When I became pregnant 5.5 months postpartum with my second son, I had some moments of panic along the way.
Looping over and over in my mind was the thought, “How will I manage to get anything done with two babies less than 14 months apart?” I also have struggled with feeling like I’m doing nothing because there is no monetary benefit attached to my work. I think it goes without saying that stay at home (and work outside of the home) moms do all the things. Much of our work is unseen, especially by our children. Sometimes all that unseen work can feel quite overwhelming.
Dishes. Laundry. Sticky floors. Soccer practice. Art projects. Doctor appointments. Cooking meals. Grocery shopping. Dirty diapers.
Moms are superheroes.
Shortly after my first son was born, an acquaintance (who had no children) mentioned that they would love to stay home in their pj’s all day doing nothing. It didn’t feel like a compliment and those of us who stay home with our babies all day know that we do all the things.
But hi, I want to chat about streamlining for a second. What is streamlining? As a verb streamlining is defined as such: “to alter in order to make more efficient or simple.” (dictionary.com)
Glory hallelujah, I think that is now my favourite word in the dictionary. I want to share ways I streamline my days during the week.
Make Sleep A Priority. If you have very small children you are probably laughing right now. Hey, I get it! Sleep is a precious commodity in our home. My husband I both work hard to make sleep a priority. We sleep train, stick to a schedule with our kids and make it a habit to go to bed at a decent time. Sleep is sacred in our home. I don’t even open the front door between 12 and 3 (nap time. Sorry, come back later! When you only get so much free time each day, you understand how important it is to take advantage of that time to recharge yourself.
Did you know that lack of sleep has a direct negative impact on our cognitive functions? The Nation Sleep Foundation shares four ways sleep deprivation impairs cognition, here.
Prioritizing sleep can only have a positive impact on your ability to perform well during the day! Improved cognition, a stronger immune system, and more mental alertness are among some of the health benefits of good sleep habits. You’ll thank yourself later by making healthy sleep habits!
Get a Calendar. Get yourself a paper calendar you can hang somewhere easily visible. Write things on it! We have a calendar hanging on our refrigerator and at the beginning of the month we map out our schedule. I have found that it is beneficial to see the whole month laid out so I know what is coming. I struggle with anxiety and seeing things ahead of time helps with my anxiety. This calendar also diffuses A LOT of miscommunication between me and my husband. WIN!
Plan Ahead And Be Organized.. I’ll admit that I’m slightly obsessed with planning and organization. You know why? IT BRINGS ME PEACE. Obviously, I can’t plan everything but I do what I can to keep the chaos to a minimum around here. You can find our current daily routine HERE. Fun FACT: In my mid-twenties I was part of co-leading teams of college age students into foreign countries for volunteer work. I learned so much about the value of planning and preparation during that season of my life. I have a cleaning schedule attached to my fridge, food staples I know I can cook basic meals from and specific days of the week that I accomplish things like laundry and grocery shopping. I’m currently trying Mint budgeting to simplify our spending and see where our money is actually going. It’s free and so far, I really like it!
Stick To A Simple Routine. Implement simple things into your daily routine like washing your face, getting dressed etc. Try a capsule wardrobe for the whole family to simplify your laundry. If you have small children like I do, you know that anytime after 4pm can be complete chaos. Anything can happen. I’m talking everyone is fine one second and the next second someone (my toddler) is projectile vomiting on the floor or peeing in the fridge while the delivery guy is banging on the door and someone is calling my phone.
We have a flexible routine during the day but there are set things like outside time, meals and nap. Because my hardworking hubby does not have the luxury of set hours with his job, I’m often prepared to do our end of day deal on my own. And while it gets a little hairy at times, I stick to the same routine every night. This way the kids know what to expect (and battle bedtime way less) and I know I’m getting a break at some point!
Keep Clutter and Cleaning Simple. What I have found really helpful is having a clean home at the end of the day. So if I’m on my own, I’ll tidy what I can before I put babies to bed. If my husband is home, we tag team. One person deals with babies and the other tidies the house! Then we can sit down and enjoy some kid-free time at the end of our day with no cleaning involved.
Fun fact: When we bought our house last year, the elderly woman who lived here was essentially a hoarder. Forty years worth of things were packed into every nook and cranny in this home. We think that one of the reasons we were able to get this home at such a steal is because many buyers were scared by all her clutter. Clutter and mess can really slow down your day and impact your overall mood. Imagine all the minutes we spend trying to find something in our mounds of junk. Less really is more! I promise!
Get rid of the distractions. If there are things in your life that are weighing you down, chewing up precious time with your family and keeping you from creating a peaceful home environment, why not just get rid of those things? As I mentioned above, excess stuff can literally weigh you down. Or maybe you’re over scheduling yourself. Can too many playdates be a thing? I think so! How about social media? That is a HUGE one for me. In the recent months I’ve felt the need to scale back on my consumption of social media. I made the decision to get away from the two platforms I was using (Instagram and Facebook) because I saw how much more productive and present I was when I wasn’t on social media. It was a tricky decision because I use my Instagram to promote my blog but right now that is all I will use it for.
Maybe these seem like basic concepts. Well, I’m a basic kinda gal and I can appreciate fresh and simple perceptive, especially if it makes my life easier! What are some things that you practice to make your day go more smoothly, as a stay at home mama?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!