30 Days to an Organized Life Day 20
As we have continued the 30 Days Challenge I have received a couple of questions from moms of young children about how to organize when life is so busy taking care of littles.
Reader B. writes:
“I have been a reader for about two years and I love your blog. I have been blessed by your food prep ideas, meal planning and organizing tips. I really love how you talk about taking small steps to reach your goals. I am wondering though, what advice you would give someone with young children.
I have four children ages 14 months to 8 years and I homeschool so they are with me all day. I know that you have teenagers so your expectations of what you can accomplish in a day might be more attainable (maybe not…) than someone with small children. So I am wondering what advice you would give someone who wants to organize their home but may not have the time or energy to do it as often.”
First of all, I completely understand where you are because I had four children ages five and under (read more about that here) and life was a tad bit crazier!
Different seasons of life require different strategies and you are correct that what I can accomplish with teens is vastly different than what you can accomplish with little ones. When I was in the stage with little people at my feet all of the time I tried to lower my expectations as much as possible. My goal was to enjoy, love and train my children. I did find a few strategies that helped me maintain my peace and joy during that time.
Make a Plan
To keep the house running smoothly I kept life as simple as possible. Each week I made a simple meal plan made up of easy recipes (slow cooker meals are your friends!) and each morning I checked the menu to see if I needed to thaw anything for later in the day.
I worked from a weekly plan that divided my day into segments and routines. (You can see that Preschool Mom’s Helper here and print a copy for yourself.) Having a plan reduces a tremendous amount of stress and children respond best to some structure in their lives.
Clean As You Go
In order to prevent overwhelm it is essential to clean a little bit throughout the day. When my kids were small I would quickly clean up the dishes after breakfast and lunch while everyone was still sitting at the table. A quick “10 Minute Tidy” a couple of times a day can keep the house from being overrun with piles of toys and clothes — and teaching your children to pick up after themselves is an important life skill.
Your “to do” list is going to have to be very short. If the laundry gets washed and dried and the kids put it in the drawers unfolded – don’t worry about it.
Take Care of Yourself
Your number one priority needs to be taking care of yourself so that you can meet the demands of this busy time in your family’s life. You need to be very intentional about getting sufficient sleep which means you will probably have to cut out staying up late after the kids go to bed. A tired mom is a grumpy mom and you need to be refreshed when you wake up.
Going to bed on time doesn’t mean that you can’t have any fun. Try to do something you love at least once a day during the kids’ naptime or for a few minutes after dinner while your husband gives the kids a bath. Trade babysitting with a friend or neighbor so you can enjoy some time alone. You might try to find a homeschool family with older children who can help you once or twice a week as a volunteer opportunity.
It is also important to have a weekly date with your husband to keep your connection strong. Dates don’t have to cost a lot of money (see my 43 $10 Date Ideas here) and you can enjoy a quiet evening at home after the kids are asleep if you don’t have babysitting.
Life with young children can be intense but remember that your primary job is to take care of yourself and make those babies feel loved! As the older mamas told me when I was in that stage, this season passes quickly when you look back on it.
Today’s Task 1: Take 10-15 minutes to create a Daily Routine for your household. Use the Preschool Mom’s Helper here as a guide.
Do you have ideas for moms with young children? Leave a comment or a link below.
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Elise Kline Christopherson says
This is a great reminder. I especially think its important to take some time for yourself. I make sure that during the afternoon everyone takes a “quiet time” and I get a good 45 minutes by myself. I make sure I do something that makes me happy (usually its sitting with a Diet Coke and watching an episode of The Office). It helps make even the worst days better 🙂
The Peaceful Mom says
YES! That is exactly what I am talking about Elise. 🙂