As a busy mom of three young boys, I sometimes feel like I’m drowning. I deal with crisis after crisis, and I never seem to actually get anything checked off of my to-do list. However, I recently read a good blog post about living in “survival mode” here. The tips were good—I used many similar suggestions during the most stressful times of my life. But the last item on the list really hit home for me. When is it time to get back to thriving? After a month (or three) of struggling after our recent move to Ohio, I decided it was time for our family (and myself) to THRIVE. Here are a few things that helped me get organized and make my time work for me.
Plan Your Meals
We have a two week dinner rotation. I have about 20 meals I swap in and out each rotation. Every other Tuesday, I make a meal plan and grocery list, and the following Wednesday I do the shopping. This method takes some up-front planning time, but it is a lifesaver on those busy days when I would be trying to scrape something together for my family to eat with what’s left in the pantry. It’s also good for your budget! Unscheduled trips to the grocery store usually mean spending more than you need to!
Find (part-time) Childcare
We live far from our extended family (most military families do). If your parents, siblings, or in-laws can watch your kids once or twice a week, that is awesome! Take advantage of it! As for myself, I found an affordable Mother’s Day Out program near our home. Many churches have one. Every Wednesday my kids go to play and I do the shopping or take some time for myself.
Get Chores Under Control
I made a list of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks I needed to accomplish, and I divided them throughout the day or week evenly. Plan to suit your family’s needs. I stay at home with the kids, so I do most of the household chores. For you, it might mean splitting the chores more evenly with your partner! There is one habit that helps me tremendously: do the dishes and police the kitchen every night. When I wake up, I don’t feel like I’m starting behind and I can make breakfast knowing I have a place to put my (and the kids’) cereal bowl(s).
Make Time For Yourself
Get a haircut. Read a book. Watch a movie. Take a nap. Recharge yourself—every day in small pieces of time, and at least a few hours one day a week. When you take care of yourself, you are less stressed and less likely to freak out over the latest spill or the 4th “accident” that day.
What ways do you make your time work for you?