Do you find yourself rushing from one thing to the next and feeling completely frazzled? I know I do. We’re constantly on the go as we try to do it all and be everything to everyone.
A great mom.
A great wife.
A great friend.
A great community member.
But, what about us? Do we really have so little time to give ourselves? Do we reall just get the leftovers?
I struggle with this. Hard.
When my little one is awake, my time is spent keeping him entertained and out of mischief. Usually, walking around our streets (he won’t stay put at the park, he just wants to run).
Sometimes I wish life was simpler though. I’m working at it!
Here are my 10 tips for simplifying life as a mom:
1. Start where you’re at
If you’re much like me, as soon as you decide you’re going to do something, you fire up Google/Pinterest/Facebook and check out the scoop on it. Inevitably, this leads to me finding someone who’s doing amazingly (I mean they’ve probably been at it for years) and biting off more than I can chew or becoming discouraged about how far I am from where I want to be.
Start where YOU are at.
If you want to eat healthier, tackle breakfast first. Or a snack. Don’t jump in with kale chips, green smoothies with raw cacao, and coconut crusted salmon when you don’t even eat salmon.
Likewise, don’t try to do everything on this list at once. It’s ok to implement things slowly and it’s more likely to stick!
2. Start a gratitude journal
Attitude is huge. It makes such a difference to your day.
When I’m tired and grouchy and have a bad attitude, I get very little done. Whereas, if I have a positive attitude, I get much more done and things seem so much easier!
But wait, this point is about gratitude, not attitude…
Starting your day with gratitude helps to check your attitude. You can’t help but be in a better frame of mind after experiencing gratitude.
How do you start a gratitude journal?
When I first started writing down what I was grateful for each day, it felt forced. Like an afterthought. I wasn’t taking the time to really ‘feel’ the gratitude. So it didn’t do anything.
Now, I like to spend a few minutes reflecting on all the things that I’m grateful for. There are so many things! And then I write down the main one or two things that stand out to me.
I usually just use my planner (it’s a week to an opening with room for notes) but I’m thinking about getting one of these one sentence journals for just this purpose. Isn’t that a beautiful idea?
Check out the Happiness Project Journal on Amazon.
3. Schedule in at least 15 minutes per day for self-care
Fifteen minutes isn’t long. But, are you even getting that much time for yourself each day?
Self-care doesn’t need to mean a hot bath, a massage, movies and chocolate (though those ideas sound fantastic!) You might choose to:
- Light a candle and play some calming music while you shower (alone)
- Have a cup of hot tea, sit in the sun and write in your journal
- Get your favorite takeout and have a picnic with paper plates on the floor
- Listen to a podcast or music while your little one plays independently
4. Schedule at least one day at home each week
I’m a real homebody and somehow even I haven’t managed to avoid having commitments on nearly every day of the week… Library activity sessions, Bible study, visits, playdates, play group… it all adds up.
But, I need time at home too. To recharge and relax (and also get some cleaning done.)
I try to schedule at least one day at home each week for this reason.
5. Set a self-care budget and use it
As moms, we can get so caught up in serving the needs of our own family that we never do anything or spend anything on ourselves.
I’m guilty of this. I hardly ever spend money on myself, even for things I need like clothes. Even the idea of setting a self-care budget scares me! Probably a sign I need to do it.
6. Know you’re doing a good job
Motherhood can be lonely. And it’s easy to think that you’re failing at it when you see other’s shiny highlight reels on Instagram and Facebook.
Their life seems so perfect.
My toddler just ate dog food. Ugh! Why won’t he eat his actual real food though?
And the screaming, crying, and the tantrums. Him, not me (mostly). Am I failing as a mom?
I like to reassure myself that worrying about these things mean I’m actually doing ok at this.
So. You’re doing a good job mom.
7. Join a Mother’s Group
One of the best things I did was join a mother’s group when my little one was about 12 weeks old. All our babies are within about 3 months of each other. It was such a relief to be able to talk with moms who understand and are going through the same stages and navigating the same decisions and trials that I was.
Because our babies are all the same age, it also means that they play together quite well. The other activities I go too usually have very few little ones the same age as my boy.
Stuff. We feel like we need more of it. But, it never satisfies and we’re left with more things than we have room for.
What’s worse, having all those things around is mentally draining.
Why not get rid of it?
Here are some easy ways to start:
- Put every kitchen appliance, specialty serving plates and platters, and cutlery, that you haven’t used for months in a box in a spare room or in the garage. If you haven’t used it in the next 3 months, consider getting rid of it.
- Turn every clothes hanger in your wardrobe the opposite way around. When you wear that item of clothing, put it back the right way around. Consider getting rid of any clothes you haven’t worn in 3 months (excluding off-season wear of course).
- Go through your pantry and spice rack and toss everything that’s past it’s use by date. I’m always surprised by at least one item that’s been hanging around for 3 years and I never realised it.
9. Digital Detox
Uh oh. If you’re a millennial like me, this one is hard.
I despise the fact that I check my smartphone a million times a day but I still can’t look away from my latest Facebook notification. I’m hooked on emails, Facebook, Pinterest, notifications, text messages, Whatsapp messages, Youtube… Google is my bestie and we do everything together, from cooking to researching health concerns and remembering what that song was that I really liked.
How do you say no to that?
Well, one thing I do is I like to lay on the guilt (on myself) really thick.
‘What are you missing out on that’s right in front of you while you’re reading Facebook posts?’
‘What did you accomplish today, besides reading things on the internet?’
So, how do you actually do a digital detox?
You could choose one day a week, or one day a month (baby steps!) and:
- Turn off your phone
- Turn off your computer
- Turn off your Wifi
- Turn off your TV
For me, it’s my phone that’s the problem. I need to turn it off and put it in a box. Out of sight out of mind!
10. Read a real book
One of the saddest things about this digital age is… I don’t read real books anymore.
I read blog posts. I read news articles. I read online. I read books on my Kindle.
Rarely do I ever read a paper book. And that’s sad considering I was a huge bookworm in my younger years. I literally never stopped reading. I’d read a book over breakfast, when I got home from school, after dinner, and all weekend.
So, I’m going to make time to read some real books this year. It’s going to be part of my self-care to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea.
Now, It’s Your Turn
Are you ready to trade your busy and hectic for a simpler life? Let me know how you plan to do it in the comments!