When you have a spare 15 minutes, an hour, half an hour in your day, what do you do with it?

The way I lived before Ruth was born was to have a list of tasks that I needed to get done and just get on with it, doing it in my own time and in my own space. But now she is here, the things that *need* to get done are totally different to what was on my list before. Things I just took for granted before, like eating, sleeping, showering are now on my 'to do' list to make sure they get done! Having said that, there has not been a day since Ruth was born that I have not showered and got dressed. I made a pact with myself before she arrived that if I only accomplished one thing each day, it would be to be clean and tidy in myself.

It goes without saying that Ruth is my priority and keeping her happy and healthy is my number one task. The *important* things that I refer to in this post are what I do in addition to looking after her, although it could be argued that everything in a roundabout way contributes to her wellbeing!

What is *important* has taken on a whole new meaning. And what is important to me isn't necessarily important to the next person. When I have spare time, I ensure that I eat and sleep first and foremost so that I can function best for Ruth. In the early days, that was all I could manage most days! My mother-in-law came over when Ruth was perhaps 5 weeks old and was disappointed that I had not made home-made bread for lunch. And she had to 'clean' my kitchen before she would do my ironing. I tried to explain to her that when I had a spare 10 minutes, there were other things I would rather spend my time doing than making bread and making the kitchen look immaculate. Things like washing and folding nappies, like having a drink, like visiting the bathroom or having a shower. Really really basic things!

Now things are a little more flexible. Ruth is sleeping by herself and for up to 2 hours at a time. Before, she was sleeping on me, perhaps for 45 minutes out of every 90-120 minutes. So now I have more time to make bread and clean my kitchen. But still, I have limited time, and I have to decide for example: Do I get up, showered and breakfasted now, or do I have another hour's sleep? Usually I opt for the former as it makes for a smoother running of the day, but its a hard decision at 6am in freezing temperatures. Do I clean my skirting boards or bake something for Hubby's packed lunches next week? Do I do the ironing, or do I visit a friend or have someone in for lunch?

Later in the day, I make sure I do my housework and things. However, I do keep forgetting that resting is important too, especially as I am still exclusively breastfeeding. Because I feel well, I feel like I am shirking if I rest, so most days I don't, when really I should. And if there is time left over, then I read my blogs or work on some things for Hubby.

I have a daily plan which helps me to stay focussed on the things that are important to me. I've used it for a week now, and it has helped lots. It means that the times that I have my hands to myself I can use productively, and it means that I am forming a routine which I find useful. It is akin to Household Folders that lots of people use, and I am sure that I will add to mine as time passes.

I feel that my life is richer now than it was before I was a stay-at-home wife and mum. I so love my new job!!!