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These 5 tips for getting more done as a stay at home mom are vital to keeping you sane in this insane journey of motherhood! I’m sharing my top 5 tips for getting more done every day…read on to find out how to add more time to your day.
5 Tips for Getting More Done as a Stay at Home Mom
Add More Time to Your Day
Don’t you just wish there was a way to add more time into each day? I know I do! I truly believe that if there were just 3-4 extra hours in each day then I could get so much more accomplished. But we all know the reality of that….right?
Extra time doesn’t come as extra “free” time….we seem to think that BECAUSE we have extra time we can add those extra 20 items to our list…..luckily, I have developed a system for getting more done in less time…or at least feel like I’m getting more done.
Start Doing Less
Yep, you read that right…start doing LESS. I know…this post is SUPPOSED to be about doing more but stay with me….I promise it’s worth it. One of the problems we have as stay at home moms is unrealistic expectations. We THINK that because we stay home with the kids we should be able to tackle more than our working mom counterparts. But here’s the fact….we actually have to do more but FEEL like we’re doing less.
Now, this is by means saying that working moms don’t have a TON to do or one is better than the other. Let’s face it….moms in general have WAY too much to do each day and we drive ourselves crazy trying to do it all. But let’s break it down…..
Stay at Home Moms are at home ALL day, EVERY day. Which means, our kids are making messes every single minute they’re awake. So, essentially you are cleaning and recleaning the messes they make ALL DAY LONG!
Add in the fact that you also have to find ways to keep the kids entertained all day….a bored child is dangerous to a mother’s sanity! Plus, you are also responsible for making 3 meals a day and snacks….if your kids are like mine snack time is ALL the time…seriously….I wish I could eat like them!
So what about naptime….if you’re one of the lucky ones out there….you probably get 1-2 hours of quiet peacefulness a day when you’re precious bundle of mess….err….joy…. is sleeping but that time is typically spent recouping yourself or cleaning up the messes that were made before naptime.
So, my rule of thumb is….no more than 5 items go on my list each day. Which brings me to tip #2….
Make a List
Sure, you’ve heard that a million times and you probably do it….but think about WHAT is on that list and be strategic about your list. Don’t put ‘Clean the House’ on your list….that is TOO MUCH and frankly quite overwhelming. You want to be very specific in your list making and don’t overestimate your time. That’s why I actually have two lists going at all times….my MUST DO list and my ‘IF there’s time” list.
The ‘IF there’s time’ list is a weekly list of projects I would like to complete around the house….this list consists of items like:
- Fold Laundry
- Put Away Laundry (you know you have a laundry chair too)
- Organize Toy Bins in Playroom
- Dust Living Room
- Wipe Down Baseboards
- Clean Toilets
- Clean Bathtubs
My regular TO DO list has simple actionable steps that I can do each day like:
- Grocery Shopping
- Load of Laundry
- Unload Dishwasher
The key to your regular TO DO list is to make sure the tasks are simple and specific. I know it doesn’t seem like much to say ‘Unload Dishwasher’ but if it’s not on my list then I don’t consider it priority and the dishes will sit there until I HAVE to unload it to get the dirty dishes out of the sink. Also, when putting ‘Do Laundry’ on your list….be specific as to WHAT laundry and how many loads.
You’ll get overwhelmed very easily if you put ‘Do Laundry’ on your list but realize you have 3 loads of laundry! To combat the laundry pile up I designate a load a day. I have this printed out and posted in the laundry room so my family knows….if they don’t have their clothes in the right hamper on the day of that load then they’ll have to wait a week or do it themselves (Hubs anyway….the kids are still too little to do their own but I plan to stick with this as they grow older).
This helps me clear up my mind for more interesting things….like books. Which brings me to the next tip….reading books on the go!
Books On Tape are a Thing Again!
Okay, so they’re not actually books on tape….I use Audible and it’s AMAZING! Before having children I used to read books all the time. I loved getting lost in a story or finding inspiration through other’s words or learning new techniques, etc. I just felt like a better person after reading a good book. Unfortunately with two preschoolers it’s next to impossible to find the time or energy to sit down and read anymore. I honestly can’t tell you what the last book I read was….I can tell you it was before the Hunger Games franchise!
One day I discovered podcasts and fell in love! Then I thought….well, if I like podcasts then I’ll give book recordings a try….and I’m totally hooked!
I love that I can pull up Audible on my phone, tablet, laptop, Echo, etc. and listen to a book while cleaning up after the kids, helping them with art projects, doing laundry, etc. In the last 2 months I’ve essentially “read” more books that I have in the last 6 years!
Take Time for Yourself
I know, I know…easier said than done…right?! But, as moms we HAVE to remember that we need to take care of ourselves too. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of ‘there’s too much to do around the house’ and we miss out on things that bring us joy. And, when you miss out on too many things that bring you joy it can spiral you down into a depression….trust me…I have first hand experience.
Our society isn’t big on talking about depression when it comes to stay at home moms. We’ve finally started embracing post partum depression but there’s still not much talk about regular depression. Most women think….”I’m not depressed, I’m not crying all the time or thinking bad thoughts”. But, depression doesn’t always manifest itself in thoughts of suicide or sadness….it can manifest itself as being tired, wanting to just stay home, not wanting to go out, finding excuses NOT to do things, it can manifest itself in anger or in anxiety.
Depression doesn’t always come off as depression and that’s why it’s so often overlooked. I realized I was suffering depression when I started finding reasons to stay home, I would cancel plans with friends because ‘the kids needed this or that’ but that wasn’t always true– they were usually the excuse. I became very negative and always assumed that everyone else was judging me or didn’t like me. I started spiraling downward without realizing it and one day I woke up crying because my life consisted of nothing other than taking care of the kids and house. I didn’t even realize that I had stopped participating in everything that brought me joy.
So, in addition to working with my doctor on finding a medicine that helps level me out I’ve started doing at least one thing a day that brings me pure joy. Whether that’s taking a bubble bath alone for 10 minutes or grabbing a drink with a friend at night…you have to get out- do something joyful- and take care of yourself. Which brings me to my final tip….
STOP and Enjoy the Kids
Who cares if your house is a mess? Who is seriously going to notice the cobwebs in the corner of the bathroom? Who’s going to shun you for not vacuuming your carpet every day? Is the dust on the mantle really going to bother your best friend if she comes by for coffee?
It’s so easy to get caught up in social media and looking at Pinterest to think that everyone has it together except you….but the truth is….all their crap is hiding right outside of the frame! I realized the other night as I was scrolling through a private Facebook group that we’re all terrified of looking bad but we’re all experiencing the same things! One mom wrote ‘anyone else feel like a bad housewife? I haven’t done the dishes in 3 days!’ and then at least 50 moms jumped on board talking about what they ‘haven’t done’ either and I could relate to ALL of them…here’s a few of the comments I’m sure you can relate to as well—
- Anyone else have to skip the first 3 stairs because it’s piled with junk to take upstairs?
- Who else has a chair full of clean clothes that they don’t want to fold or put away because it feels like a waste?
- Does anyone actually make their kids’ beds every day?
- Do you let the dishes soak overnight too? I’m on day 3 of a crusty casserole dish over here because I just don’t want to scrub it!
- I’m giving up and just keeping the door to the boys’ bathroom closed because it stinks and I don’t have time to clean it!
- Have you turned your dryer on more than twice to ‘knock the wrinkles’ out of clothes you plan on eventually folding?
- Why use an iron when you can just throw it in the dryer with a wet washcloth?
- If it says “Dry Clean Only” or “Hang Dry” I just don’t buy it…it’s too much trouble!
Share your thing below and let’s all support each other in NOT having to be a super mom….your kids already think you are SuperMom and that’s all that matters!