Guest post by Dana Dobbie.
I remember clearly the day I came home from hospital with my first child. Who wouldn’t? We drove carefully from the hospital, aware that on board was the most precious cargo ever. At home the dining room table was covered with flowers, meals where ready to be defrosted and the house was pretty clean, thanks to my frantic nesting instinct two days before I went into labour.
There was a torrent of visitors, including unwell friends who I needed to help protect my baby from. Eventually, though, it was just us. I started to look around our house with bleary eyes wondering how I was going to keep on top of the housework whilst looking after a newborn. I already had those towelling nappies laid out strategically for little spit-ups as I called them or nappy accidents, which were frequent.
With my husband working long hours I took it upon myself (rightly or wrongly) to manage the house, including balancing our budget, all the cooking and cleaning and, of course, being the main care giver to my son. My weeks were already full of follow up appointments from the hospital, early childhood health centre visits and the mothers’ group coffees. On top of that there was the cooking, washing and cleaning.
How was I going to keep on top of it all? Well I developed a little list (the first of many) that would help me break it down into manageable and not too exhausting chunks.
- Wash dishes/load/unload dishwasher
- Clean counter tops
- Empty the bin (if full)
- Vacuum (my son loved the sound of the vacuum and it instantly stopped all crying, so I used it a lot)
- Clean up any baby spills with soap and water first and disinfectant second including any baby toys which then needed another wipe over with water.
- Make bed and the much adored cot
- Disinfect the change table and the nappy bin
- Put yet another load of washing on and fold clean and dry clothes
- Clean microwave
- Clean sink and cabinet fronts
- Wipe down all appliances
- Clean and disinfect the floor
- Replace or clean sponges/dish brushes.
- Change towels
- Change all bed linen
- Rotate/re-organise baby toys
- Dust around TV area
- First clean and then disinfect all door knobs, light switches, fridge door
- Spot clean walls
- Dust window sills and clean windows
- Clean out and re-organise fridge.
In hindsight, I think I made the list to try and gain some control over my life. It meant there was some sense of order in a new life that was very different to my old which was now consumed by a very loveable, but demanding newborn. Having a new baby made me realise that help keeping him, myself and my husband healthy was suddenly the most important thing in the world to me. How would I cope if my baby is unwell, especially if I could help prevent it and what could I do every day to help prevent it? It became a priority for me, taking the extra steps every day to keep my family healthy.