The number one question I get asked repeatedly is how do I manage my time, particularly as a working mom.
And I have to say, it hasn’t been easy. And the truth is I don’t always. There’s a lot of days that are complete chaos. I mean school schedules, meetings, play dates, projects, homemade meals, date nights, working out, cleaning the house… the responsibilities never end. I’ve been an entrepreneurial working mom since day 1 which means my mind never shuts off and I bring all my work home with me. So I’ve got a few tricks that have saved me my sanity and allowed me to have more joyfully present time for each “thing” I’m doing. I think you might find it helpful too.
1. Make a list of to-do’s: Plan, prioritize and schedule your needs, wants and musts. Sadly once I had kids I lost any opportunity to spontaneously fit something in. Legit, if it’s not on my schedule, it’s not happening. So I highly suggest scheduling everything (if it’s important to you) right down to your workouts, nail appointments and date night. Those are three things that if aren’t scheduled are the first to go. However, those three things make me feel good. And when I feel good, I show up as a better employer, wife and mother. Just saying! And most likely if it’s true for me, it’s true for you too. So schedule everything!
I’m an old school pen and paper gal. But I also use an app (Timetree) on my phone and my favorite part of this app is it synchs to my husband’s phone AND most importantly I can set an alarm to remember to pick up my kids. As a mom of 4, one of my biggest fears is forgetting a kid somewhere. It hasn’t happened yet and I credit my phone alarms. Because I can very often lose track of time doing all the things.
Two things to note here:
I cross my personal schedule with my work schedule because I am very often switching back and forth from mom mode to work mode. This is how I ensure nothing falls through the cracks (most of the time). Real life mom here – it happens!
And the Timetree app allows me to have separate schedules (like family, my physical therapy clinic team, my patient appointments, my network marketing team). For example, in the family schedule that both my husband and I have access to, we enter things like school activities, dentist appointments, baseball games, etc. Pretty much anything that my husband and I both need to be aware of goes here. Bonus is, when I enter it in to the calendar, I don’t have to remember to tell my husband because he gets a notification. And if I want I can set it up to send him reminders. GENIUS! (I could go on and on here about Timetree – maybe I should do a separate post about how our family uses it? Would you like that?)
2. Go to bed early and get up early: I wake up at 5am every day that way I can do all my own things to prepare for the day before I wake up my first kid at 7am. If I wake up any later, it’s chaos and I feel rushed and stressed and that sets a tone for the day that I prefer to not roll with. I want to feel great inside and out, refreshed and ready for the day. So I wake up early, review my schedule, fit a workout in, shower, get dressed and enjoy a cup of coffee while packing lunches all by myself and it’s heavenly.
3. Set routines: So just like my own routine I mentioned above, my kids also have routines. They know when they wake up, they need to make their beds, get dressed, brush their teeth and wash their face, make breakfast and relax a bit with a book or draw before heading off to school. Do what works for you but remember, it’s important to be in control of how your morning goes and the kids. They will feel ready or stressed simply by having or not having a routine they are used to and follow. This was a game changer for my kids not whining in the morning and me not having to yell. AMEN for that!
4. Delegate/Ask for help: Whether it’s your partner, babysitter, house cleaner, your kids, your parents, friends…. Have systems in place. My kids pick up their own rooms and toys daily, my hubby takes care of assisting night time routines with the kids and fix it projects, laundry switch over, garbage days, and homework. My point here is there is NO REASON why you should do it alone because you can’t live the happy, healthy, wealthy and whole life that you deserve if you try to. So ask for help sister!
5. Prep: I prep on Sunday’s and each night. I do as much as I can to go into the week feeling prepared with lunches and meals planned out and like I know the basic overview of the weeks events. And then I prep each night anything I can like the kids bag for the next day or reminder notes for anyone who may be assisting me.
6. Let go of the guilt: Even with using this awesome system I outlined above, you are still going to at time feels guilty. It’s like mom code or something and it sucks. So, here’s your reminder to not waste a precious minute of your time focusing on what you screwed up, missed, or wish you did better. And please, please, please for heaven’s sake stop comparing yourself to those other moms who you think have it all together. I promise you, they don’t. And don’t worry about what your mom or mother in law thinks. There is no way more important than YOUR way. You get one shot at this life, so whether you’re a stay at home mom, working mom or somewhere in between, just aim to show up each day a little better than you did the day before. You’ve got this mama. I’m rooting for you!