Though we have blog posts for setting goals in seasons of transition and uncertainty (and even a few real-life examples, too!), one of the most frequently-requested topics we receive is how to set goals and use PowerSheets® as a new mom, or when pregnant. As I'm in my third trimester with my third baby, this seemed like the perfect time to tackle this topic! With the help of the Cultivate community (which includes so many amazing mamas!), I've rounded up goal ideas and advice for this very particular season of life—one often filled with joy, uncertainty, wonder, fear, and lots of emotions. You've got this, mama, and we're here to help!
Speaking of the Cultivate community, I can think of no better place to start than with these wise words from Anna V. If you're wondering if it's even worth it to use PowerSheets in a season of so many unknowns, listen in to her beautiful and encouraging words:
Before we get into the specifics of what you might include on your Tending List in these seasons, here are a few general reminders:
1. Hold your plans loosely. You might expect one kind of birth and end up having another. You might expect your baby to have one temperament and find she has another. You might plan to be a stay-at-home mom, but end up being excited to return to work. Especially if this is your first baby, it's so helpful to make a plan and think ahead, but it's even more helpful to value grace, flexibility, and a sense of humor when those plans inevitably change. (This goes for your goals, and many other things, too!)
2. Blank space is more than okay—it's practically required. Especially in the most acute months (ahem, the month your baby is born!), leave LOTS of blank space on your Tending List! Seriously—try adding just one monthly, one weekly, and 1-3 daily goals. Simple can be powerful.
And, remember this: even if you don't check your daily habits off daily, just committing to them by writing them down (and then keeping them somewhere you can see them every day) is so powerful.
3. Make choices based on what matters most to you. What is most important in this season? Feeling productive? Self care? A clean space? Connection with others? Spend a few minutes thinking through what matters most right now and prioritize those things—not what someone else thinks should be your priority in this season.
4. Your goals don't have to be big or long-term to be meaningful. In this season, they might focus very narrowly on the simple things you need to enjoy each day, and that is good. That might be exactly what you need to live your most intentional life right now. That is a perfect use for your goal planner in this season.
If one of your yearly PowerSheets goals is to thrive in pregnancy or prepare well for life as a new mom, I've included a few specific goal-setting suggestions below for pregnancy and post-partum. (Of course, you can always work on goals NOT related to family life in these seasons, too!)
One thing to note: users often wonder what should go on a Tending List versus a to-do list, especially in these seasons when it can feel like there are a million tiny to-dos!
My suggestion is to include "umbrella" monthly goals on your Tending List, so you remember to check in on them and can mark progress, and then break those goals down using either the Break It Down notepad (honestly, perfect for pregnancy!), the Brainstorm Your Month page (facing your Tending List, so handy to keep it close at hand!), or in your to-do list system of choice (Google Doc, notebook, etc.). Below, I've included a few examples of umbrella goals and how you might begin to break them down!
As always, it must be said: everyone's priorities and circumstances are different. Don't take these lists as must-dos, but instead suggestions and a jumping off point for how you might tend to what matters most to you!
GOALS FOR PREGNANCY
- Find a pediatrician
- Read books about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, baby care, and/or family life
- Take a class on pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, baby care, and/or infant CPR
- Make a birth plan (research options, hire doula or photographer if desired, gather needed supplies, pack hospital bag)
- Create a registry (research registry platforms, research essentials, ask friends for advice, visit a store to handle options, add items to registry)
- Make plans for memory keeping (book maternity or newborn photographer, plan outfits for photo session(s), buy baby book, choose announcements, plan monthly photos)
- Prepare for maternity leave from work (make a comprehensive list of all that needs to be done before birth, assign and train those taking over responsibilities, communicate expectations with team and partners)
- Secure care for returning to work (research childcare options, interview/visit options, work cost into budget)
- Set up nursery/baby's space (set up sleeping area, set up changing station, set up nursing/feeding area, buy or borrow items not gifted, decor, stock up on diapers and wipes, install car seat)
- Care for yourself (take prenatal vitamins, daily walk, stretch before bed, drink water, journal, pray)
- Think through post-partum meals (accept or create Meal Train, prep freezer meals, sign up for meal delivery service, stock up on heat and go options)
- Arrange for post-partum help (invite family to visit, read up on paternity/maternity leave policies, join breastfeeding or mom group, communicate wishes with friends, stock-up on supplies)
- Prep home (deep clean or hire a service, clear out clutter, make updates or repairs)
- Choose a name
- Prepare sibling(s) for a new baby (read books, go on a special parent date, choose a gift for the baby, take a tour of the hospital or a big sibling class)
- Enjoy this season (go on date nights, linger at a coffee shop, volunteer, read leisurely, visit with friends, indulge in a hobby, take a day trip or adventure)
GOALS FOR POST-PARTUM/FOURTH TRIMESTER
- Create traditions
- Attend to the not-so-fun stuff (update or create a will, add baby to health insurance, update life insurance, open a 529 plan)
- Accept help (visit with a lactation consultant, allow friends and family to serve you, accept meals, hire a cleaning/dog walking/childcare service)
- Care for yourself (get outside, take a walk, take a shower, take vitamins, journal, pray, read a few pages of a book, listen to music or podcast, drink water, take a nap, get dressed)
- Connect with others (go for a walk with a friend, text or call a friend, FaceTime a family member, invite someone in, accept help, reach out to another new mom, join a moms group)
- Create routines for baby care (feeding, sleeping, bathing, playtime)
- Choose and write down one mini goal each day
- Eliminate distractions (more tips for being present and for spending less time on social media)
- Slow down. "I wish in my first year of motherhood I would have paused more," says Leslie C. "I was trying so hard to be a great mom and learn all the things and predict every need I sometimes missed the small moments we relive in our memories. Pause and stare at those tiny feet. Pause and savor that delicious sweetness of new baby smell. Pause and enjoy watching your spouse discover parenthood. Pause and marvel at the miraculousness of your body rather than mourn it. Pause and see grandparents fall in love."
- Celebrate daily wins. "I'm using a whiteboard on our fridge [above!] to jot down small wins, reminders, celebrations, and unexpected blessings each day, in the hopes that it changes my 'big-picture' mindset from one of comparison to abundance," says Hillary W. "Conquering perfectionism in mamahood one day at a time!"
- Keep up with memory keeping (fill in baby book, take monthly photos, journal, order photo book(s))
- Prepare for returning to work (work through pick-up/drop-off transitions, prep for childcare, order breast pump, arrange for pumping, check in with team)
- Keep in tune with your feelings and be proactive (talk to your doctor, attend therapy, make a daily gratitude habit, shut down things that lead to comparison)