She is about 4 1/2 months old now and it's finally happening. For a while there, I was wondering if I'd ever get my act back together. :-)
I found myself working hard all day and not really accomplishing anything. This resulted in me always being exhausted and nothing getting done. How could this happen? Unfocused efforts were simply in vain. A plan had to be put into place. Along the way, I learned a few things.
Go back to basics
When what you used to do doesn't work anymore, go back to the basics. In my case, I went back to expecting to only take care of the kids and put food on the table. Basic. Everything else accomplished in a day's work was a bonus. What is it that really needs to be taken care of today? And be honest. Does that load of laundry really need to be washed today? Do you really have to bake that cake? Do you really have to make pancakes from scratch?
Find new ways to combine tasks
When Isabelle is awake, I like to snuggle with her. Since I don't have all day to just snuggle with her, I have her sit in my lap while I do homework with Nathan and do a craft with Abigail. We all spent quality time together, each child gets my focused attention and the kids are really enjoying this time together.
Or, I use my nifty Moby Wrap or Baby Bjorn to carry Isabelle while I vacuum. Bathroom cleaning is usually done when she is sleeping as it's almost impossible to do it with her one me. I'm finding these new combinations much more fulfilling and am actually spending more time with all of my kids than before.
Take a break
It's hard for me to consciously take breaks. There is always so much to do. However, taking a break actually results in more energy and getting more done. Some ways to take a break are also fun for everyone. For example, I love to read books to the kids while we all relax on the couch.
Good Nutrition and Adequate Sleep
This should be a no-brainer. Sleep when you can and don't waste that sleeping time. Don't spend valuable time on the computer (which always turns out to be a lot more time than you intended). With multiple kids, someone is always bound to wake you up. Expect it and plan accordingly.
As far as food goes, so often I take to sweet and not-so-healthy (ok, let's be real - utterly unhealthy) foods and snacks. A big part of that is not planning ahead. Implementing a meal plan is a big step in the right directions here. The other part is having healthy snacks readily available and getting rid of the junk.
A few examples that need no preparation and are good for you:
Already shelled nuts
Ready to eat veggies (think carrots)
Use your helpers
Those sweet little babes in your home are actually very eager little helpers! You can even make it a game. Nathan is really into superheros. So we come up with all kinds of missions that need to be accomplished. For example, the socks laying on the floor are a bomb that can only be diffused when properly put into the laundry basket. Not every chore is an adventure, but I've noticed that they eagerly do what mama asks them to do (well, most days anyway). It's been a great help, especially when it comes to their toys which really make the biggest mess in the house. We take time and they need to bring all their toys into their rooms and put them in the right places. Once they are done, they come and get me to make sure they did the task correctly. It's so nice to not trip over toys. You may have to invest a few days of showing them where everything goes and littler ones need to be focused on one toy set at a time. Abigail gets overwhelmed with her whole room so I first have her put Strawberry Shortcake set away, then stuffed animals, then baby doll things, etc.
If it's not basic or absolutely important (such as doctor appointments), don't schedule it in until you have time again. Period.
Instead of hitting the floor running, I decide every morning which tasks need to be done. Always plan on keeping your schedule light to allow for all kinds of child-related distractions from the plan. That gives you time to read a book instead of chasing the "plan."
Enjoy your Children
Most importantly, enjoy your little ones. They will be grown up and gone tomorrow.