Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What Nobody Told Me About Life After Baby, Part 4

 Learning to Cook with Your Baby On Board
A Guest Post by Renae Malove

Can you imagine living life with someone asking you to do something 24/7? Not being able to take a shower, or clean the kitchen, or cook dinner, or even go to the bathroom without somebody calling your name? 

Welcome to mommy-hood. 

There’s nothing cooler in life than being a mom, but the constant demands on your time and attention can be overwhelming. Especially when you have a newborn at home, because they don’t understand that mommy isn’t going to be able to sit down and play monster trucks until she’s finished mashing the meat for the meatballs to go in Daddy’s spaghetti.  

Here are some of my favorite tips for learning to make the most of the time you can carve out of your day with a little one at home-also known as how to keep everyone fed without losing your mind in the process.
  1. Buy a portable swing or a bouncy chair to put in the kitchen with you. We had one of those folding swings when my kids were little, and that thing was priceless. The kids were entertained by the swing and the lights, and because they could see and hear us we could scrape up the time to at least make a pot of macaroni and cheese.

  1. Fill the fridge when dad or grandma has the baby. You can start the microwave one-handed, right? Fill your freezer with about a week’s worth of entrees when you get a day off. Then all you have to do is pop them in the microwave when it’s time for dinner.

  1. Stock up on chips, fruit, sandwich stuff, salads and other dishes you can eat cold. Dish them up when it’s supper time and enjoy the lack of stress…and dirty dishes. You can go back to cordon bleu when your kids are a little older and you’ve got a little more time.

  1. Buy a front pouch. Sometimes popping baby in a front pack or a backpack is enough to buy you time to make a meal. And if you’re really lucky, they’ll fall asleep and you’ll even have time to eat it.

  1. Eat an earlier breakfast and a later dinner. The easiest way to actually get to eat is to eat when the baby’s asleep. Set your clock to wake up a little earlier and eat dinner a little later, after you’ve put the baby to bed. Keep a collection of healthy snacks handy to tide you over. (Carrot sticks, celery and a giant bowl of fruit are good choices.)

  1. Take advantage of the television. All right, this probably isn’t going to make me the most popular mom out there, but because Baby Einstein saved my bacon more than once when we had company coming over and I absolutely had to make a real meal I’m going to toss it out there anyway. You don’t want your kids to spend all day, every day camped out in front of the television, but there’s nothing wrong with making sure they’re fed and changed, then putting them in their portable swing or bouncy chair and turning on something visually stimulating like Baby Einstein to keep them occupied for 20 minutes or so. They get exposed to new experiences, you do what you need to do.  

  1. Let your spouse cook dinner every once in a while. All three of my kids had colic. Let me tell you how often I had dinner ready and waiting when my poor husband got home from work. He was okay with coming home and making a frozen pizza or slapping together some chicken tacos for everyone if me making dinner just wasn’t going to happen. Your husband will be too.

And My Personal Favorite…
  1. Order takeout. If you’ve had enough, the baby’s been crying all day, there’s nothing quick in the house to eat and you just don’t have dinner in you, there’s nothing wrong with picking up the phone and ordering takeout. Chalk it up to another learning experience in the big, wide, wonderful world of motherhood, then grab a piece of pizza and enjoy. You’ve earned it.
Kami's notes: I am very blessed. My husband works from home and is able to help Claire and I out a lot. He actually cooks all of our meals, I am VERY lucky. But I do all the laundry and clean the kitchen...on top of caring for Claire. We focus on each others strengths. I hate cooking but love eating. My husband loves cooking and is horrible at doing laundry. And hell, he cant breastfeed. By focusing on what each other is good at and enjoys doing, we have come to a nice balance.

Renee Malove is a book addict, a sci-fi fanatic, and the often frazzled mother of three. When she’s not driving the tap dance taxi or cracking the whip over homework time she can usually be found running, curled up with the latest from Patricia Briggs or finding new and inventive ways to bend her furry, four-legged roommates to her will. Oh, and she writes. A lot. You can find her on the web at www.Clever-Copywriting.com and talking marketing, parenting, writing and fiction all over the Internet.

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  1. Great tips. Especially the swing thing - I have heard that from so many people.

  2. I personally highly recommend the sling thing! We have a Baby Bjorn and it is a god send!

  3. awesome advice because it rings so true :-)