When you become a new mom, getting things done with only one hand while you carry your baby is a skill you learn quickly. Why? Because if you have a baby that is anything like my 5-month-old “Silver,” you fight between the two options: put him down and hear him whine/scream or hold him constantly. I choose the latter.
I don’t actually mind holding him all the time. I’ve been through this phase of parenting before so I know it won’t last forever, and I also know just how quickly he will turn into a kid who doesn’t want to be held and cuddled ever. Okay, there are days where I wish he would just be cool with sitting in his swing or staring at his brother and sisters, but since he’s made it clear that’s not what he wants – that’s not what we do.
At first it was hard readjusting to life with a new baby and life with one arm constantly occupied holding that new baby. It’s funny, though, how quickly you can adapt to your daily tasks using only one arm. See below for six everyday tasks I quickly adapted to completing with just one hand.
If you can find time to eat, you’re awesome. It’s a problem for me right now because I’m always holding the baby or working or doing school with the older kids. Sure, they eat, but I have a strange diet that requires more prep work than I have effort for. I have discovered the process of eating is far easier when you learn how to eat using only one hand.
2. Using the computer
I’ve got an amazing job which allows me to stay home with my infant and homeschool my three older children. I do, however, still have to make time to work, and when your baby has colic, is clingy, and doesn’t like to be put down ever, you get really creative. Enter my one-handed typing skills. I am thinking I should get speed-tested to see how fast I type with my right hand only.
3. Changing a diaper
OK, why do I need to change a diaper with one hand? Clearly I am not holding the baby in one arm and changing his diaper, but I do have three older children who require help from me as well. If Silver is not in my arms, chances are my 5-year-old is climbing on my back and about to fall off, and when Silver wants a diaper change, he wants it immediately. This means I’ve totally mastered the one-handed diaper change … for now. Ask again when he’s in that “not sitting still for anything” phase.
4. Using the bathroom
There was a time when I didn’t have to plan when I needed to use the bathroom. Those solo-toilet days go out the window when you have kids, especially when they’re young! Having a new baby, you quickly figure out that it’s better to just go than to wait until you can go alone (because that’s not going to happen). I’ve mastered the ability to unbutton, unzip, zip, and button my jeans with just one hand.
5. Cooking dinner
Cooking food for my kids, husband, and myself has gotten easier now that Silver will sit on my hips (versus when he was younger and I had to support his head still), and I’ve relearned how to do it all with just one hand. I can make a mean one-handed sandwich, cook up some pasta, and even prep a super delicious taco meal all while holding a baby in my arms. I haven’t yet mastered the ability to take something hot out of the oven while he’s in my arms, but that sounds a little scary to me.
It doesn’t matter the chore (whether it be vacuuming, picking up toys, making the bed, or folding the laundry), when you have a new baby who loves to be carried and no one to put the house chores on their to-do list, you find a way to make it work. Confession: I use “holding the baby” as the excuse to why there’s currently a basket of laundry waiting to be folded in my living room, but I could get it done with one hand.
What tasks have you noticed you’re now able to complete one-handed while you hold your baby with the other?
Photo credit: © Devan McGuinness
Devan is a freelance writer living in Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and four kids. No, those aren’t her kids’ real names – they’re online pseudonyms. Read more from Devan on Babble and “like” byDevan on Facebook!