Life with baby is wondrous, magical and fun, but your household will never be the same. With children, life is more chaotic and complicated, but also livelier, happier and more fulfilling. It takes time to adjust to becoming a parent, as does incorporating your wonderful new baby into the rhythm of your life and household.
One of the biggest adjustments I had to make as a new mom was to stop trying to do it all. We want to feel like we can do it all, but do we really have to do it all? No! The first step is to adjust your expectations. Try to be reasonable -- perhaps the beds don't have to be made every day. Your house really doesn't need to be spotless, just not dirty.
Once you let go of perfection, you need to decide what your priorities are. What is most important and how often does it need to be done? For instance, do the dishes have to be done every day or is every other day okay.
Here are some tips I’ve discovered that have helped me simplify and keep things organized during that precious first year with baby:
Keep all the stuff to a minimum. Especially with your first baby it seems like you’re not quite sure what you’ll need. Maybe you got a little carried away on your gift registry or you have generous family and friends, either way you often end up with tons of “stuff”. Make time to sort through everything right away. Figure out what you’ll use immediately, what you need to store for later and what you’ll never use so you might as well return it, sell it or give it away. (For example, I discovered I really didn’t need a wiper warmer or a baby monitor.)
Regularly purge things you don't use. You might go through your own closet every year or two but babies, especially in the first year, grow out of their clothes so fast, you can hardly keep up and things can pile up very quickly. Try putting them in bins by size to keep them for your next baby, trade with another mom, or sell them on Craigslist.
Simplify household routines. This is also a good time to streamline your household routines. One of the biggest impacts your baby will have is on the amount of laundry that’s generated! If possible, do laundry on a regular basis instead of when you need clothes. You might want to consider buying an extra set of burp cloths or onesies to give you a few extra days of clean basics.
Don’t overdo it and work around baby’s schedule. Be realistic about the number of appointments, events and activities you commit to, especially the first few months when you’re running on little or no sleep. You’ll need and want the flexibility to be able to just scrap all the activities for those days that follow an especially sleepless night.