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Smart Parenting

Practical advice about raising children


5 Tips for Doing Household Chores With a Baby

My apartment is a mess. Most new parents have messy houses, but I feel like ours is especially chaotic. Granted, both my husband and I work full-time and I just finished my undergrad within the last month. However, it is important that my son has a clean and safe living space. While my son is only a little under three months old, he is starting to scoot on his stomach—crawling isn’t all that far away. While we want to move into a house eventually, we will need to baby-poof and clean everything in our current space. I’m planning to share a before-and-after of cleaning and organizing my apartment. To do that, I need to actually clean. It’s overwhelming to know where to start, especially when my little one wants Mommy-R time. Here are a few tips on getting chores done as a new parent.

Towels
You can fold towels during nap time or your lunch break. Photo by Pixabay/Stevepb.

A little at a time

I like to throw myself into projects full-force. When I make a lifestyle change, I want to switch everything overnight, but that’s not usually realistic. Break your larger chore list (such as organizing the living room or cleaning the bathroom) into smaller tasks. You will feel much less disappointed about not completing your to-do-list if you turn your chores into smaller and more attainable jobs.Try creating a list of tasks that should be done daily, weekly, monthly, or seasonally.

Naptime

Everyone says to sleep when your child sleeps. As much as I enjoy sleeping, my body doesn’t always allow me to fall asleep when he’s laying down. If I can’t rest while he is in blissful sleep, I tackle some projects (or spoil myself with a longer-than-5-minute shower). The other night, he fell asleep around an hour before his normal bedtime, but I wasn’t able to fall asleep. Instead, my husband and I cleaned some trash from the living room and worked on cleaning up messes in the kitchen. Just make sure to keep an ear out your child wakes up.

Babywearing

Sometimes R doesn’t want to be put down. He craves attention and interaction, and I love spending time with him after work or on weekends. My solution to getting small tasks done while also interacting with him is to set him in a baby carrier and have him rest against my chest. I can keep an eye on him (and give him kisses whenever I want), but can also keep my hands free. The key to doing this successfully is to use safe practices and common sense. I’m careful not to do a whole lot of bending or lifting heavy objects while I’m wearing him, because my center of gravity is a tad off.

Lunch break

I’m lucky enough to work close to home. I usually go home for an hour during my lunch break and tackle a small project. The other day, I, somewhat successfully, tried to clean the carpets. Other days, I work on dishes or hanging clothes in the closet. I normally just warm up some leftovers or eat snacks at my desk during the work day to fill me up. I recommend doing some less-messy tasks during your lunch break, so you won’t waste time by changing clothes before you return to work.

Set your child nearby, but talk to them.

If your baby is content, you may be able to place them in a bassinet (or playpen, bouncer, playmat, etc) in the same room that you are working in. For example, I place R in his bassinet while I’m putting clothes away in our room, or put him in his swing when I’m clearing up messes in the living room. I make sure that I interact with him—although I’ve been guilty of just having him watch Sesame Street while I multitask in different rooms. I narrate what I’m doing or turn on music and sing/dance for him. He thinks it’s a hoot when I sing and sway while hanging clothes on the hangers.

What tricks do you use to clean with a child? Tweet your tips to @MLC_Consulting, and I will share your helpful tips with other busy parents!


Marissa is a Digital Content Assistant for Ogden Publications, a freelance digital marketing consultant, and a new mother. In her free time, she enjoys snuggling her son, learning to sew, and spending copious amounts of time on Pinterest.