Ask Deborah: Organizing the New Mom

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Parent’s organizing questions to help role-model organizing to their kids!


Q: “I have a hard time planning breast pumping and getting out the door for events/work with an infant. Do you have any tips for organizing materials to load the car, and any time management strategies for getting out the door on time?  It seems there’s so much to do in terms of packing diaper bag, extra clothes, making sure to pump, and toys/paci’s.” Mother of 6 month old girl

A: This is one of the best kept secrets from new mothers! Everyone concentrates on your delivery but no one tells you about all the stuff you’re going to have to juggle for this new little one! And stuff there is! Top priority is for you to streamline the process. Time and Stuff.  How often do you really need to breast pump? Can you supplement when you run out? Is it really the end of the world? Feeling less stressed out is better for you and your baby! Try scheduling time at night to pump and then freeze your portions so you have ready supply to grab in the morning.


Avoid the Zig-Zag Dance: With all the stuff everyone has, most of us have plenty to set up for both our car and our home. Put two diaper bags together, so you can always have one pre-packed in the car. (Especially for toys! In fact having “toys just for the car!” is a way to stretch out their newness and is one less thing you’re carrying back and forth.) Avoid this zig-zag dance as much as possible! Make a short list of the things that always need replenishing and then schedule every other day to re-supply your diaper bags with clean diapers, extra clothes, wipes, fresh snacks. (for you too!) etc.

Prep the Night Before: As a new mother you are now taking the boys scout oath to “Always be prepared!” You’d be amazed how much you can prepare the night before. From what to wear, to your morning coffee, to packing the diaper bag with the extra clean clothes, to sitting down and making that “3 Important Things To-Do List” for the next day. Actually as a mother with a baby, if you get 2 things done on your list,  you are super mom! Really! Life with an infant seems all about the baby. And it is! They are demanding to get their needs met and have limited options on telling you what’s up! The key is for you to anticipate their needs by being in tune with them. Using a baby carrier helps moms get in sync with their babies and it frees up your hands! Think of it this way, your new baby is your training ground for getting organized. All of a sudden it’s not just you any more, it’s you and the baby! The bottom line is that babies are demanding and they need things right away and the more organized you are with the stuff, the more prepared you’ll feel.

Estimate your Time: This is a trial and error part of life. As humans we are lousy at estimating our time. It’s the number one down fall of time management. Start timing what you do in the morning (with your new streamlined process!) to see how much time you actually need, then add 10 minutes to that for good measure. Does it take you 5 minutes to take a shower or 20 minutes? Doing this helps you get to know your internal clock and you’ll be able to estimate things better. Now you’ll know if you need only 45 minutes or more like an hour plus to get out the door! If you need more than an hour from wake-up to out the door, you’re not planning things the night before. The essential things you should be spending time on in the morning is getting you ready and your baby ready and fed. All that other “stuff” should be packed and ready to grab and go.

What you are role-modeling is a relaxed you! Babies feel the tension when we are stressed out and being more in control of all their stuff helps you and the baby feel more relaxed. It also role-models that mom is there for you and all your needs, creating less anxiety. Baby feels secure when their needs are meet quickly and it makes for a more independent child as they grow older. You are also feeding into their natural sense of order; these toys are for the car, these toys are when we’re out and about, laying the foundation for their toddler years and your own sanity!

Deborah Kawashima, C.P.O. a certified professional organizer, founded her company, Creative Organizer in 2004 after working in the fashion industry as a children’s wear designer. Growing up her parents owned Montessori schools, this natural sense of order influences her approach to organizing, Deborah specializes in working with parents and their kids, focusing on helping parents role model organizational and time management skills to their children. In addition to working with her clients, she is currently a life skills instructor at UCLA extension Pathway, a unique program for college age students who are developmentally challenged (autism, Asperger’s Disorder etc.).

Got questions? Email her:

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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