Being a busy WAHM (work-at-home-mom) is not easy; but, in the last three and a half years, I have learned some key lessons that help me get more done AND be a happier mom! So today, I want to share with you four tips that have made all the difference in our day-to-day lives!
Each and everyday there are more things on my To Do list than I can possibly do. Even though I wake up early most mornings (i.e. when Jack isn’t up all night with molars), and try to squeeze an extra hour of work in before the kids wake up, there is still too much to be done.
So instead of constantly being frustrated that I didn’t accomplish everything, I have learned to prioritize three things I want to do that day. My first priority is always to keep the kids happy, fed, and healthy. As simple as that sounds, easy it is not! With two kids three and younger, one of them being a very adventurous little boy, it is a full time job. So when they are up and about, I have to realize that I am not going to get a lot done. Then, I usually try to pick out one more big thing on my work list (a blog post, a DIY project, emails) that has to be done that day. And the third is usually either personal or social (groceries, errands, preschool board obligations, exercise, or extracurriculars for kids.)
The biggest adjustment is realizing that without huge blocks of time, it is unrealistic for me to expect more than a few hours of work everyday. And more importantly, being ok with that! When I choose to prioritize these tasks, other tasks take lower priority (cleaning the house and cooking.) And strangely enough, recognizing this and accepting that my house is not going to be perfect all the time, has been the most freeing and helpful! And it gives me more time to go apple picking with the kids!
2.) Make It Easy
When I only had one kid, and didn’t work as much, I put a lot more pressure on myself: I had to cook all meals from scratch, I had to clean the house religiously, I had DIY everything. I wouldn’t buy regular oatmeal, it had to be steel cut oats that I soaked overnight. It wasn’t ok to buy organic yogurt, I had to make it myself! Breakfast HAD to be made from scratch! Well, that’s a recipe for an overwhelmed mom, especially when you add in how busy mornings can be trying to the get the kids out the door (and when you are a chaperone for your kids’s field trip to the pumpkin patch and can’t be late!)
In the past year, I have learned to push these kind of tasks down the priority list–and doing so has given me more freedom! Instead of spending hours making yogurt for the kids, I get to play with them outside! Instead of stressing over E losing coffee cups at work (and constantly nagging him) we use Dixie® To Go! These are also perfect for when company comes to visit and wants to take hot coffee on the road! Spending less time doing dishes (and hunting for lost commuter mugs) means more time that I can spend having fun with the kids! Using Dixie® To Go also allow me to drink my morning coffee confidently while driving around town and doing errands–no one wants to be spilling their coffee all over themselves or their car! The leak-resistant lid and insulated layer gives me the best on-the-go experience and makes it easy! No effort, no clean up, no worries!
Our mornings are less chaotic, and a whole lot less stressful because it’s simply easy!
3.) Eliminate Unnecessary Work
Growing up, my mom worked full time (close to 80 hours a week), so we had a full-time housekeeper/ babysitter who came to our house five days a week from 8:30-5:30 PM for close to fifteen years. So I grew up with kind of unrealistic expectations of what was “normal” housekeeping. Let’s just say that, my mom has only recently learned to be ok with not ironing bed sheets. While I never was that overzealous, I used to be quite obsessive about laundry and cleaning. Now, my house is still really clean; but, I realized that nobody is going to die if I don’t wash ALL the bed linens every week. Duvet covers hardly get touched–they don’t need to be washed that often! That is unnecessary work–so eliminate it! I promise you will be happier because of it! Work that you don’t have to do means more time to focus on what you want!
I have also tried to cut down on unnecessary laundry. If it isn’t visibly dirty or have food on it, the kids can wear it again. B sometimes goes through as many as three outfits a day, which amounts to a lot of laundry! The kids now have to use the same milk sippy cup all day. It comes out for meals and goes back in the fridge afterwards–this cuts down on so many sippy cups to wash! Now, it’s only one a day plus their water bottles in their bed.
4.) Cut Yourself a Break
This is the biggest lesson–cut yourself a break once in awhile! Last week, I skipped out on bedtime and went out with my girlfriend for dinner. It was amazing, liberating, and refreshing! My girlfriends and I have a regular girl’s night every month that we have at each others’ houses and is always the best time! As moms, and WAHMs, we hold ourselves to such high standards, we need to be more compassionate with ourselves because we are often our worst critics!
So tell me mamas, what is the best change you have made that has made your daily life easier?
I was selected for this paid opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.