We all need more time in our lives, but HOW?! How do I run a successful business but also have a happy family? Literally #momlife right? But as mothers, it is so important to have some time to ourselves to stay sane and healthy for our babies and family. Mom life shouldn’t be a season where we grit our teeth, just waiting for it to be over! Yes, of course, we all have moments like this. But if you have thoughts of escaping to the comfort and warmth of St. Lucia every day, maybe it’s time to see how you can enjoy this season a bit more. Our families don’t just need us to be present, but they need us to be healthy. But how? Here are some time management tips for mamas. I know that we may be in different stages with our children as moms so not all of these tips and tricks may apply. But I hope that these will at least give you some ideas to try to adjust to your life! Let’s do more with less time!
Establish Your Morning Routine
And the key to this is waking up earlier. I know. You’re thinking, my kid gets up at 6 AM every day, why would I EVER get up earlier than that? This mama needs her beauty sleep! I agree sleep is absolutely important. I remember when Jayce was first born and I was only getting 45 minutes here and there and that is absolutely not sustainable. But if your kid sleeps 6-10 hours every night and takes 1-2 naps a day, I think that waking up early is an essential part of mental health. My son currently wakes up around 7:30 AM and I am usually up by 6 AM with my husband. I get a cup of coffee, toast with jam and we sit on the couch to read our bibles in complete silence before we start our day. This is the only way that I am able to fit breakfast in. Nobody is tugging at me. Nobody needs my attention. Nobody is crying. This morning routine is just an hour of quiet so I can start the day on the right foot. Do something you normally don’t get to do during that hour. Don’t watch TV, check your email, or look at your social media accounts. Do something that makes you smile. Perhaps it’s a hobby you’ve left behind since you’ve become a mom. Crochet? Scrapbook? Maybe it’s reading that novel or writing a novel!? Maybe it’s prayer and meditation? We began implementing it just this year and I can’t tell you how much it’s changed my mood and productivity during the day. I usually begin with reading my bible and then prayer. Some days I get to finish before Jayce starts to cry. Some days I don’t but I take what I can get. When I am diligent to establish this morning routine, I feel like I can at least set the pace for my day somewhat.
Write Your Top 3:
I push myself to write down the 3 things I MUST get done that day. You and I both know that there are a million things to accomplish every day and sometimes, it feels as if you got nothing done. But when you can identify the top 3 things, you can at least rest at the end of the day knowing that you’ve hit your most important goals. Writing my top 3 helps ramp me up for the day! This allows me to say yes to some things and NO to a lot of things.
Establish Your Evening Routine
Well, in order to wake up earlier, you must go to bed earlier! You might think that this is the best time for your hours of free time so you stay up into the crazy wee hours of the evening but from experience, staying up early only makes me groggy and tired the next day because I know for a fact that my little baby will not allow me to sleep in. Better to go to bed early so that I can treasure my quiet time in the mornings and still feel awake and alert to take on my day. My evening routine usually consists of making Jayce’s bottle (Scott likes to put him down to sleep at night because it’s his time alone with Jayce). I usually clean up the dishes for dinner and run the dishwasher so it’s ready for me to put away in the morning. I’ll wipe down counters and then sweep. I’ll put away toys into bins so we can start the next day fresh. Jayce usually goes down around 7:30PM so I finish cleaning up around 8:15PM. I then spend an hour for myself and am in bed by 9:30-10PM so that Scott and I can talk and chat about our day. If we are asleep by 11PM and I get up at 6AM, that’s still a solid 7 hours of sleep!
Make Your Spouse A Priority
Wait, I thought this was about making ME a priority? Yes, it is, which is why this is important. Mental health includes healthy families as a whole. If my husband and I can stay connected, then I am able to have a stronger foundation to stand on. I make him a priority by scheduling our times together. We are not just roommates going through life but we are partners conquering life together. When you schedule time with your spouse, neither one of you will feel neglected. I won’t be upset when he needs his 45 minutes to decompress and he won’t feel overlooked when I need my 45 minutes. It is the understanding that you have time to look forward to, not always wondering “when are we ever going to have time together?!” Marriage needs offensive tactics and not defensive! I promise if you schedule time for each other, then you will also respect each other’s alone time!
How much time have you wasted planning and replanning, picking up and dropping off only to realize your spouse already did it? On top of making your spouse a priority, I would also bust out the calendar and look at your weekly/monthly schedules EVERY WEEK. Scott and I usually do this on Sundays. We look through the week and remind each other of what we have going on, how we will tackle the week together, schedule our date night and sometimes even meal plan. We also keep a google calendar together. This helps us not waste time having the same conversations throughout the week about who is going where for what.
Ok, I’ve heard so many people that say DON’T MULTITASK! But as moms, we multitask all the time whether we like it or not! I think there are things that we should not be multitasking (if you’re playing with your child, don’t also be thinking about your grocery list). But I also think there are things that we CAN multitask that allows us to free up time so that we can be more intentional about getting free time or spending quality time with our family. Multitasking is just consolidating tasks together to help save us time! Here are a few things that I do throughout my day to efficiently multitask:
- When my child is eating, I do the dishes and clean the kitchen. If your child can’t feed him/herself, this will not work for you obviously. But Jayce is a year old and loves to feed himself. Eating time isn’t play time so I don’t feel bad if my attention isn’t 100% on him. This works for me because my dining room and the kitchen is one big open space. This may not work for you if they are in different rooms, I wouldn’t suggest leaving your kids to their own food lest you come back to a food fight instead. After he’s done eating, I usually clean his tray and then give him a toy. This helps distract him a bit longer as I finish sweeping or cleaning. I’ve also found that if I clean and sing a song to him at the same time, he usually loves just to watch me clean the kitchen. Doing this saves me about 20-30 minutes of cleaning later.
- I only get the mail if I am already going to go outside (like take out the trash). I don’t know what it is about the mail coming but whenever I hear that little letter carrier put my mail in the box, I have this urge to go out there right away to see if there is a gift for me! And usually, there isn’t! By the time I get my shoes on, maybe a coat, go to the mailbox and come back, that’s a few minutes of my time that I just wasted. You may think this is ridiculous to save a few minutes, but those minutes add up at the end of the day!
- Spray your shower with cleaner and then hose it down after you’re done. This cuts down on the deep cleaning time!
- Always make extra food for lunch the next day! Dinner is done. Packed lunch is done. Check!
- Watch your favorite show… while you fold laundry… AND do your squats. I try to only watch TV when I am able to work on house chores or graphic design at the same time.
- While you drive, process your thoughts (I usually process and pray). Or make your phone calls. Or listen to a podcast.
- When Jayce takes a bath, I clean the bathroom! I don’t use harsh chemicals when I clean so it’s safe to use while he is bathing. I can keep an eye on him while he plays AND still have a sparkling bathroom. Score.
Focus On What’s Important
I follow this lady on Instagram who is amazing at making these bento boxes for her kids. They are so creative and my heart leaped at the thought of doing that for Jayce. He’d love it right?! Um, no. There was no appreciation for such creativity. So instead of taking the time to organize and do things he wouldn’t appreciate, I try to fix him his favorite lunches instead. Although the bento boxes are a good idea, it just doesn’t work for my family.
Scott and I came back from China after a year abroad and I remember the first things I thought of when I stepped back into my home. “WHY do we have SO MUCH STUFF?!” A year abroad taught me that we didn’t need much to live happily. The fewer things we have, the less we have to clean. I usually have 3 bins set out: Giveaway bin, Sell bin, Trash bin. As I tidy up every day, if there is an item that I know we haven’t used in over 3 months, or if Jayce hasn’t played with it in over a month, it will go into one of those bins. I do try to make it a point to get rid of more things than we bring in. Though this seems like it wouldn’t save much time, I have found that overall, a decluttered home leads to a decluttered mind which gives more room for me to think and fewer things I have to clean.
Trade Time With Friends
I have a great group of friends and we trade errand runs! Consider asking a couple of friends and see if they’ll take turns with you to watch the kids so you can run errands and help them run their errands too!
There are certain things around the house that I do not run to the stores for: copy paper, beauty products, and sometimes even groceries. I haven’t had the chance to use Shipt yet but I’ve only heard great things about it. Especially for mamas! Or my friend Velvet uses something similar at Walmart, but you drive there and they put your groceries in your car for you. No more unstrapping, carrying your kids throughout the store for 2 hours, strapping your kids back to the car….
Let Go Of Perfectionism
It’s important to clean, but it’s not effective to be perfect. A clean house helps with time so we don’t have to keep looking for things every time we need it. But does the sock drawer really have to be organized by color? Let’s keep it organized but let’s not be obsessed!
One Step At A Time
Don’t try to implement all of these tips and tricks in one day or even one month. These shouldn’t feel like chores, but more like habits that flow naturally out of our lives. It takes a while for a routine to become a habit so I would stick with one particular one until it becomes natural and then move on to another.