Being a working mom can be incredibly rewarding — it can feel like you've got the entire world in your hands; satisfying career, healthy family, comfortable life.
But on the flipside, being a working mom is CRAZ-Y. You're juggling ALL THE THINGS, trying to keep yourself and everyone afloat, and having to manage the daily chaos.
The demands are never ending, the task lists are piling up, and there just NEVER seems to be enough time in the day.
I get you. I've been there. And thankfully, as a business owner, wife and mom of three, I've started to learn what works (and what definitely does NOT work) when it comes to getting it all done. And it really comes down to how we choose to manage our time (and yes, managing time is a CHOICE).
1. Consider yourself THE priority.
In order to be effective and efficient in our life, it's a necessity that we learn to effectively and efficiently manage OURSELVES. This is where most moms get hung up — they typically put themselves at the bottom of the list of priorities, if AT ALL. Change your perspective about what you deserve and how to properly care for yourself. Before your day gets going, make sure to spend some time in solitude. This is a great thing to integrate in your morning routine.
2. Get rid of the waste.
This is one of the most obvious, but also the most challenging to implement. In the day-to-day it can be difficult to see some of our biggest time sucks, but if you took a time inventory for an entire three days, where would your biggest pocket of opportunities be? Watching TV? Scrolling social media? Whatever it is, make sure to check-in yourself and ask if these are the things that are adding VALUE to your life? If not, can they be cut back and/or eliminated? Allow yourself the freedom and space to do the things you love, but also cross check and compare it to the things that you've been feeling like you have no time for and/or the things that are causing you the most stress.
It's time to release the belief that you've got to do it all on your own. With the help of your family, create a system and routine that allows everyone to participate. Additionally, for the things you're finding less and less time for (like cleaning) reach out to a local housekeeper and support a small business owner. It's much more reasonable than you think — and also, if you think of your time as your BIGGEST asset, how much is it truly worth? Do you want to spend all of your down time cleaning toilets or would you prefer to spend it relaxing with your kids?
4. Create routine where there's chaos.
A lot of waste and chaos comes in our routine (or lack thereof). As a working parent, the chaos tends to increase around the transitional points of the day; morning, after school/work, and night. If you are continuously feeling overwhelmed by lack of structure, it's time to implement new routines that create rhythm and flow. This will also give you back MORE time and energy, and allows you the peace and comfort in knowing things will run semi-smoothly.
5. Utilize your commute.
I used to spend over two hours a day in the car when I was commuting to and from work. This is incredibly inefficient for someone who wants to produce and see results, but I made the best of that time by listening to audio books, trainings, and podcasts. I experienced a TON of growth during that time of life, primarily by expanding my mind. This is also great if you feel torn about reading or sleeping at night. Catch up on Zzzz's and save your “reading” for the commute.
6. Meal plan.
Night time has to be one of the most challenging times of the day for working parents. Kids are hungry, everyone's winding down from work and school, and there's a short period of time that you have to get everyone fed, bathed, and to bed (and also try to squeeze in some family time). Don't let failed dinner plans be the culprit for nightly chaos. At a bare minimum, spend a couple minutes every weekend writing down your meals for the week ahead. This allows everyone to know what's coming and gives you the chance to stay one step ahead when gearing up for dinner time.
7. Time block.
If you are having challenges carving out time to do things you love or grow a business, time blocking really helps you stay focused. Each day, you'll dedicate specific time chunks to one “bucket” of life. For example, if you are growing a side hustle, you'll protect a block of time in your planner for working on your business each day. When you're in that “time block”, you're doing nothing else other than what you dedicated it for. Similarly, you create time blocks for family, self care, the J-O-B. This is really helpful if you've been feeling scattered and haven't been intentional with your time.
8. Online, online, online.
If you aren't already on the online bandwagon, it's time to hop on! Online eliminates so much time. Grocery shopping, clothes, house goods — you can literally find everything online now! Online grocery, specifically, has become my only way of grocery shopping. I even have the groceries delivered to me. #besthingever Referencing the value of time — even though it's just 30 minutes of travel here and there, and potentially a 45 minute shopping experience IN the store — it all adds up; and if you are trying to become more efficient in your days, this is a great way to eliminate waste.
9. Instead of creating TO-DO lists, create INTENTION lists.
Throw the TO-DO lists away. These are typically things that just pile up and get lost or forgotten. Each day, think of THREE things that you plan to accomplish, experience, or BE. This could mean that you intend for your day to go smoothly, you plan to be a present mother, and are going to finish the ONE blog post. It's less about keeping yourself busy and more about being purposeful. Setting intentions each day keeps you on the straight and narrow and also serves as a reminder as to what's important.
There's always going to be things that don't get done, and that's 100% OK. But don't let it be the things that are most important. Before you start getting to work on being “busy” make sure to prioritize your tasks. Always be asking yourself, “Is this the most important thing I need to be doing right now?”. Typically, there's an urgency and/or a value component to the task that needs to be considered as you learn to prioritize your time.