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
11 thoughts on “5 Practical Postpartum Solutions (make it easier for mom!)”
I’d love to see pictures of your toy sets!
(And just more pictures in general in your posts)
OK! Point taken. I will work on doin this more. I’m not a very faithful family chronicler/photographer anymore, but I do have some young aspiring photographers in my clan, so maybe I’ll ask them to take more random photos of household goings on and share those from time to time.
LOVE this post! Gives me so much hope and excitement for the future – making postpartum pleasant and possible! 🙂 Would love to see a list of your half dozen toy sets. It’s probably floating around somewhere on your blog 😉 Love the encouragement to use paper plates when possible. I picked up on that in one of the Mom on Purpose podcasts. Definitely planning to do that next time!
I LOVE hearing you talk about toy sets! Amen! With several children all at the same stage of life, it makes sense to have a nice big bin full of train sets/legos/doll clothes, etc. I keep wondering if I need to jump on that decluttering wagon, but I already don’t hang on to clutter-everything our family has we actually use.
Love this, Jess. Great ideas.
I love what you have to say about KonMari technique. It’s an awesome technique, but it has serious shortcomings when it comes to application to families and especially homeschooling and/or large families. Perhaps this is not unexpected, as she is a young single woman with no children. I remember one passage in the book, in which she said that her book collection has something like ten books (total, in her entire house), and thinking of how destructive that would be for homeschooling, or just raising children in general. Great philosophy overall, but one has to use it with wisdom and discretion.
My postpartum tips:
(1) I stay in bed for two weeks. This only works if one’s husband can take the time off. And it drives me nuts (not in the inactivity and rest, which is wonderful, but just in watching my husband ignore the housecleaning, LOL), but it’s so helpful in healing.
(2) I stay in my pajamas around the clock for two-plus weeks – as long as necessary. This helps to remind family, visitors, and myself that I am in OFF mode, not on-busy-going mode.
(3) We stay home – from church, parks, errands, whatever – for a minimum of six weeks.
Have a wonderful babymoon! Congrats again!!!
I love your postpartum tips!! And for the most part, I follow them…
(although, this morning, I got up, got dressed, and took my 10yo daughter & newborn with me to a Republican Party meeting, since I was just elected and this is the most important mtg of my 2-year tenure)… so I’m not an absolutist.
But in general, I completely completely agree… and like you, I find that BEING in my pajamas reminds me (and everyone around me) that I am in a state of rest & vulnerability and it helps us all to TREAT me that way.
Also- great reflections about KonMari’s method. She’s a thinker and an inspiration, but her thoughts are not the letter of the law for anyone– especially moms with large households to manage. Some of the principles still apply, but I think they could apply in wildly different ways, and allow for vastly different quantities, than the specifics she proposes. (for example, I would NEVER employ her folding method… because 1- I don’t have the time/inclination, 2- that’s now a chore I delegate, and so while I have general goals for folded laundry (as few wrinkles as possible, folded ASAP after removal from the dryer, put away in rooms ASAP after folding), folding each item in a tight little joy-sparking bundle is not (for us) a reasonable, pursuit-worthy goal. 😉
Oh, that KonMari folding! I adopted it, and while it does look great (in the little kids’ drawers, that is, which are still folded by me), but honestly, it’s a bit of a nightmare – when you pull a few things out, all the rest fall over. You’re not missing anything! 🙂
Can I pipe in on the laundry folding & postpartum? I have a secret….I don’t fold kids’ clothes. We got rid of dressers when #2 came along and I switched to sweater closet hangers. That worked for a while until # 3 & 4 came. Now I buy the $5 clear filing boxes at Walmart & each kid gets 3 for- shirts, pants & PJs. Socks & undies go in a smaller clear bin. We dump all the laundry into a big pile in the living room and I toss each child’s clothes into their own pile (or I sort at the dryer and each room gets a laundry basket). They put their own pile away. If they want it folded- they fold it. Otherwise it gets tossed into the bucket. The 3 littles that can’t do their own get sorted and tossed into the drawer by me. (ok I’ll be honest sometimes it sits in the pile on the floor until I’ve used them all again) You know what….nobody but my mother knows we don’t fold their clothes! It was seriously life changing! 6 kids, 6yr & under and I no longer stress about them ruining all their clothes I folded when they pull out the one pair of pants they want on the bottom. Church clothes are hung up in a different spot so those don’t apply. And on the topic of staying home, I had twins this summer (# 5&6 and my oldest is 6) and I decided to not plan anything until they were 2 months old. This took a ton of pressure off me and I didn’t stress about pleasing everyone else, but stayed home and took care of myself. People at church weren’t thrilled, but I recovered better & faster than anyone expected! Kids watched lots of nature movies & I loved seeing their creativity when they went outside and tried to mimic the birds nests or other animal habitats they just learned about.
I also love your eating outside idea. There’s been a few days when I’m at my whits end and need some quiet. I packed lunches in the kids’ backpacks and sent them out to their playhouse for lunch by themselves. They think I’m awesome and I get a few minutes of quiet! And surprisingly they saved their special surprise treat until the end!
Great ideas here!
(And I love your lunches in backpacks idea. Sounds very fun for the kids.)
I love our toy sets! we have a bin each of Lego, playmobil, wooden blocks, cars, wooden trains, dress-up clothes and toy dishes. Toys we receive outside of these sets are much more likely to get decluttered. I love how with these sets there is enough for everyone to play, and most of them are open-ended enough that the 1.5 yr old enjoys playing with 8 yr old. (ad all the kids in between)