I remember spending my first couple months as a stay at home mom beyond exhausted, just trying to survive, one day at a time. Almost never taking the time to make myself presentable, daily showers were a thing I only dreamed of. Fast forward three years and I have fully embraced this job I can never clock out of, and all the exhaustion that comes with being a SAHM. Somehow with having even more kids in the house, and seemingly getting even less sleep, I have found myself being more productive than ever. I’m sure there are a couple of things that have attributed to this, including just adjusting to #momlife and learning to survive on less sleep. In addition, through some trial and error, I have found a few things that have significantly made my life easier and have brought more joy to each day.
1 // Plan ahead! Most of my prep work for the day is done the night before. First, I always shower at night. It has actually become my unwind time for myself after the kids are in bed and makes getting myself ready in the morning much, much easier. I also like to make sure the dishes are done and give our downstairs a good sweep and vacuum each night. Walking downstairs to a mess from the night before does not start my day of in the best way! In fact, I find it tends to make me much more irritable in the morning. Battling daily toddler drama tests my patience enough as it is. To me, doing it all the night before and walking down to a clean, fresh space puts me in a much better mood, with much more patience to spare for the daily morning bustle. I also like to start brainstorming the next days dinner and move any meat from the freezer to the fridge that needs to thaw. I make sure to check my weather app for the next day’s forecast and pick out my three year old’s clothes, including shoes and hair accessories. This makes getting her ready in the morning much faster. Plus she is excited to wear what we picked out the night before so she tends to not fight me as much.
2 // Get dressed every day. Now this may obvious to some, but SAHM and/or work at home mom life can put you in a slump and living in your PJs can become a very real thing. Now, I have nothing against anyone living in their jammies but for me, getting dressed each and every day helps me out a ton. Even if that just means putting on new, clean leggings versus staying in the same ones I slept in! Now, you do you, girl- this is just what helps me tremendously! Getting dressed helps me in a couple of different ways. It helps me maintain a morning routine for not only my kids, but myself. It forces me to carve out some time each morning for me. It’s a small step in self-care for myself, too. Plus, I tend to feel more put together (fake it til ya make it, right!?) Secondly, it helps me be prepared for whatever the day bring- planned or unplanned. I can’t tell you how many times I have forgotten about an errand that needs to be run or something comes up with the kids unexpected. By simply getting dressed for the day, I am already ready and one step closer to more easily tackling whatever the day may bring versus having to rush last minute to change out of my jammies, etc.
3 // Put on some makeup. Ever look at yourself in the mirror and think “who dat?” haha! It happens to me. all. the. time! I always joke that I’m so tired, this is just my face now, haha! Well … put on some makeup, girl! It doesn’t have to be much. A little concealer and mascara can go a long way. Same with getting dressed, putting on a little makeup every day helps me feel make put together and awake, ready to take on the day, expected or the unexpected! And more importantly, like I said earlier, this helps me keep myself a priority. I’m sure most moms can relate, our kids and even spouses can consume our lives and our little ones need us to take care of ourselves so we can better take care of them. Think- put the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting someone else! Daily makeup to me equals a tiny bit of self-care I owe myself, helping me feel like a better, less run-down (and happier) version of myself. Again, you do you- this truly just makes a world of different for me. I usually do my hair most mornings too but to me, the makeup is a non-negotiable. I can always whip up a top knot or cute hat if I’m in a pinch.
4 // Prioritize your time. This seems like a “duh” concept to most. But being home day in and day out can leave your days feeling like a jumbled mess and more often than not your day can leave you asking yourself “what did I even get done today ?” Don’t get me wrong, I still have days like that where things I have planned simple don’t happen. But, prioritizing my time into “blocks” increases my success rate of getting at least some of the things on my to do list done! As far as blocks of time go, I think of it more in times I have less freedom to get things done (like lunchtime, when all the little mouths need to be fed at once) and time I have more freedom to be more productive (times one kid is napping, all of them are napping, or even right after they have all eaten so they are happy, etc.) I say this also because I can get really distracted starting one task, leading to many other little jobs that don’t really need to be done at that moment. For example, I can load the dishwasher pretty much any time during the day as long as i’m not physically feeding or changing a baby. So, even though those dishes sitting in the sink from lunch are driving me crazy, if all three kids (or even two out of three) are napping, I should make better use of my time by maybe swiffering the floors or even sitting down and giving something my undivided attention when I would otherwise be distracted. Whether that is catching up on e-mails or finally getting around to calling my insurance company, while three kids aren’t screaming in the background. I’ll save loading the dishwasher or folding clothes for a time when some or all of them are awake (and screaming, haha!).
5 // If you don’t take a minute, you’ll never get a minute. Such simple but true words! My days can definitely have some quiet moments with overlapping naps but it can also have some overwhelming, needing to do 100 things at once, moments too. Most days when we get home from preschool pick up, my three year old wants a snack, the dog needs let out and both baby’s need to be changed and fed. It’s a hectic and usually stressful time of day (that almost always includes at least one kid crying) that can seem like a blur. Sometimes during that blur of time while doing those 100 small things that need to be done to make everyone happy in order to stop the screaming, I realize I need to pee. I need to pee because I haven’t taken a minute to pee all day. Or it hits me that my mouth is incredibly dry because lets face it, I’ve only had coffee all day and my body is telling me I need water. Take a minute. Maybe you need to put on an episode of Daniel Tiger for the kids so you can actualy make yourself a decent (and nutrious) lunch. Take a minute. Maybe a couple days a week you need to take that overlapping naptime, when all the kids are sleeping to unplug and catch up on an episode of Real Housewives while enjoying a candy bar in peace (and don’t have to share, ha!) If you never take a minute, you’ll never get a minute.
6 // Keep things handy! I’ve joked over on IG stories that our house in two levels and it’s seriously the worst with kids! I’m constantly schlepping everyone and everything up and down the stairs and most days the bottom of our stairs looks like a war zone with crap that needs to go upstairs. Anyone else? There’s a few things that are part of my morning routine I like to keep downstairs that helps me shave minutes off our getting ready time. I keep my makeup bag in our downstairs powder room so I can easily grab it when I have 5-10 minutes to spare- usually after the baby’s morning feeding, before my toddler, before my toddler wakes up. I also keep a pretend makeup set in my makeup bag in case said toddler is up while I’m getting myself ready. It keeps her happy and mama can do her mascara in peace! We also have a “hair bag” we keep in our powder room that holds everything I use to do the girls’ hair. Brushes, combs, elastics, bobby pins, tangle spray- all together, ready to use, right after she eats breakfast. I also keep a toothbrush and toothpaste downstairs for her just because our mornings are so centralized downstairs. I keep them in the same cabinet, right above our coffee maker, that we keep our daily vitamins and medicines in, along with some other morning necessities. When I first come downstairs each morning to start my coffee, (can I get a hallelujah!?) I pull out everything we need from that cabinet- the vitamins/medicines we need to take, her toothbrush, the fish food and even our dog’s toothbrush and set them on the counter. Then as each thing is done- medicine is taken, fish is fed, teeth are brushed, etc I put each thing back, one by one into the cabinet, almost like checking off a physical to do list. That way I know whatever is left out on the counter still needs to be done.
7 // Have grace for yourself! These things don’t always get done exactly when I want them to but it has been a good guideline for me to follow. You need to remember the goal here- to make your days as easy, productive, joyful and accomplished as possible, so make sure that is exactly what is happening. If something is making your day harder in the long run, adjust it. Also, don’t forget to keep your priorities straight for this season of life your are in. Would I love it if my three year old’s bedtime routine was under a minute long so I could hurry up and finish cleaning up the bath time and dinner mess? Of course! But, I’ll never regret reading that bedtime story to her one more time if she asks me to. My husband and I are also in a very chaotic season right now with our families and his work. He is working a ton of overtime and our families are tied up with things that don’t allow them to help us out with the kids as often as they used to. That being said, date nights are pretty much non-existent right now. So I would much rather spend 20 minutes laying on the couch with my him, catching up and talking about our days then stressing out about having tomorrow’s outfit picked out for our toddler. It’s just about doing what you can, and feeling good about it. Don’t forget- you do you!