Raise your hand if you feel like you run around CRAZY from the moment you wake up until the moment you lay your head on the pillow. [raises hand] You can’t deny that our lives are busy: We are moms, wives, partners, workers, housecleaners, chauffeurs, referees, nurses, psychologists, chefs — and that’s only for our role at home! Last year, with both of my children in school full time together for the first time in two years, I found myself more stressed and frazzled as ever. I have a husband who travels, so much of the time, I’m responsible for it all. And I admit — I had to come up with some ways to help organize the chaos that had become of my life. While, yes, they were both in school full time (kindergarten and 2nd grade), they were now BOTH involved in school activities and after-school activities. Oh, and did I mention I am also now PTA President?! AHHHHHHH! Here are a few things I’ve done to make the mom hustle less of a hassle:
Buy an Actual Planner (and USE IT!)
I thought I was being all slick and technological by ridding myself of the paper calendar. Boy, was I wrong! I was missing dates left and right because I was always in a rush and would forget to set the alarms that I was relying on to remind me. D’oh! Total user error. Back to the paper calendar, I went. Now I write down everything and color code as my heart desires. I always keep it in my bag, so I never miss a date or deadline. I was also guilty of over scheduling because I was scheduling things on days I already had plans because I wasn’t looking at my phone correctly. Being PTA President, I have a lot of meetings scheduled throughout the week. So I never commit to anyone unless I check my calendar first. Taking on a big role doesn’t mean that you are at everyone’s beck and call. I make myself very available, but it also has to fit within my schedule.
Meal Plan and Food Prep Like a Boss
I love food. Like, really love it. I constantly felt like we were eating out or pulling through Chick-fil-A because of my poor planning. This caused even more stress because by the time we were done with sports, the whole fam was overly hungry and it was late. Now, I grocery shop on Sunday and buy everything we need for the week. Snacks, breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks… you name it, I buy it on Sunday. I make a mid-week trip Wednesday or Thursday, depending on what our needs are for the rest of the week. I have one child who doesn’t like sandwiches, so for his lunches, I make muffins on Monday mornings and they last for the week. All fruit gets cut up and put in containers ready to grab and go if need. If I know I have a particularly busy week ahead, I’ll go ahead and make enough shredded chicken for a few different meals (tacos, chicken salad, quesadillas). Knowing what we are eating and actually having the food on hand has made a huge difference.
Pack What You Can the Night Before
I’m looking at you, lunches! I always have our water bottles filled and in the fridge the night before. Same for snack foods. The only things I need to do in the morning is throw in the cold items and make a sandwich for kid no. 2!
Make Good Use of Sports/Dance Bags
Kid no. 1 plays competitive soccer, so we spend a lot of time at the soccer fields. His uniform is laid out and soccer bag is always packed and put in my car the night before practice. Same for kid no. 2, who takes dance. We go directly from school to the dance studio, so her dance bag is packed and in the car the night before with her leotard, tights, three pairs of dance shoes, and her bun holder.
Lay Out Clothes in Advance
I don’t know the makeup of your house, but my kids’ bedrooms and bathrooms are upstairs. Before bed each night, I have them pick out their clothes, bring them downstairs, and lay them on the back of the couch so no one is having to run back upstairs to get anything in the morning and waste our precious time. If your house is anything like mine, we are running out the door at the very last minute! I also keep an extra set of toothbrushes and kid toothpaste, hair ties and bows, and hair gel downstairs for the kids to use for the same reason.
Make Time for Yourself
This is one of the biggest things I’ve changed recently. You have to schedule in some time for yourself to keep you going. You deserve it. We do so much for our families. For me, it’s making sure I hit the gym at least four times a week. It takes an hour of my time, and I feel exponentially better for it. Some close seconds are the rare lunches with girlfriends and getting my nails done. I was amazed that investing a little bit of time in myself would change my attitude so significantly!
Get a housekeeper! Kidding. I’d love to say that I schedule out my house cleaning, but I don’t. What I do though, is make my time count. If I notice a room is in particular need, I spend my X amount of time I have that day on that room. My kids are a little older now, too, so I can solicit their help with the little things. Now, laundry… that’s a whole other ball game. It’s pretty much a daily struggle around here.
I don’t know if any of this will work for you, but the planning out of my time really was a game changer. Do things still sometimes fall through the cracks? Of course! Yet, I no longer feel like we run around crazy. Our mornings are much more enjoyable, and dare I even say pleasant? Soccer and dance days come and go without a hitch because we are prepared and dinner is almost always well planned. A few days a month my kids even come home to a more relaxed mommy because I took the time that day to catch up with good friends over coffee/lunch or get a manicure.
What do you do to keep your #MomLife running smoothly?