How to Get Stuff Done With a Clingy Baby
When you have a brand new (or not so brand new!) baby who is a stage 5 clinger, life can get overwhelming pretty quickly. I’m not just talking about a 9 month old with developmentally appropriate separation anxiety….this is about the 4 or 12 week old or the 13 months old who cannot be put down or held by anyone except for Mum. Never, ever.
Sure everyone says “they’re only little for a short time, the laundry will wait” but sometimes you need to just get. shit. done. Or maybe you have older children who still need clean clothes and snacks made. Or maybe your mental health is better when the dishes are washed and the floor vacuumed.
Get a comfy baby carrier. Seriously. If you’re only going to take 1 piece of advice from me, GET A CARRIER. Not just any carrier but it absolutely must be comfortable.
Find a local babywearing meet up to try on a few different types to see what suits you and your bub.
Being able to pop your babe in a carrier on your chest means you can fold some washing, chop veggies for dinner, do a puzzle with a toddler or even just make a cup of tea while still snuggling them.
CHANGE YOUR APPROACH
Change your mindset about HOW things get done by working out what can be done with baby on you in the carrier and what MUST be done when they're off you. Instead of thinking of chores as a complete, think of them in parts that can be done while babywearing and parts that can't.
For example, I unpack the bottom rack of the dishwasher while he's happy in the bouncer or on a mat but the top rack can be done while he's on me in the carrier.
I pick things up off the floor and put them on the bench while he's off me and put them away when he next sleeps.
Break tasks into smaller steps and complete what you can, when you can.
PROGRESS OVER PERFECT
If you’re like me, “doing the dishes” means unpacking the dishwasher, reloading it, doing any handwashing, wiping down the bench….
This can mean that a when clingy, Velcro baby “interrupts” your flow, you’re left feeling like you didn’t finish the job. And all you can see if the tasks that still need to be done.
Doing half the dishes is better than no dishes. Putting away 5 items mess is better than standing on that Lego piece yet again. Just start. It doesn’t mean you have to finish, but it will get something done.
CARE FOR YOU
Don’t underestimate the toll that being needed 24/7 can take on your physical and emotional wellbeing.
Make it a priority to eat (your baby will be ok if they cry when you put them down to make a quick sandwich). Drink water, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Take time to rest or nap. Ask for help. Speak to a professional if you’re really struggling. Call a friend and cry. Get some fresh air.
ACCEPT YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO DO IT ALL
It is possible to get things done with a clingy baby. But sometimes you do need to accept that today, the dishes are not going to get done or the toddler will be eating toast for dinner.
It’s ok to want to (or need to) get things done. It’s also ok to just make sure everyone gets through the day.
by Mim Dart