Household Tips for New Parents
Here are a few helpful rules to remember during the first two years that most literature and textbooks didn’t touch on.
Babies, and Toddlers are Messy, Messier, and Messiest as they go through the “Stage 1” foods, and through adult food which is no less mess than the globs of Gerber. I had a brand new, WHITE apartment while going through the messiest of stages with my child. Here’s what I’ve found the most helpful.
CLEAN ROUTINE: Down and Dirty
Before dousing the house with bleach, vinegar, or any other stinky cleaner, first just wipe all counters with WATER. Take a clean mop and go over the floors lightly with water. Fill up empty baby food jars with just plain, precious water rinse in themorning and it’s spotless or throw it in the dishwasher to sterilize if you plan to re-use the glass jars. In a tiresome attempt to keep my new floors, white walls, and white cabinetry well, white I have tried every cleaning solution on the market. A year later I now mop floors daily with just water and spot treat with alcohol, or spray cleaner. This new year has allowed me to save a lot of stink, expense, and frustration of trying to keep your curious toddler away from what you are doing while working with not-so-kid friendly products.
And no, when you are raising kids alone, you can’t do everything once they go to sleep because Mom needs sleep too usually before 3 am for another 16 hour day of parenting the following day. And when you live in the hot tropics you can’t just clean up tomorrow because you will surely have uninvited guests coming to eat what your child graciously threw to them as her daily offerings. This is one of the very few times I will say I miss seasons because bugs don’t take time off down here.
My job currently is stay-at-home Mom and that doesn’t mean I’m having fun, what it means is that you are endlessly taking care of someone else and endlessly cleaning. The difference between a nanny and the stay-at-home Mom is the nanny gets paid! So if you have to come up with ingenious and inexpensive ways to tidy up look no further. Water first, all the way.
Always start with H20 for any stain, any unrecognizable food particles that end up 8 feet up your wall as they experiment with “solids.” It’s actually quite comical how far a baby can throw food. Perhaps, the best advice of all is to rent an old, brown home or an older apartment with carrot colored carpet, and baby barf colored walls because let’s be honest that’s what’s going to be all over them from the precious first months to age three.
The Worst Stainer and Culprits.
Someone really should make glue out of banana because my gosh does it stick. If you’ve read any of my background you’d know I have a knack for discovering unknown qualities. The banana chunks are the stickiest, most adhering glops of food that you will encounter while feeding your new baby. Beware, you will need a long bristle brush, or long fingernails because water will only loosen this lightly for you no matter what surface you find it on.
I know it’s bad but you’re going to have to get some Bleach, a big bottle and keep it up high. (Instead of locking out my child from bottom cabinets I moved all the bad stuff to highest shelf and dealt with the change). There is nothing that will get carrots, squash, and any of the other orange-yellow colors out from that new white floral dress Grand Ma just bought or that new baby white Polo for the new grandson. Bleach and Oxy-Clean will become you’re good friends. Without being sarcastic, the white apartment I reside in would surely be a dark, cheetah spotted mess without the two bleaching agents.
Save yourself a lot of work and move into an old place for the baby years. Or save all the pennies you can and get that cleaning lady.
For all the stubborn stains that the water didn’t help disintegrate just use some spot cleaner, scrubby brush or sponge and some arm power. After going through bottles and bottles and bottles of various cleaners I realized that the best solution was my muscles and a mop soaked in who would’ve guessed….just water.
Okay, so think of something you just loved doing before babies, and tell your spouse to go get you the supplies. I started painting out of nowhere just before I became pregnant and 4 years later have plenty of unused paint, brushes and paper just waiting to become masterpieces. I didn’t stop because I had the baby, but rather I decided I really don’t get a lot of inspiration to paint and must have been a one time thing. At any rate what became my hobby (again) was writing and cooking. Two things you WILL NOT have time for during the first year that you are home with your child, amongst the thousand other things you now realize were just luxuries of single hood.
If I could give the best bit of advice to alleviate the new parent stress, especially if you are doing it alone (and didn’t expect to) get your hands on to something good, literally and figuratively speaking. Dive into something you seemed to forget you longing for and set up your home for happiness so you can retain your INDIVIDUALITY that seems to get so lost during the baby and toddler years. To save your sanity, buy some markers, paint, cookware, books, just one or two precious items at a time and you’d be amazed at how creative you can become despite the YEARS of sleep deprivation.
I have found personally, that three to four new movies a week whether Red Box, TV, online or Blockbuster were the only saving grace to the constant repetitive, endless motions you end up doing day, after day after day. If I have the energy I cook, and if I don’t I read a new magazine or newspaper and go to sleep. It’s so nice to get your mind off the child worries for just 1-2 hours a day and just relax doing something you enjoy. Being a single mother is no fun, so treat yourself for when those good nights come when baby stays asleep.
It’s nice to do something for yourself for a change, who knows maybe it will be a new business, maybe a new painting for your wall, at least it will be your own creation or accomplishment. And it feels great!