Being a mother is already a full-time job. There’s always more to do, and even when you try to plan and prepare everything, some things just do not go as planned. Besides taking care of and spending time with the children, there’s cleaning to do, plus cooking, shopping, and running errands. Adding a career to the mix can be overwhelming at times.
So how do moms do all of this? How do moms manage their family, household, and a job? Some women have fantastic partners to maintain it all with, but some find themselves doing it alone, which makes it even harder.
Perhaps you’re wondering if you will ever feel in control instead of feeling like you’re drowning in a list of to-dos. And maybe you’re even experiencing some guilt about working instead of staying home with the kids. We want to support all you hard working mamas out there, so we have outlined several survival tips for you in our article today.
Planning ahead will save you so much time! I personally have wasted time by making multiple trips to the store or having to go back to the same part of the city when I could have done all those errands at once. This is where planning comes in! One way to plan ahead is by looking at your schedule for the upcoming week (or even month) and making lists about what items need to be bought and what places you need to go. Think about things such as upcoming birthdays, celebrations, groceries, and essential business items. This will save you from having to make multiple trips and wasting more time.
I have a monthly magnetic calendar on our refrigerator. I love using this calendar for planning events because everyone in the family can see it! It is also a tangible way for me to get the events stuck in my head, so I do not forget! I then have our yearly calendar on the wall next to it where I can plan ahead and use it as a reference when filling out the magnetic calendar. This works for me, but I know some families love to sync their calendars through their phones. Find what works for you and make a plan. Planning ahead will free up a lot of time! But as mamas, we know that not everything goes as planned. So, be flexible.
Start setting daily goals. Eventually, you can move on to set weekly goals, monthly goals, and yearly goals. Goals are helpful to have so that you have a focus and stay on track. Without goals, we can lose our motivation and lose track of time. However, it’s important to make sure they are attainable and realistic, so you don’t feel defeated.
For example, one goal I have for this month is to clean the storage and laundry area in our basement. By having this goal, I can take little steps throughout the month to make sure the basement is clean. If I complete this goal, I will feel much less stress when I walk into the basement. And if the goal is completed on time, I can move on to the next goal, rather than letting more time pass without accomplishing this goal and increasing the stress I feel as I walk into the dirty basement.
Think about things you want to get done around the house or improvements you want to make for yourself or with the kids. Choose things that are important and start slow.
Share the Chores
Unless you naturally love to clean and are a very tidy person, your house will be messy. Your house will not look perfect all the time, and you have to be okay with it. Breathe. It’s okay. In fact, just today we had several guests, and I did not love the way the house looked. But, I didn’t let myself feel stressed or guilty because I know that I work hard and have a baby to care for.
There’s a lot we do as mamas and sometimes cleaning is not the priority. Allow yourself to be human and have a little mess sometimes. If you do get stressed when there is a mess, pick areas in your house that are most important to you and make it your goal to make sure they remain clean. You will cause yourself a lot of unnecessary stress if you make unrealistic demands on yourself.
With that being said, however, it is essential to have a clean house. Some people believe that a cluttered house clutters the mind. A relatively tidy house makes people feel more comfortable and at peace. As a working mom, it is hard to keep up with the many household chores. Therefore, it will be helpful to share the chores.
Teach your children to help with chores around the house, starting at a young age. Toddlers and preschoolers usually love to help and are proud when they can do things themselves. Creating this habit while they are young will make it easier to continue as they go into their teenage years. Not only will it save you time, but it will teach them responsibility as well as life skills. If you have a spouse, you can decide between the two of you which chores you’d each like to do. Having a set cleaning plan will help to ensure it all gets done!
Have a Meal Plan
There are a variety of ways you can meal plan. Some people love to make a bunch of freezer meals where they use recipes with similar ingredients, prep them all on the same day, throw them into the freezer, and then pull them out one by one to put into the crockpot. Others enjoy cooking dinner the night before when the kids have gone to bed and then just reheat it the next day.
Sometimes people grocery shop weekly and plan their meals according to the sales. Others cook a big batch of things on one day and then separate it for each day of the week. We’re all different and what may work for one family may not work for yours. The important thing is to have a plan so that you do not feel overwhelmed when thinking about dinner. Meals should be healthy, but give yourself a break if you have to order out once in a while.
Don’t Let Things Pile Up
One of the most defeating things for me is to see piles of things that need to get done. I prefer to keep up with the cleaning because it encourages me to continue doing well. But if I let things pile up, whether it is laundry, dishes, or something else, it takes longer to complete the chore.
So, my advice is not to let chores pile up. You can make (or find online) a daily cleaning list. Another tip I would give is to spot clean around the house before you go to bed. It is so much nicer to wake up to a house where most things are put away than a home with things lying around everywhere. It also gives you time to work on other things.
My personal list has daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly chores. Find something that is manageable, and again, don’t set yourself up for failure.
Have a Community
It is so helpful to talk with moms who are going through the same struggles as you. It makes the journey through motherhood even more delightful because you can care for one another, listen to one another, and get advice. Whether your community is from old friends, a church group, or moms of your kids’ friends, it’s important to encourage one another and help each other focus on the positive. There are also a lot of support groups on Facebook. Find one that suits you and share your concerns there.
Take Care of Yourself
If you do not take care of yourself, you will not be able to be the great mother you already are! You need to sleep, to shower, and to spend time just focusing on yourself. So, spend time with your spouse. Paint your nails. Participate in your favorite hobby. Do what you need to do to recharge. Your family needs you, but you simply cannot give them what they need if you do not take care of yourself.
Make sure you make time for fun with the family! Plan activities, trips, and play with your kids. Ask them what they like to do and do it along with them. These memories are everlasting and probably life-saving because you can hold onto them when you are feeling frustrated and tired. Plus, looking at pictures will help to get rid of some working mom guilt.
Learn to Say No
There will always be more opportunities offered to you. You have to be able to say no when appropriate, or you will burn out from being committed to too many things. At the same time, it is important not to be too quick to reject opportunities if you think it will be good for those involved. Think about what is best for your family and don’t be afraid to say no.
Let Go of Time Wasters
We live in the age of endless distractions. While there are many positives to having things like our phones and the internet, they can be huge time wasters. We are only given so much time in our lives and every moment we have with our children is precious. If there is something in your life that you feel is taking up too much of your time, get rid of it. I have wasted so much time scrolling through social media.
And as I sit here writing this blog post, I am finding myself watching YouTube videos. If we set our mind to attain our goals, we will be less likely to waste time. Of course, we need to relax, but when there is so much to do, we want to limit our time wasting activities. We can do it!
I hope these tips are helpful to all my working mothers out there. Being a working mom is hard and time just goes so fast. Following these tips will help you to gain some of that time back.
What survival tips would you suggest?