I’ve asked some of the most productive ladies I know how they run their household smoothly. Here are 9 habits of a productive stay-at-home-mom.
Momming ain’t easy which is why we need every trick in the book. Today, I’m sharing 9 habits of a productive stay-at-home mom to help you get more done with the time you have.
Wake Up Early
I value my sleep. I do. In fact, I actually have to take a sedative at night that leaves me groggy in the morning. But I’ve discovered something since being a stay-at-home mom. Getting up before the kids makes a big difference in my attitude for the day.
If I’m woken up by them, it often leads me to be being in a rotten mood. I’m still trying to wake up and struggling to make that first cup of coffee when toddler requests are being made in rapid succession. No one wants to wake up to a needy toddler or to the sound of a crying baby. Think of it as being gentle with yourself.
I always found that if I was able to have some peace and quiet first thing in the morning, my whole day is better. Wouldn’t it be nice to drink your coffee while it is hot? Whether you spend that time in prayer or a morning shower, having those few minutes to yourself while you wake up helps you ease into your day. If you feel like you’re always waking up on the wrong side of the bed, you might want to try simply getting up before your babies.
Write It Down
When you are a stay-at-home mom it is very easy for the weekdays to blend together. Organized mamas will tell you the importance of writing things down. When I first became a stay-at-home mom I thought I wouldn’t be that busy and would be able to keep everything organized in my head. But just a few months into this full-time job I realized I couldn’t keep things straight. I constantly double-booked myself, couldn’t remember things I needed from the store and forgot about appointments altogether. Trying to manage the schedules of an entire family can lead to a lot of stress, especially if you are disappointing others by your disorganization.
For me, I use a Happy Planner. You can read all about how this decorative planner helped me in the post, “How Happy Planner Changed My Life.” Maybe you don’t care for a planner. Some moms opt for a command center. While others are list makers. Even a wall calendar can help manage tasks, but write down the things you need to remember. I promise it will save you lots of headaches in the long run. And fewer headaches means less stress for you! You are also more likely to complete your goals when you write them down.
They Create Routines
You may have found that keeping up with housework is a lot more challenging than you thought. Kids and their needs often put a halt on the things that need to get done. But you can make things run more smoothly by creating routines that both you and your kids know. For example, one of the first things I do in the morning is to start a load of laundry in the washer. Doing at least one load a day ensures that I won’t get overwhelmed by the laundry. I also, do certain types of laundry for each day of the week. For example, Saturday is bed linen day. All the beds get stripped, washed and changed. Doing that ensures that the bed linen will never go more than seven days without being cleaned.
You can implore this method for each of your chores. For instance, I wash dishes every evening before bed so I don’t wake up to a dirty kitchen. I take out the trash every morning while my coffee is brewing and clean the microwave every Friday. My cleaning is on a regular schedule and it isn’t just good for me. It also helps the kids know what to expect at any given time. You can save time and brainpower by relying on routines.
They Teach Their Kids to Help
Good bosses delegate tasks and that is exactly what you are. As a stay-at-home mom, the responsibility of running a household falls squarely on your shoulders. That’s why it is so important to ask for help. Younger children love to help and this is the best time to start training them to pick up after themselves. Even my four-year-old scrubs the toilet and puts his clothes in the drawers when I’ve folded them. He knows to throw his food in the trash and put his clothes in the hamper. I even get my twenty-month-old to helps switch clothes out of the washer and dryer. You’d be surprised what your kids will do if you create the habit of making them help. You can make it fun, by using a reward chart or chore chart so they feel accomplished.
Some days, I get creative and make chores into a game or competition. Like I try to see who can pick up all the clothes the fastest. The first child who wins gets a cookie with lunch (yeah, I’m not above bribery). I can tell you, picking up after a whole family isn’t fun. Delegate.
Just because you have kids doesn’t mean you have to be late to events. I’m rarely, if ever, late to an event even with two kids to get ready. My secret? I prepare the day before. As part of my evening routine, I prepare the diaper bag for the next day. Check the weather. I get clothes ready for the next day, particularly if we have an important event. I’ll gather the things I’m going to need and put them by the door. In the case of large events, I may even pack the car in advance. I make it as easy and as stress-free as possible. There is nothing more anxiety-inducing than rushing to leave the house or forgetting the thing you were supposed to bring. Do yourself a favor, prepare.
They Take Care of Themselves
Moms get crumbs. It’s okay to put your kids before yourself. Sometimes it’s necessary and it’s part of being a good parent. However, we also shouldn’t forget about ourselves. Productive moms know that you must take care of yourself so you can take care of others. If you are burning the candle at both ends, over time there will be nothing left to burn. Little will get done if you are dragging all day.
At some point, you need to remember to take some time out for yourself, even if it is just for a few minutes a day. Whether it is taking a hot, long soak in the tub or getting some alone time, make sure you find some way to recharge. If you are really struggling to make a habit of taking care of yourself, I highly recommend my 30 Day Wellness Challenge. Remember, even moms need a work-life balance.
Stay Off Devices
Phones, tablets, computers, and TVs are time burglars. It is so easy to get caught up in a Facebook newsfeed or a sucked into one of your favorite shows. Before you know it, time is lost. Valuable time. Time that could be spent with your babies. Time that could be spent getting chores done. We almost always spend more time on our devices than we originally intended.
Take it from me, friend. A digital detox is amazing for what it can do for your mental health and productivity. Put the phone down. Put the devices down and be present. Be mindful. Your kids notice if you are always on a device and not with them. Take a look at my two posts Living Without Likes: How I Broke Up With Facebook and 30 Day Social Media Detox. Every now and then I take a break from social media and it’s always refreshing and time-saving.
Schedule Tasks for The Right Time of Day
This may sound too simple, but I think its an underestimated point. It is mentally and physically exhausting to do things that require concentration while both my kids are full of energy in the morning. Over the years, I’ve become better about carefully scheduling when to do certain tasks.
For example, my youngest son loves to unfold the laundry I just folded. So, I don’t do it while he is awake. I do it during his naptime. Also, during naptime, I do things that require my full attention like balancing the checkbook, paying bills or making phone calls. During the summer, I do my outdoor chores, while the kids can play in the cool hours of the day. It’s a win for both of us. I do my errands in the morning while the kids’ attitude is still fresh and peppy. Picking the right chore at the right time will take some of the frustration out of your day.
They Automate What They Can
When I think back to my grandmother’s days, I feel like a total wimp. My grandmother was incredibly productive with six children. These days, we have it much easier, which is why we should try to take advantage of the conveniences that are available to us.
I save so much time now that my grocery store offers online ordering and curbside delivery. Even places like Target and Sam’s Club are offering it. I’ve learned to go to the website of stores to see if they show items that are in stock before I make a wasted trip. I set up lots of our bills on recurring automatic payments. I set up monthly prescriptions on automatic refills. I save money and time by using Amazon’s subscribe and save. I automate as much of my life as I possibly can. Take advantage of modern-day conveniences.
There are lots of ways to get things done and parent at the same time. It isn’t always easy which is why you need to be clever about how you go about your day. I’d love to hear from you and the things you do to stay productive.