Whether your kids are learning to walk, learning to drive, or somewhere in between—this mom life, though rewarding, sure can be demanding.
Establishing simple habits that support these demands allows daily responsibilities to feel like they’re running on autopilot and offers breathing room to manage the unexpected and take part in the fun and joy of family life. Here are six habits that support just that.
Get to Bed
A good day starts the night before with a good night’s sleep. If you’ve been neglecting your sleep habits, now is the time to get back on track. If you’ve been running on less than the optimal sleep for your body for a long time, you may not realize how depleted your energy, cognitive ability, or general patience have become. Set a reasonable bedtime for yourself each night and enjoy the gradual increase in energy and improvement in mood that comes with allowing your body its proper rest.
When determining the best time to go to sleep, consider what time you’ll have to wake up to allow yourself time alone in the morning. Having time to yourself first thing every day provides a window to prepare your mind, body, and spirit for the day ahead. Consider carefully how you use the precious initial moment of your day—whether in spiritual practice, exercising, journaling, or simply sitting in stillness. Establishing a morning routine you truly look forward to and that enriches your life will ensure it’s a habit you can stick to.
You know what they say—a load of laundry a day keeps the overwhelm away. Rather than ever allowing a mountain of laundry to develop in your home, establish the habit of completing one load each day. The load can go into the washer in the morning, transfer to the dryer at some point mid-day, and be folded and put away each evening. Rather than dominating your time over the weekend when you’d rather be doing something else, laundry becomes an automatic task you hardly think about, like brushing your teeth.
When it’s time to head to the kitchen and prepare a meal—aim to prepare multiple meals at once. For example, say you’re roasting a chicken for dinner. Instead of just one, roast two. The leftovers can serve as lunches during the week, ingredients for other recipes calling for chicken (chicken salad, chicken tacos, chicken soup), or a grab-and-go snack. The additional effort required to make two chickens instead of one is negligible. This strategy can be applied to all sorts of food. You’ll reduce the time you spend preparing meals and ensure you and your family always have healthy home-cooked options on hand.
Limit Your List
It has been said that people tend to overestimate what they can get done in a day and underestimate what they can get done in a year. If you tend to write out extensive, page-long to-do lists for yourself, only to feel shame and disappointment at the end of the day when not much is accomplished, it’s time to limit your list. Each day, pick no more than three items to add to your to-do list and circle the one you deem most important. If you get only that one done, you can be proud you’ve achieved your top priority, and if you get all three done, it’s truly worth celebrating. This approach will force you to continually identify what’s most important, and you’ll find yourself aligned with your own values and priorities.
All work and no play makes Mom dull and cranky. You’re not in a race to check the most boxes or a competition to maintain the cleanest house. Balance well fulfilling the responsibilities of being a mom with allowing time for rest, joy, fun, and play. Leave room in your day to enjoy quality time with your family and engage in activities you enjoy. Make it a habit to wrap up your chores early and find stopping points in the long-term projects you’re working on so you carve out time each day to engage in not just the work of life, but the play.