You’ve heard the advice. (heck, I’ve told you to do it!)
“Postpartum moms, REST MORE!!”
And yet, maybe you wonder… what does that practically look like? Especially when we have other children, and when they’re all/only littles, the advice can seem impractical.
“HOW exactly am I supposed to do that?,” you might wonder. Well, look no farther. Here’s how we make it work:
After the first week or so, our postpartum days (when I haven’t yet re-entered our homeschool rhythm) might look something like a simple routine of:
- morning chores,
- 1-2 hours of educational videos (see #1, below– during this time 1-2 year olds can have independent play in a playpen, eat snacks near mom, etc),
- morning snack,
- play outside for a bit,
- reading time,
- 2nd round of chores/quick-tidy,
- inside play with toy set (see #5, below),
- afternoon naps (the older, responsible children have quiet productive free time— possibly while listening to audiobooks),
- easy-dinner prep (see #2 & #3, below),
- hang out time as a family in evening,
- bedtime at 8.
In addition to a simple routine, here are 5 practical ways I make postpartum easier on myself:
#1- AUDIOBOOKS & EDUCATIONAL VIDEOS
I’m not generally a fan of devices and screens. However, carefully-chosen electronic solutions are useful to me during the postpartum season, as tools to keep my children intellectually engaged and growing.
Here are some audiobooks & educational DVDs we’ve used (these are the ones the kids actually like!)–
- Diana Waring audio (engaging narrated history CD series)
- Torchlighters’ Heroes of the Faith videos (these are currently FREE on Amazon Prime video, but we also own a good number of these DVDs. These are well-done and tell the stories of believers, martyrs, and missionaries from the early church to the present age.)
- Magic School Bus (GREAT price!!) (the complete TV show)
- Planet Earth DVDs (excellently-filmed look at fascinating species & locations on earth)
- Liberty’s Kids (fun cartoon series set during the American Revolution)
- Discover & Do (Inquisikids DVD set)– Each DVD has dozens of short segments where high school students are carrying out science experiments & sharing their observations. It’s a very basic series, but our kids love it, and have learned a lot from these DVDs.
- YouTube: “How Do They Do It?” Videos about cooking, archaeology in Israel, world history, hiking/trails, and animals.
- Times Tales– Easy video method to learn the upper times tables
- Ken Burns’ documentaries about history– Our favorites (so far) have been Lewis & Clark (the Journey of the Corps of Discovery), The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, and the American Lives (biographical) collection.
- Cooks Country (we all LOVE this cooking show, and learn so much from it!)
- John Adams documentary– It’s simply excellent, and while it probably wouldn’t be of interest to younger children, I’d recommend it for kids about 8-10 and up (note: there is one scene, in one of the later episodes, where John & Abigail are reunited after years of separation and, while the details are covered by her voluminous skirts, it is clear that they are being intimate). Incidentally, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas recently declared (<—- in that FASCINATING interview) that he believes this DVD series is the very best, most accessible way for an American to rightly understand the mindset of our Founding Fathers.
#2- FREEZER MEALS.
Cook as many of them as your freezer can hold, in advance. Buy some, if you like. Family-sized lasagnas are always an easy solution, and we all like Safeway’s chicken enchiladas, so I stock up on these two when they go on sale.
Pull them out. Heat them up. Use them as needed.
#3- POST A LIST OF “EASY MEALS”
Brainstorm a list of at least 8-10 super-easy-to-make meals. (Here’s a list of 13 quick, easy meals, to get you started.) Print your list out. Put it on the fridge. This way, last-minute meals become a mindless thing that can quickly be put together (no matter who’s making dinner!).
#4- PAPER PLATES & EATING OUTSIDE.
Use paper plates (or even paper towels!) for every possible meal. If weather allows for it, eat outside so the crumbs blow away and get eaten by birds and don’t have to be swept.
#5- TOY SETS
Having large quantities of one kind of toy (like pattern blocks, Duplo blocks, Magformers, Kapla blocks, train set, dishes/playfood, wooden blocks) allows kids (even busy 1-4 year olds) to be wildly imaginative, spending large amounts of time in creative play. And keeping each toy in its own tub makes it easy to clean up. If there is only ONE kind of toy (and no sorting to do), it’s easy for even a 20-month-old to follow mom’s voice instructions to “pick up now,” while she nurses the new baby.
🙂 Bonus rant about toy sets:
Thinking in terms of quality toy sets (rather than individual toys) is one of the ways we have built up a nice, long-lasting toy collection, on a one-income budget. Each birthday or Christmas, we choose to build up the toy sets we already have, or invest in a large quantity of some newer toy set, rather than buying a variety of individual toys that end up jumbled up and forgotten in a big toy bin.
This is something I think we can miss, especially with the recent “simplify”/KonMari/declutter craze. It’s great to simplify & declutter (and I like some of KonMari’s ideas), but it’s also great to equip your children well for creative play. And sometimes those goals can conflict. Getting one small 29-piece set of Duplos (with one tree, one zookeeper, one penguin, and 3 ice-blue blocks of “ice”) is not the same as having a tub full of a variety of Duplo blocks, with people, trees, animals, and 1-2 big Duplo boards. Same goes for a kitchen & food set, or a train set.
With these sorts of toys, “less” is NOT more; more is more. For us, having a half-dozen high-quality toy sets is preferable to dozens of individual toys that end up messy and forgotten. This is one way we invest in our kids’ creative skills.
These are the practical ways I work to get more REST in the postpartum season.
(Click to read this related article: 7 Ways I Beat Postpartum Stress)
IN THE COMMENTS:
- What are some ways YOU make the postpartum time easier for mom?
- What’s YOUR approach to toy sets v. individual toys