Here I am on a Tuesday morning, lying in bed. It’s supposed to be #ontuesdaysibake, but that plan got eaten during the holidays and it has yet to reappear in the new year. And even as i type this, twins are fussing, wanting to get up from their morning nap after only 45 minutes. So instead of working through how I’m trying to reframe my time in 2019 I’m shifting to what seems like the eternal decision loop of making my 10-month olds learn to occupy themselves in their cribs for at least an hour for naps, or getting the early-walker up to increase the odds of the other getting a full nap. One step forward, two steps back.
Which is what 2019 feels like so far, really. My wife and I realized that we haven’t been accomplishing quite as much as we need to as working parents, so we’re trying a new system of time blocks, along with more divide and conquer planning to try to see if we can’t stay on top of things a little better than we had been. And while it seems to be working, it’s hard. While we got the twins and big brother sleeping through the night again in October, by Thanksgiving a cold starting going around, causing night wakes with coughs. Then with family in town over the Christmas and New Year holidays, schedules got disrupted and everyone got over stimulated, over tired, over done.
This is our second week of full normalcy (or as normal as life with small kids could be) and the second week of the new time-block strategy. But colds are back, the nearly four-year old is extra needy, and our nerves are pretty frayed. And when we’re not at our best it’s tough to try and have the patience each kiddo needs. *sigh*
I’ve mentioned the time blocks a couple of times. Basically it’s just scheduling out what is supposed to happen when, so we don’t need to think about it, and don’t need to ask for permission. It’s supposed to include kid time, chore time, and even a little mama time, though admittedly sometimes that comes at the expense of sleep. Often that’s worth it if you can still get a 6 hour block of uninterrupted sleep, but that’s not really something you can control.
|Whenever to 7am||Nurse twins when they wake up, snooze|
|7am to 8am||Play with kiddos, breakfast, get everyone dressed and ready to go|
|8 am to 9am||Kid drop off|
|9am to 10am||House chores – kitchen cleanup, bedroom pickup|
|10am to 10:30am||Pump|
|10:30am to 3:00pm.|| Work! (yes, break for lunch)|
|3pm to 3:30pm||Pump|
|3:30pm to 5pm||Work, wrap up the day and plan tomorrow|
|5pm to 6pm||Make dinner, prep for the evening; Partner picks up kiddos|
|6pm to 7pm||Dinner, get the twins down for the night|
|7:30pm||Big kid bed time, clean up dinner and toys away for the day|
|8p to 10:00pm||Grown up time – exercise, play, work|
So my typical work day schedule means: I am “free” until 7am. That’s in quotes because the babies wake anytime between 5 and 6:30, and when they do I nurse. Sometimes if they’re up at 5 they’ll go back to sleep but not always. So once they’re really up, my wife takes them downstairs. Then at 7, dressed and ready, I watch the kiddos while she gets breakfast together. Then it’s changes and day clothes for all and I take the littles to preschool and daycare while my wife gets a little time to herself and starts work. When I get home around 9, I do about an hour of cleanup around the house and then pump. After that, it’s work until mid-afternoon when I pump again. Then a little more work until I need to get dinner started while the wife picks up the kids. They get home, we eat, and it’s time to get the little down for the night. After that, I do dishes while she gets to play with the big kid until I take him for potty, stories and lights out. Once he’s down, it’s get the dishwasher ready to run if it’s not already, and then an hour to work, and another hour craft, exercise, chill etc. before bedtime ideally around 10:30. It’s a really packed day. On the weekends, it’s my turn in the barrel to get up with the littles whenever they want to start their days.
As for my wife, in addition to getting up early on the weekdays, she does kid pickup like I mentioned, and while I’m reading to our oldest and putting him to bed, she picks up the toys of the day, and gets a load of laundry into the wash on a delay start, so it runs in the middle of the night. Then when she gets up early, she puts it in the dryer, for me to fold and put away during my morning chore block.
So what are the benefits of this kind of a plan? It helps with decision fatigue, not wondering what to do when one finds a few minutes in the day. It’s already been decided. It also pushes me to do the chores I may not feel like doing when it’s already a scheduled thing. After getting the twins to bed I often do just want to sit down, but know it’s time to do the dishes and that there’s some free time a little later helps me to get it done. Also, knowing that my wife will empty the dishwasher in the morning is an inducement to get it filled and run. I also feel freer to play with the kids when it’s my time with them. Even if my wife is doing something around the house, I know I don’t have to feel guilty. Drawbacks? It’s a lot. It can be hard to feel scheduled every minute of every day. It has also been hard on our big kid, as sometimes he wants one of us to play while we’re supposed to be working or doing chores.
We’re still feeling it out, making tweaks here and there. But it’s already helping. I feel more on top of things, and am accomplishing more. We’ve hit a few speed bumps, but it’s only taken a day to get back on track. I’ve also gotten back to my form of bullet journaling.