When it comes to being a mom, none of us thinks we are doing it right. Even the mom we are convinced has it all together? Guess what… she doesn’t! As moms, we are expected to do it all…. wake up, clean the house, volunteer at the school, get the kids to wherever they need to be (on time!), throw in a load of laundry, get dinner ready, relax with the family, get the kids bathed and in bed at a reasonable time… the list is never ending! Did you notice that with everything I just mentioned, there wasn’t one thing you did for yourself? And what about the working moms out there? When are they going to have time to do all of that?
When you’re struggling just to survive the day, it seems impossible to think about organizing your life or doing anything different. I mean, how can we be expected to sit down and make a to-do list every morning when we can hardly take a shower? Becoming an organized mom seems overwhelming, but it’s the best step you can take toward lifting the mental load that all of us as women carry around. When we are organized we feel more in control, we are more productive, and we feel less stressed; we are able to really enjoy the down time we do have because we aren’t worrying about all the things we should be doing instead.
Below are five tricks to becoming the organized mom you’ve always dreamed of being:
1. CREATE A ROUTINE
Not only does having a routine benefit us, but it benefits our little one’s too! The predictability of a routine, and the control we feel because of it, increases efficiency and helps us be more productive. In a world full of unknowns, routines give children a sense of stability and security that is comforting for them. When kids know what to expect, their behavior improves and they are more willing to do whatever they are being asked to do. Routines help all of us learn how to prioritize and balance work with play, but a rigid routine with no flexibility can be just as bad as not having a routine at all. Routines that are monotonous get boring quickly, which can lead us to stray from our routine in search of excitement. Therefore it’s beneficial to have parts of your day set to a routine and leaving the rest more flexible. For example, having a morning routine… wake up, brush teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast, pack school bag, out the door… makes sure that everyone is up and ready without a fight. Bedtime/naptimeroutines are another great way to make sure the kids are in their beds and you have some time for yourself.
2. MAKE TO-DO LISTS WITH DEADLINES
To-do lists are going to be your best friend when it comes to staying organized. Create a command center in your house that lets everyone know what is going on that day and what to prepare for in the coming week. Make sure that your to-do lists are realistic to complete in 24 hours; don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to pack in more than is physically possible to finish. Start by creating a list of deadlines for the month and break it down from there. On Sunday for example, sit down and look at what needs to be finished by the end of the week and then break that down further into daily lists. Start with a few things you have to get done that day, and then add in a couple of things that have a more flexible deadline. If you can get ahead great, but if not you know you have time to do it later on without stressing. If you’re a known procrastinator, plan for that, too! Give yourself enough time to complete tasks so that you don’t feel rushed when the deadline approaches.
3. WAKE UP EARLIER
Don’t stop reading just because I said that! Hear me out… sleep is precious, but you’ll be surprised what a difference 15 extra minutes can make in your morning. Start by waking up 15-20 minutes before you know everyone else would be up for the day. Waking up just a tad earlier gives you time to enjoy a cup of coffee by yourself, take a shower, throw in a load of laundry, catch up on a podcast, tidy up the living room, or just sit there in the peace and quiet you know won’t last much longer. Knowing that you’ve had this little bit of extra time to get something accomplished or take some time for yourself may be just what you need to keep pushing through the day.
4. MEAL PLAN AND PREP
This is key to staying on track in general, but especially if you have health and fitness goals you’re working towards. When you’re making that weekly to-do list, plan out meals too. Even if you only plan for dinner, this takes a lot of the stress away from grocery shopping and deciding what to cook. Start making dinner in the morning. Even if that means you’re only cutting up veggies or thawing the chicken, you’ll feel better knowing that you don’t have to rush when dinnertime comes. This allows you to sit down with family and actually enjoy the meal with them, instead of running around the kitchen like a human tornado.
5. SAY NO!
This should really be number one, but as always, save the best for last. Similar to not biting off more then you can chew when making a to-do list for the day, if you don’t have time for something, it’s okay to say no! Taking on too much increases your stress and leaves you feeling overwhelmed. It also means you probably won’t be able to give your full effort to everything you’re doing, which can lead to disappointment and feelings of failure. Remember that “no” is a complete sentence and may be a more beneficial answer in the long run.
The bottom line? Any kind of planning and routine will help you become more organized and less stressed, but what works for someone else probably won’t work the same for you. Don’t be afraid to tweak what you see someone else doing or make adjustments to your routine as you go. Learning what works best for you and your family is a trial-and-error process that takes some time to figure out, but once things click you’ll be wondering how you ever managed before!