I often get asked the question, ‘how do you do it all?’ This always comes as a bit of a surprise to me. I don’t really think anything I’m accomplishing is all that grand. Clean(ish) home, kids organized and where they need to be on time, dinner on the table. I expect all of this of myself. And for my family. I often catch myself saying, ‘well my kids are at easier ages’ or ‘they are in school/camps, etc’ so I have the time to get everything in order. And yet, my days ran as such even when they were little babies. Maybe not as smoothly, but close enough.
A well run home has always been a priority for myself over the years, and I have been better at acknowledging what I do as accomplishments. Being a stay at home mom, well, you can get a little lost. It can be hard to feel productive. Does laundry count? Endless dishes? Beds made? Diapers changed? Yes. Yes. Yes. and Yes. It all counts. Just as tasks or goals are met at work, tasks met in the home are just. as. important. Your time matters. Your chores matter. Your home matters.
So what are my tricks. What keeps the day moving smoothly around here and also makes me feel proud at how I choose to allocate my time. Being reflective of these things can help sort where you may need to shift around ideas or priorities. I can honestly say, with my list below, most days I end incredibly content. Do hiccups occur? My goodness, of course. Everything can’t be planned or scheduled. But having sort of a guideline established for what needs to happen for yourself in order to feel like you’ve had a great day is a wonderful place to start.
- Say no more than you say yes. Social plans and obligations can creep up on me more than I’d prefer. I find that I feel much more filled up when I commit to plans that are meaningful with small groups that include people in my inner circle. Everything else just sort of feels like nonsense to me. This has taken me some time to perfect of course, and there is a layer of guilt that can go into all of this. But remind yourself that YOU choose your obligations and commitments. Be in control here.
- I spend at least ten minutes a day with my planner. This helps me focus on what I need to accomplish day by day, obligations (birthdays, events, etc) that are coming up that I may need to plan a gift and card for, the general schedule for the day, calls I may need to make, and so on and so forth. When I can get all of these mundane tasks and appointments out of my head and into my planner it frees up space in my mind that helps be more present throughout my day with my kids.
- Get a workout in, preferably in the morning. I have never compromised on this one, even when the kids were little. Since Beckett would not do gym day care (it was a beyond epic scene) my answer for a few years with him were long hilly walks in the stroller. Now that he’s way more independent (we got there!) I am able to go on a run alone or get to my Orange Theory class which has been life changing for me in more ways than I can say. I feel like I can conquer the world after a workout, and that’s a great way to set the tone for the day ahead.
- Have dinner planned. This comes from a deep desire of needing to provide and feed my family. It keeps me calm knowing I have all the ingredients I need in the fridge to make everyone a great meal at the end of the day.
- Talk to my mom or a really close friend. I am not one to chat on the phone that much, at all. But I do find that I feel great checking in with my mom or one friend a day just to make a connection outside of the social media/texting world. Actual conversations are great and fill me up.
- Have blank space for what matters most. This can very from person to person. For me, being able to bring a meal to a friend who is sick or sad, hanging out with my favorite preschooler Eden, making plans to host a nice dinner for friends. All these things fill me up and I never want my schedule to be so full that I forget how important these things are to me. If I have to rearrange something a bit for what matters, I’m more than happy to do so.
- Laundry everyday! Washed, dried, folded, and put away. An incredibly simple way to feel productive around the home. It’s not a little thing. It’s providing and loving your family.
- Punctuality is everything. It goes against every single fiber in my body to be late. I can’t stand the message it sends: my time is more important than yours. I take this to the extreme. In my town, we have a freight train line that runs through quite frequently. When I need to go through town I 100% plan that I am going to hit a freight train every. single. time. It’s just how I operate. If I’m ever late, the guilt hangs with me. I rather just avoid that feeling all together.
- A tidy home! Aside from our play room (disaster), the home is picked up daily. Counters wipes, trash removed, dishes put away, and so on and so forth. I can’t focus in mess.
- Time to work on A Life From Scratch. This is my own personal space, and I love it! Having a long block of writing time is pretty rare for me. Most days I am just winging it here and there, but keeping up with it as best as I can is a wonderful creative outlet for me. The longer writing blocks are a major bonus and something I cherish.
- Plan and complete small organizational projects around the home. It’s never ending, right? Just when you finish one project your little one has grown a foot and nothing fits in his closet. Time to redo that, yet again. I’ve found if you plan small projects it really helps things run more smoothly overall. I like to set goals for two projects a month. Nothing overwhelming, but having a ‘deadline’ increases the chance of it actually happening.
- An on time bedtime, both for the kids and myself. Sleep is beyond important in our home. I like to clock in around eight hours and make that a priority for myself all nights that I am able. Th absolute best way to prep for the next day ahead.
So there you have it. Items that help me accomplish a day that I can feel proud of. Now, it’s time to get a load of laundry going…