Before I became a mom I thought I was fantastic at time management… that is until I had 90% of my free time taken away from me to care for my amazing, albeit time consuming daughter. That’s the way it should be too, babies need love and time, and lots of it. Since I chosen to have a career at home so I can stay at home with Bella, I have a new mountain to conquer. That mountain is how the heck to be productive while taking good care of my child.
I’m convinced that every mom knows what this feels like. If we could have our own staff of personal robots to do all of the time consuming, mundane, day-to-day stuff we don’t want to, we’d live like queens! However, for most of us, that is not the case… at least for a few years, and even then Terminator is pretty well ingrained in my mind so who knows if I’ll even purchase a staff of personal robots.
There are days where if I get my teeth brushed and only a little bit of spit-up on me, I have conquered Mount Everest. I mean seriously, half the time right now I look like I need a team of cosmetologists just to get me back to normal (who else knows this feeling?! ha!). So in a season of life where there is barely any time to get basic hygiene items taken care of, how on earth can I manage a business, and a house, let alone take care of a child.
Daunting. Frustrating. Down right tiring. Right?! Isn’t it so easy to feel like this? I know I look at my to-do list and see things on it from before Bella was born that I’m still trying to get done! I’m looking at you music album that I wanted to finish. Stop glaring at me. I’m trying to get to you! *cue eye roll*
So how do you do it? How do you be super mom and do everything? It’ll take more time than normal to get things done because you’re spending every waking second feeding your child, helping them walk, talk, play, get to school, stay healthy, bathing them, play dates, etc. I mean the list is never-ending. After being tossed about in the waves of motherhood for the first couple of months I decided to get proactive. My business mind took over for half a second and I began to figure out ways that I could both be a stay at home mom and run my own business. Disclaimer: I’ve been a mom for 4 months so I don’t pretend to know everything. These are the tips and tricks that have worked for me so far.
Every morning I get up, I put on some praise music, read a bit in my Bible, and pray over my day. If I can be real, sometimes this is the hardest part of my day because it doesn’t “need” to get done. However I find when I don’t do it things tend to unravel quickly. There’s something about starting the day off in peace that sets the tone for the rest of the day. When I do this I am much more productive than I would normally be.
2. To-Do List
I’ve always been a fan of the to-do list, but now that I’m a mom I am even more attached to it. If I don’t write things down, it will get forgotten. There is too much on my mind at any given moment and without a little reminder I inevitably forget little things that need to be done through-out the day. Plus, there is nothing more fulfilling than crossing something off that list. Some people even do schedules. Organization is key. One thing that works for me is a “me” to-do list. I complete everything on that list first and then move on to my business and home to-do lists. The “me” to-do list has things on it like take a shower, get dressed, make breakfast, etc.
Prioritization has never been a strong suit of mine. I can tend to fall into the whole being busy for busy’s sake mentality, not good for getting things done. Bella has forced me to choose that which is most important and focus on those things. In my business and personal life I had to cut off the fat and streamline in order to get the things that needed to be done, done. It was oddly freeing to not be bogged down by so much excess, and now I’m able to feel a lot more productive because there’s unnecessary things that take up my time.
4. Throw Money at It
I know this is not a normal piece of advice. However if there is something that I’m not good at, or is taking up too much of my time I will try and hire someone to do it for me. Obviously this doesn’t work for everything, and I don’t always have the money to do this, so I’ll just soldier on through in those cases. But, Will and I try to always have some money saved up for these kinds of instances in our businesses, because for me time is worth more than money. So if a problem is taking up way too much time for me to do it myself and I can throw money at it to easily and quickly solve it, that’s exactly what I do.
5. Meal Planning
This helps me out tremendously. What I like to do is to prepare everything on Sunday minus the actual cooking part. I measure everything out, and chop everything up, doing all the prep work on Sunday so that when it comes time to cook later in the week I just throw it in the pan or oven and there you go. For me the prep work is the most time consuming. The actual cooking part takes no time at all. I know people who even do the cooking on the weekends and just heat stuff up or eat it cold the rest of the week. Friends of mine will also make a menu and shop once a week, but wait until the actual day to prep and cook. Whatever floats your boat.
This one has two parts. First off, I don’t do everything myself, my husband and I split the work. It doesn’t all fall on me or all fall on him. We each do our part in managing our home.The second thing I try to do is clean one thing every day, and so does Will. That way everything in our house is in a state of decency at the very least. It helps me to do a little bit every day instead of a lot on one day.
7. Involve the Kids
Why not include the kids to help get that gardening done or the laundry or (when age appropriate) cook dinner? It’s great because they learn valuable life skills and you get help. Everyone pitches in and takes care of the home. For me, since I have a 4 month old I’ll put her in her bouncer or in her Ergo baby carrier and off to do the chores. She loves it, and it gives me two free hands to get some stuff done.
8. Use Your Technology
I can’t tell you how many times I was nursing Bella and writing a blog post, or budgeting, or sending an email, or what have you. I have to make every little moment count as a mom, and so when I have moments when I can do two things at once I take advantage of them. About a month ago Bella came down with a little cold and so it was, as we say “naps on mom” all day for a week. Poor thing didn’t feel good laying down in her crib and just wanted to snuggle. Love snuggling with my sweet girl, however it’s hard to get anything done when that happens. I was so thankful for my iPad… lifesaver. I was able to keep on going without missing a beat. Also, fast wifi. It’s a must.
9. Take Time for Rest
Finally, rest. This is so important. When I am overworked, overstressed, and overtired as a mom nothing else gets taken care of well or quickly. I know this seems counter-intuitive, but a rested mind and soul are a blessed mind and soul. I think and act my best when I’m well rested. If I need to take a break, I do. There’s nothing wrong with that. Oftentimes in the effort to be supermoms we can run ourselves into the ground and then everyone suffers. If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Sometimes we’ve got to take naps. Somedays we have to go out and have fun and slow down for a second. There are days when we need to do nothing but play with our kiddos. All of this is wonderful and will in the long run help productivity.
How do you manage time? Moms, how do you juggle family and work in a way that blesses you? Any tips?