There’s a HUGE misconception that, as moms, we need to do it all, all the time, by ourselves, or else we’re failing. And, while this simply isn’t true, the pressure is still there, and it’s very real. The pressure to “do it all” (kids, housework, jobs, exercise, cooking, “losing” the baby weight, etc.) can make us feel a variety of emotions ranging from feeling overwhelmed or like a failure, to having things under control most of the time, to feeling like Superwoman.
Lessons and Learning for Littles was created with busy moms in mind. I wanted a place to share ideas and help other parents and caregivers teach their little ones at home, before they go to preschool or kindergarten. My goal is for parents and caregivers to see that we don’t need fancy gadgets to help prepare our little ones for their futures because infants, toddlers, and preschoolers learn best through play and discovery-based activities, all of which can be done at home.
But, anyone who’s spent some time with young children knows that they require a lot of attention and time. This is fine for a little bit, but, let’s be real. We all have things we need to do too, so as much as we might like to, we can’t spend ALL our time playing with our kids. So, how can we “do it all” and make it “all” happen? I asked 6 busy moms, moms just like you and me, to share their #1 tip for making it “all” happen, with little ones around, and here’s what they had to say:
Owner at Fixed on Food
For me it’s all about prioritizing. There are few things you absolutely HAVE to do- and making sure that you’re on that list somewhere is important. I know that working out makes me a better mom and wife so I make sure I get it done. On weekdays that means waking up a little earlier than everyone else. And on weekends that means including my little on the journey- walk, bike ride, trip to the park. Whatever it takes to get us moving.
I’m also a firm believer in living with a “less than” mentality. Your house doesn’t HAVE to be spotless all the time- you’re raising kids! It’s ok to have toys on the floor and create meals from boxes and bags and cans- or even better, ask your spouse to help with whatever it is that needs to get done. Whether it’s sweeping the floor or making sure supper gets in the crockpot, it DOES NOT HAVE TO FALL ON YOU EVERY TIME. Pick what matters the most and start there. Once you create a comfy routine, add something else if you want to or can. Just remember that NO one does it all. That means you shouldn’t try to, either.
Stacey Dimmler is a Mom of a 2.5 year old girl and wife of a helicopter EMT pilot, leaving her quite often “in charge.” She works a full time job and is also creating a side business where she empowers women to overcome food obsessions with sensible solutions from personal experience. She prefers a “hilarity” approach to parenthood and life and a huge advocate for Moms to put themselves first more often.
Owner of Live, Love, and Flourish
My number one tip for all those times when we’re struggling to “get it all done” is to first remember that we’re not superhuman. We lead busy, chaotic lives, and when we strive for perfection in every way possible, something has to give. We have to choose what matters most to us, and start focusing our time and energy there first.
I also find it helpful to jot down a quick to-do list each night before bed- just a short list of 3-5 simple tasks to complete the next day. That way, when we wake up in the morning, we’re already focused on what we’ve given priority to, and we know exactly where to spend our time and energy whenever the moment arises throughout the day. This way, at the end of the day, we feel like we’ve actually made some progress and aren’t just spinning our wheels anymore.
Shelly Levine: Motherhood and Lifestyle Coach at Live Love and Flourish
Or visit us at www.liveloveandflourish.com
Owner at Imperfect Mom
As moms we will always have full plates. There’s never enough time, energy, or caffeine to get us through the daily to-do list. When whining kids are added to that, screaming for our attention, we tend to feel like everything is out of balance.
I often hear moms in this downward spiral tell me “I’m just trying to find the balance.”
My response: as long as we are looking, it will always be out of reach. Instead of desperately trying to find that balance, I like to show mommies how to create it.
That balance is created by actively making two small changes to daily routines:
- Before taking time to play with the kids (which should happen daily) let them know how long you’ll be able to be part of the activity and why you can’t stay for an hour. Letting them know ahead of time will help minimize the whining and prepare them to play alone while you move on to your next task.
- Minimize distractions. Some distractions are inevitable (the kid who needs help going potty, the dog who needs to be let outside, or the cup of milk that was just spilled), others are not necessary and can wait. Scheduling things like social media time, email time, and texting time helps to minimize the constant interruptions of various notifications and allows you to be present wherever you may be.
By minimizing distractions and letting kids know when you will be present, and for how long, they are more likely to be content with the time you offer them, giving you more time to tackle the rest of the to-do list.
Owner at A Mom Moment
My Color Coded Life
I am a creature of habit. I like waking up each morning and being able to anticipate what the day will bring. If I were to describe my day to day in two words, it would be COLOR CODED.
Each point of my day is either personal, work, home, school or social. Some may say this is no way to live. Where’s the spontaneity? Where’s the fun? But that’s just it, I love this way of living.
I find great comfort knowing that I am in control of my schedule. Sure, life is going to throw some curve balls every now and then, a sick child, canceled school, a late appointment but we adjust.
Leading up to each week I brainstorm what activities the kids and I will do, how those will fit around naps and any important appointments and/or meetings. I then pepper in personal activities where time permits. I don’t meal prep but I do plan what we will have for dinner each night only because I hate going to the grocery store every day. I also schedule in time for house chores and take full advantage of nap time as work time. Very rarely do I ever schedule anything for the evenings (after kids are in bed) because that time has become sacred time for my husband and I and fitting in some self-care.
This lifestyle isn’t for everyone. I invest a lot of energy ensuring that the week is planned and staying the course. I’ve had to become comfortable with saying no to activities/invitations that don’t “fit” our schedule. For our family, it just works.
Krystin Pearl, founder of A Mom Moment, believes every mama deserves to find some sort of balance amongst all of life’s little luxuries. Whether these luxuries be travel, a long hike or a night out on the town she reveals simple ways to do them all while still being an awesome mom. Want to know more about A Mom Moment? Follow me on Facebook or Instagram.
Owner at Real Strong Mom
I am a stay at home/work at home mom with three little ones ages 7,5, & 3 and managing my time well is a major priority. I am a very organized person and when life gets chaotic and disorganized, this mama gets stressed out!
The number one tool that I use to manage my time well is a schedule. I have had my kids and my family on a set schedule/routine since my very first baby was born. We do EVERYTHING at the same time every single day. My kids wake up, nap, and go to bed at the same time every day. We also eat breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner at the same time. The best thing about having a set schedule is that everyone knows what to expect, there are no surprises in our day, and the kids always know what is going to happen next. Also going to bed and waking up at the same time helps reduce tantrums and meltdowns.
There is one other thing that I do daily to make sure that I get my ME time, I wake up before my kids. I wake up really early every day to exercise, shower, and have a moment of peace before anyone else is awake in my home. It is amazing! I would highly suggest this to anyone who wants to start their day with a moment of sanity and some time to relax and recharge before the chaos starts.:-)
Owner at Literally Healthy with Kande
I’ve given it some serious thought and realized that I don’t “have it all”, but I have enough of everything to make me happy in this moment of my life. I have 4 girls under 7, a military family and all that entails and I have an unfortunate habit of staying busy.
My method for dealing with everything is to do a little bit every single day and to focus on only one thing at a time. 10 minutes of cleaning or studying or exercising every day is worth so much more than hours of frantic activity once a week, or month.
And, there you have it! 6 different ways to make it “all” happen, from 6 different ambitious and busy moms.
But, wait! What do I do? I’m glad you asked… 😉
I actually see a bit of myself in all these strategies, either now, or at other stages of motherhood. Setting a timer is working really well for us right now. This helps keep all of us focused on the task at hand, reminds me to follow through with a request while I’m working, and helps set limits and boundaries. Plus, we can always “race” and try to beat the timer.
During the day, I try to include the kids in as much as I can. Sometimes, that means helping me sort socks and fold clothes, but other times, that means playing or working on their own quiet activities while I complete a task nearby. When I need time to work without “help” from my little ones, I tell them beforehand and make sure they know what they’re expected to do (something fun, but not something they need me for).
I also do my best to make helping out around the house as fun as possible. When the laundry piles up and we’ve been pulling clean clothes out of a laundry basket for too long, we play a game to see who can put their clothes away the fastest. The kids get to take turns choosing which parent is on their team and we “race” to be done the quickest.
It’s such a balancing act, isn’t it? But, I find it fascinating how we all find our own ways to make “doing it all” work for us and our families. I encourage you to try out these strategies to help you find balance in the juggling act that is motherhood. Start with the one that resonated the most with you or the strategy that seems the easiest to implement. Let me know how it goes! Join the Facebook conversation here. 🙂
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