Being a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM) is absolutely the busiest job I’ve ever had. I was recently telling my husband that I think I am busier now between balancing my online endeavors and being a mom than I ever was when I was going to school full time and simultaneously working a full-time job. Some people think being a SAHM is laying around binging Netflix all day and those people do not have a clue (just keeping it real here.) I was able to get a little Netflix in when my son was a newborn and was breastfeeding often, but these days it is go go go constantly. And trying to find time for myself or my passions is a challenge. I certainly don’t get to read as many books as I used to and most days I’m so busy I forget to shower or eat. But I’ve recently figured out a few strategies to utilize my time better and still feel accomplished at the end of the day.
Use a Planner
This might seem silly to some since I don’t have any meetings to get to or a traditional job to attend, but let me tell you there is a lot going on here! My weeks get crammed up before I know it between doctors appointments, the grocery store, and even play dates. Either my age is getting to me or I have total “mom brain,” but I have to write stuff down. And when I wasn’t utilizing a planner, I was leaving post-it notes all around my house and that was getting confusing. With a planner I can write my appointments, my grocery list, my goals and anything else I’m worried I might forget.
Everything here revolves around nap times and I try to get as much done during those times as I can, so that is where time batching comes in handy. If you haven’t heard of time batching, neither had I until recently, but I quickly became obsessed. And there’s a million ways you can do it, but for me the concept is committing to doing something for a certain amount of time and not looking at my phone during it. In fact, I schedule times to look at my phone! That might sound crazy, but my phone is a tool and if I don’t use it for good, I can end up aimlessly scrolling instagram, getting nothing accomplished. So even though I can’t predict when exactly my son will go down for a nap, I usually can predict how long he will nap. Typically, it is anywhere between an hour and a half to two hours twice a day. So we get a morning nap and an afternoon nap. Once my son goes down for his first nap, I start time batching. The first 15 minutes is dedicated to showering and getting ready for the day. Then I’ll spend 15 minutes cleaning up the kitchen, making the bed, starting any laundry, etc. With anywhere between an hour to an hour and a half left of nap time I always dedicate this to working. I might write a blog post, film a youtube video, work on a house project, anything dedicated to building my brand online. I try to do things during this time that need my full attention. Whether you’re moonlighting or just need some time to catch up on laundry or a good book, I highly suggest managing your time by time batching.
Make a Cleaning Schedule
When I was working full time, I hired a person to clean my home every few weeks. Long gone are those days and since I am now home full time, I am the one who does all of the cleaning. I don’t mind doing it, but I have to schedule it in or I will put it off. One effective thing for me has been having a written cleaning schedule. I like to keep mine in my planner, but if I didn’t have a planner, I’d print one off and keep it on the fridge where I can see it. It’s a daily reminder and it keeps me from allowing things to pile up. I have tasks I do daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly. I’ve found that using it gives me a gentle reminder to clean the toilets more often rather than waiting until we have guests and not wanting to be embarrassed by a dirty bathroom. There’s also something so satisfying about checking it off.
Wake Up Before Your Children
This is way easier said than done, and coming from a night person, mornings are the hardest for me. And if you are someone who is still in the early days of postpartum, you need as much sleep as possible, so take this with a grain of salt. But the days I feel completely on top of my game are the days I get up before my son. I don’t do much before he gets up, but just brushing my teeth, washing my face, maybe checking a few emails all make me feel more put together and ready to take on the day. If you’re someone who can get up and workout before your kids wake up then that is GOALS and I’m working on being more like you.
Take Some Time for Yourself
Taking time for yourself is completely subjective. It could be as simple as waking up an hour before your children and working out, or it could be using nap time to shower, shave your legs, and fix your hair. Or asking someone to watch your children while you get your nails done. Whatever self care means to you and however you do it, make time for it. It’s important as the caretaker of the house that you feel taken care of as well. I find that when I don’t take some time out for myself, I am irritable and I take it out on my husband. I don’t like myself when I do that. So every Friday during nap time I have a long shower and take my time. I put some makeup on and fix my hair. And it just makes me feel really good about myself and ready to enjoy the weekend with everyone.
This is a special season in your life, one that should be cherished and fully embraced. Many will tell you not to lose yourself when you become a mother. I disagree. You can’t help but lose the person you were before you had children. Instead, embrace who you have become. Make time for her because she is working hard, loving hard and she deserves your attention as well.
Let Family Time Just Be Family Time
This is huge for me. My husband usually works 60 hour work weeks, so we don’t see him much throughout the week. The weekend is our time and I value it tremendously. I’m not going grocery shopping, doing laundry, working on a house project, writing a blog post, or anything that would take time from us all being together and enjoying each other. I do all of that stuff throughout the week and I schedule it in. Whatever your work schedule is or how your family spends time together, take my advice and put your phone down, cook a meal together, play a game, tell a story and just enjoy the time together.