The Business of Being a Mom

Being a mom is a lot like running a business. There are bills to pay, budgets to adhere to, prep work, cleanup, managing employees (spouses, babysitters, even doctors). And the startup costs — yikes! Don’t get me started. At least you can buy items secondhand or get lucky enough to have gently used baby clothes handed down to you.

Just like running your own business, it’s hard work, but I love every minute of it.

Dealing With Clientele

Sometimes the client is overly demanding. If I can’t pick up Baby Frugalista in a specified amount of time (maybe I’m in the shower or washing dishes), she lets me know her displeasure, just like a customer waiting impatiently for a waitress to take her order. She may nod off on her own, or I might have to give her her pacifier (which Mr. NSF has dubbed a “bup-bup”) and rock her to sleep.

Baby Frugalista might want to eat 4 times a day, or she might want a bottle 8 times a day. I never know what I’m going to get. There’s definitely no monetary compensation involved and the hours are long, but in my book, a gummy grin is worth a million bucks.

Scheduling Feedings, Naps & Playtime

Staying home with a baby isn’t all fun and games. Well, now that Baby Frugalista is 5.5 months old, playtime is becoming more important. On any given day, the baby wakes up, and I change her and we play on her activity mat for a bit. Then it’s time for a bottle of yummy milk. I’m still sterilizing our filtered tap water for her bottles by boiling a full teakettle in the morning, which lasts all day.

As she gets older, Baby Frugalista’s naps and nap times continually change. She’s been taking 20-to-30-minute naps 3, 4 or 5 times a day for months now, with the occasional hour-long nap. If we nap together, she’ll sleep over an hour. Go figure! I need to get some things done around the house during her naps, so I can’t always sleep with her. Naps are usually in the morning, at noon, in the late afternoon and at dinnertime. There are many sessions of play and tummy time sprinkled in between. Feedings generally happen after naps. Now, with solids in the mix, that’s two more feedings that need to be scheduled.

Managing Employees

Not only do we have to deal with babysitters and daycare providers, many of us have to deal with our significant others. Training Mr. NSF to help take care of the baby has been an adventure, to say the least. But he’s now a pro at changing dirty diapers, giving bottles and changing her clothes. We’re still working on his “soothing” techniques, though!

Leaving the baby in the care of someone else involves lots of details. The babysitter needs to know what she eats/drinks and how often, her napping and sleeping patterns (okay, “patterns” might be the wrong word at this point). She’ll also learn our baby’s quirks and cues, hopefully much faster than Daddy and I did.

Preparing for a New Day of ‘Baby Business’

The end of the day is when I clean up and prepare for the next day.Some of the things I do after the baby is asleep for the night:

  • Clean up after bathtime.This involves scrubbing the the baby tub and the big tub, putting away the rubber duckies, removing the pillow I use when I kneel next to the tub (a lifesaver!), and rinsing out washcloths.
  • Put the baby’s laundry (clothes, towels, bibs, burp cloths, washcloths) in the hamper or do a load (or three).
  • Wash and sterilize the bottles, rubber-tipped spoons, dishes and bowls. Scour and bleach out the countertops.
  • Make sure there are enough supplies for the next day or two. This involves refilling the diaper stacker and wipes containers as necessary, and getting a new tube of diaper cream if the current one is about empty.

Oh yeah — I still have to do the usual chores to keep our house looking its best. Which, right now, means presentable and as clean as possible. I’m sure I’ll be forgiven if I don’t wash the baseboards every week anymore!

Defining Success

Despite all the hard work that goes into the business of being a mom, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m hopeful that Baby Frugalista grows up knowing how much Mommy and Daddy love her, and turns out to be a happy, well-adjusted child. That will be success enough.