How to get things done when your baby is not sleeping

I can’t believe I used to think I was busy before having children. I felt busy at the time but little did I know what was to come.

Obviously, when you have a baby you instantly lose your independence and spare time in a moment. Suddenly a little baby wears the trousers by letting you know when you can eat, drink or go to the bathroom. They let you know when you can get things done.

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I thought I was busy before children!

I remember my husband used to make me a cup of tea in the morning before he left. He would then find the same cup of tea in the microwave stone cold when he returned.

Losing time when you have children is normal, but not easy. It feels impossible when you also have a child or children that are up constantly through the night, and refusing to sleep during the day.

You are lucky if you find time to achieve basic human needs such as eating, drinking and washing. 

By the time I had showered and got dressed in the 29 minute maximum nap my son took at the time, there was zero time for anything else. The problem with this is, there are non negotiables that have to happen in a household to survive. Whether these are tasks for yourself, your partner or children.

4 parenting life hacks to help you to get things done when your baby is not sleeping

1. Prioritise

I sense you rolling your eyes whilst I ask you to do this. However, it is actually very challenging to know what to do in which order when you are drowning in sleep deprivation. Even the simplest of tasks seem the hardest.

I’m giving you a very basic strategy to help you decide what is the most important task for you right now. Prioritise your basic human needs first.

This may go against the grain and sound counterproductive, after all, you have children to look after, possibly a partner, pets, other family members and a career to juggle.

I challenge you by saying, how can you take care of all of these elements of your life whilst running on empty?

Putting your needs lower down the list often leads to giving your limited energy to everything else but you. Leading to burnout, resentment and further exhaustion. This results in you being no good for anyone.

I often use Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs to prioritise my tasks. If you are not familiar with Maslow, he essentially said in order to thrive and be happy, first you must take care of your basic human needs.

For example, ask yourself, “Have I eaten nutritious food to fuel my body and mind”, “have I taken the opportunity to sleep where possible”, “have I drank water?”

If you feel like you are drowning and haven’t done these three things, these are the first tasks to focus on.

Once you have fed your mind and body with these three things, everything else becomes clearer and easier.

 2. Let it go

 A huge lesson for me over the last three years has been to let go of tasks both personally and in business.

This allows me to free up time for getting the highest priority tasks done and avoids further exhaustion. Previous to sleep training, I had that precious 29 minutes to myself.

How much could I get done in this time? Very little.

What could you let go off that doesn’t serve you? What could you delegate that doesn’t have to be done by you 24/7 or not at all?

Most parents find this one initially quite challenging because there is often a sense of failure in not keeping all the plates spinning.

I challenge you again and say, you can do anything, but you can’t do everything (a quote I have stolen from my previous business mentor Phil Jones).

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Most of my clients delegate tasks such as gardening, cooking, cleaning, childcare, school/nursery drop offs, and ironing. If you are telling yourself that you cannot afford paid services, instead ask yourself “How can I afford to make this happen?”.

3. Food hacks

I found nutritious meals really difficult to prepare when our son wasn’t sleeping. However, I learnt very quickly how to cook a healthy meal when you are time poor.

If your child is under 18 months (depending on weight or size), I recommend investing in a good quality sling and carefully baby wearing whilst preparing dinner. I can personally recommend Sleepy Nico slings which are supportive for your back for carrying older children. 

Once you are passed the initial storm of having a newborn, I really recommend meal planning once a week. This saves you having to think of what you are going to eat last minute when dinner is needed now. Also invest in a slow cooker, so you can put dinner on in the morning.

4. Sleep Support

Make resolving your child’s sleep challenges your top priority. When we worked with a sleep coach (before I trained as one), I went from having zero time in the day to 2-3 hours per day. What difference would this make to your life right now? 

For me, this gave me time to rest, recuperate from the months of sleep deprivation. Once I was stronger, I started my business in nap times and here I am today helping sleepless parents across the world.

I know what you are thinking, but you are a sleep coach now, you are biased. I agree, I am now biased but I would have said exactly the same before becoming a sleep professional.  

Although, the biggest transformation for me was no longer having broken sleep at night. Just imagine waking in the morning having a full night’s sleep.

You now feel refreshed, have clarity and start your day with a spring in your step. How different would your parenting experience be to what it is now?

How to help your little one sleep

If you are unsure if working with me  would help your sleep situation, then book yourself in for a Discovery Call to find out how I can help and leave with a handful of tips to get you started. All just for £29.

Kathryn Stimpson