Since I began my life two years ago as a working mother, I always knew my time would be even more precious than ever before. From bottles to briefcases, diapers to deadlines – I do it all. From the time that alarm clock goes off in the early morning to the time my head hits the pillow late at night, I am constantly on the go.
Keeping my family organized has not always been my strong suit. In fact, it took me quite a bit of trial and error before I was able to devise a routine that worked well for my busy family. Through my trials and tribulations as a working mother, I have come up with a few tips to simplify my daily routine and keep things more orderly and manageable.
Create a daily schedule. It may seem like a no-brainer, but having a schedule to help guide you and your family through the day makes such a big difference. From start to finish, have your day mapped out: work schedules, school hours, doctor’s appointments, meals, phone calls, and even cleaning and chores can all be placed on a family schedule. Print out your schedule and display prominently on your refrigerator so that everyone in the family can see it and be on the same page (or, utilize an online calendar service like Google Calendars if that works better for you). By mapping out the day, everyone is in-the-know about what to expect – thus reducing unnecessary stress and anxiety. Just be sure to allow for a few “unexpected surprises” to come your way. They always do.
Get help when you need it. So you’ve created your schedule, and now you realize that there is no way you’ll be able to accomplish everything that needs to be done. No worries – it happens. That’s when it’s time to pick up the phone, call a friend or relative, and ask for help. Delegation of tasks is a big part of simplifying your life, and there is no need to feel guilty about it. Mothers sometimes have the misconception that they should be able to handle everything that comes their way. Unfortunately, not only is that usually not the case, it is usually a recipe for failure. Sort your tasks and delegate certain ones that can be completed by someone else, such as lawn care maintenance (leave it to a professional or a young neighbor looking for an afterschool job), driving arrangements (join a carpooling group with other local mothers), and household cleaning (create a list of chores for other family members to help with).
Make time for yourself and your family. I know, it seems a little backwards, right? I already feel like I do not have enough time in a day to complete what needs to be done, and now I am supposed to make time? Trust me on this one. By allowing ourselves more down time or time to spend with our families, we can unwind, de-stress, and nourish our spirits. Taking time to recharge and regroup is a must in order to be at the top of your game the rest of the time. For me, this means “unplugging” at night and taking a couple of hours to play with my daughter and have a family dinner with her and my husband. For others, this may mean exercising, going to the salon, curling up with a good book, or some other type of pampering and self-care. Whatever you do, make sure that you do it regularly and make it a priority. When we take care of ourselves, we can better take care of others.
By creating a schedule and a routine for your family, you are setting yourself up for success, and personal and professional growth. Your simplified life will be much more manageable, and will surely leave you feeling refreshed, accomplished, and amazing!