying off your phone, social media, and away from the TV can be SO HARD! Especially when you have a little baby who isn’t all that interactive. It can have its challenges. Why? Because it can get super boring, super fast! Nevertheless, I encourage you to fit some mommy and me, or daddy and me time into your every day schedule.
Now you may be asking why this particular step is vital to a good schedule. And that’s a reasonable question. The answer is, when you are spending quality time with your Sweetie, they are more likely to feel fulfilled and satisfied because they know they are a priority in your life. When they are fulfilled, it makes them less prone to acting out, which in turn helps them, and you, keep up a more consistent daily routine. And they are always looking forward to that very special time with YOU!
Before bedtime doesn’t count, though. Not because that isn’t a great way to get into a good nighttime routine, but because you should already be doing that. If you can, fit in story time (it may be short at the beginning since little babies attention spans are about as long as a flea’s hair. It does get longer!) or take 15 minutes to play something fun like “stack the blocks” and they knock them down, or put them safely on the counter while you cook dinner and perform a cooking show! Just let them live life with you. You’d be amazed at what they retain. When they get older play dolls or cars with them. Even if it’s just for a little while, that investment is priceless. Sami and I take a lot of walks together, just the two of us. I rarely ever take my phone, and we just play, learn, and talk about everything. It’s so fun! One of my favorite times a day!
But, I would also encourage you to give them time to play alone, too. Allow them some independence and teach them the ability to self entertain. It’s okay for kids to know the world doesn’t revolve around them! It’s also important for them to become self-sufficient and independent. Not rude and disobedient of course, but allowing them time to themselves is great, as they process and take in life for themselves.
So to recap: S L E E P, establishing a consistent routine, and quality time are the three biggest things my family has found to be vital to creating a wonderful daily schedule for your little one. I hope, if you’re a first time parent or your struggling to get your brood on a good schedule, that maybe this has helped in some way. Since Sami moved to one nap a day at about a year old our schedule has been relatively the same. I’ll put a sample of my toddler’s daily routine below.
Sami’s Daily Routine
7am: wake up
7:05am: Prebreakfast snack (raisins or nuts) and momma’s tea or coffee
8:00-9:00am: Breakfast and clean up
9:15-10am : Get ready
10-11am: Take a walk (depending on weather and where we’re living)
11:00am-12:00pm: Prep and eat lunch
12:00-2:00pm or 3:00pm: Nap
2:30-4:30pm: Snack and play outside or run any errands we have (sometimes we run errands early and end up taking a walk at this time)
4:45pm: Prep dinner
5:30 or 6pm: Eat dinner
6:45pm: Start getting ready for bed (diaper, jammies, teeth brushing, bible reading, prayer)
7:00pm: Mom cuddles and sleep*
*Sami is allowed to talk to himself and even play with his toys in bed if he isn’t quite ready to go right to sleep. But he has to keep the volume low and it can’t be wild play.
To finish; Parents, I know it can be tough. I know it can be exhausting, I know you need support, and I know you need validation. You are doing great! You are doing what you need to, and you are learning, just like your kiddo. It’s okay if you mess up. It’s okay if you don’t do everything Pinterest Perfect! Just love Jesus, pray for your kiddos, and make sure to hug them a lot. Know that Omar and I are here for you, as parents and as friends. We don’t have all the answers, in fact, we don’t know all that much. But we know Jesus, and Jesus knows your children better than you, so we will be glad to pray with you, talk to you, and encourage you! Don’t hesitate to shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Omar and I did not co-sleep, so if you do or plan on co-sleeping you may have a harder time accomplishing this simply because you might be wanting to settle down together. Sami did sleep in his bed, next to ours until he was five months old, and then we transitioned him to his own room. And when we moved to Cali and all three of us shared a room, Sami just went to sleep by himself at 7 in the room while Omar and I spent time elsewhere in the house.
Golden State Livin'. Southern Charm. Jesus Lover. Wifey. Mommy. Style Enthusiast. Thrifter.
New York Native. Bama Life. Style/Beauty Consultant. Entrepreneur.