If you’re reading this post, there’s a good chance you have recently left your full-time job to become a stay-at-home-mom. And, if that’s the case, CONGRATULATIONS are in order!!! What a huge and wonderful decision you and your family have made. I remember my first day home with Emerson like it was yesterday, although it was 3 1/2 years ago. Words to describe how I felt that first Monday home with Emerson? Excited, victorious, emotional…and a little terrified! Everything I had known for SO long had changed. The daily grind, the structure, the meetings, reports, deadlines…all suddenly a thing of the past. I remember thinking:
As nice as it was at first to have the whole day ahead of me. We had no agenda, no set plans and could just see where the day would take us. Sounds AWESOME, right?!
While it was nice at first, it actually started to lose its luster fast. I think Emerson may have felt the same way. Don’t get me wrong, we had a loose schedule, but nothing like the routine and structure she was used to at daycare.
As human beings, we crave that. Big or small, adult or child, we all like knowing what to expect from our day to some extent. That’s when it hit me. In order to #win at my new very important job, my promotion to SAHM, I needed to treat it like the VERY important, full-time job that it is.
I didn’t just want to survive the day. I wanted to own it, like a BOSS.
Here’s what’s worked for me to do just that:
1. Make a plan.
|My best days happen when I’ve taken time to visualize my perfect scenario. Taking an hour or two to plan on a Sunday is the way I like to get inspired, excited, and ready for the week ahead! You can read more about how I structure my planning sessions by clicking here.|
In addition to my weekly planning session, Emerson and I take a few minutes every Sunday night to plan out her outfits for the upcoming week. This has really helps to simplify our mornings and get her excited and feeling prepared for the week ahead.
At night before I go to bed, I review the day and how it went compared to what I projected, and recalibrate, where needed, for the next day. Panda Planner is my favorite gratitude and goals journal that really does do what it advertises in increasing happiness & productivity. For my day-to-day tasks, I’m loving the Simplified planner by Emily Ley. (Click here to score $10 off a 2019 Simplified planner!) I sleep better at night, because my brain rests a little easier knowing that we’ve already got the big picture handled.
Want the exact planner pages I use each week? Enter your info below and I’ll send them straight to your inbox!
2. Shower and get dressed.
Yes, I said it…because some days, we just need to remind ourself to set our alarm and do it! As a SAHM, our routines are often thrown by a night of no sleep or a fussy toddler who won’t nap. And, with everything else that has to be done, who has time to shower and get dressed?! Make time. Set your alarm. Be intentional about taking care of you. This little act of self-care will allow you to start your day feeling pulled together and ready for anything! Even if you are stuck inside all day, you’ll feel SO much better and won’t avoid looking straight at the mirror each time you walk past it. Your kids and husband will notice, and appreciate it too. But do it for you. 100%.
3. Keep a task list.
Each day when I would go into the office, I would review my current project list. I’d assess the status and determine next steps. From there my task-list was created. These days, I don’t have a boss to send it to by 9 a.m. So it’s up to me to be diligent and make sure I’m moving things along! (Not usually a problem, since I live for checking things off my list!). My system is simple and to the point. This format allows me to organize each project, and it’s list of to-do’s. From there, I break them down into my daily task list. It’s a system that has worked for me, both at home, and at work, for years!
4. Time block.
Time is one of our most precious gifts. Be more intentional and use it wisely. Typically, I’ll sit down with my planner, which includes my appointments for the day and my list of to-do’s. Wherever there is space, I’ll work my to-do list into it to make sure that those things get done. My plan is detailed, but not overly rigid because, #momlife. Best case, I’m able to stick to the plan 100%. Worst case, the day goes off the rails, but if I was still able to check off a thing or two from my to-do list, it was a success and the rest can be moved to tomorrow. My Type A personality is totally cool with controlled chaos—as long as it knows what’s expected, and what comes next!
5. Make SMART Goals
SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time Bound.
Whether you’re working on a side-hustle that needs some structure, creating a blog, or working on a family vacation or other project that takes some thought and planning, utilize the SMART system.
6. Get organized.
Sounds so simple, right? And it can be! It’s all about taking control of certain areas of your life. What stresses you out? Keeping up with passwords or birthdays? Dealing with the mound of papers on your desk? My friends Abby and Donny at Just a Girl and Her Blog, have created some awesome solutions to these problems that I use on a daily basis. The Simplify + Planner offers printables for every life need, in one place. The Ultimate Guide to Going Paperless system is single-handedly responsible for conquering the never-ending mound of papers on my desk and allowing me to access important documents from anywhere. Do yourself a favor, and check these things out.
I’ll admit…this has never been my strong suit. As women, I think we try to take it all on ourselves because…sometimes it just seems like the easier thing to do! But, there will come a point when that is no longer an option. Delegate small cleaning tasks to your children. There are plenty that are age appropriate! Make technology your friend here! Order your groceries and have your husband pick them up on the way home from work—or have them delivered. Order pictures for relatives on Shutterfly and have them sent directly to their home! (Click here to visit Shutterfly and get a free phonebook!)
8. Nix multi-tasking, when possible.
Want to stress yourself out fast? Try to multi-task with your kids. Sure, it has to be done from time-to-time, but surrender to the fact that, sometimes it just ain’t gonna happen. Try to time block the “boring” stuff that your kids won’t tolerate for when they’re napping or at school. Don’t get me wrong here. I am not saying it is your job to entertain your kids 24/7. Not in the least. But you will need to pick and choose your battles. It is so important to kids to feel important too. I’ve learned that social media updates, texts, emails and (most) phone calls can wait.
Kids feel it when they are being multi-tasked…and they don’t like it. Who can blame them? Remember the last time you tried having a conversation with your hubby as he was engrossed in a text convo with the guys about sports or updating his status on Facebook? Yeah, me neither. That wouldn’t go over so well. So, extend the same courtesy to your kids! Sometimes I mentally check myself by putting myself in theirs shoes. How would this behavior go over with me—in 10 years when they have an iPhone of their own? If I wouldn’t like it, it’s a good indication I should change my ways ASAP. And, when I’m feeling the need to mentally escape through social media, it’s a good indication that I may need to take some time just for me. Which leads me to my next point…
9. Take a vacation or mental health day.
EVERYONE needs a break from time to time. Even those of us that are so in love with our family and the job that we prayed for… But it is healthy to take a break for yourself to rest and recharge. This is one instance where those of you with family nearby luck out. Coordinate a time with family to take your kids there while you enjoy time to yourself. No family nearby means you’ll need to communicate your needs to your husband and coordinate a way to get you what you need to mentally recharge.
Erik and I don’t have family nearby. So when it’s time for me to get a little break, we work very intentionally to make this happen. Once or twice a year, I’ll take a whole night off and stay at a hotel by myself.
There are ways to get a rock bottom hotel rate so that your recharge time doesn’t cause a major dent in your bank account. The Hotel Tonight app, is AMAZING. It offers last minute deals on rooms in my area. I’ve gotten ocean front rooms in October and January for $79/night. One of the perks of living in a tourist town off season…but there are great deals everywhere! Some hotels offer walk-in rates which are amazing. Give them a call! You can get some AMAZING hotel rooms for less than it costs for an hour-long massage.
And, I’ll admit..doing this feels totally strange, and I miss my family terribly while I’m gone. BUT, the one or two times a year I’m able to do it, it gives me the gift of missing my family and truly appreciating them and mentally regrouping to plan fun things to do with them in the near future.
10. Hold meetings and yearly reviews.
Communication with your spouse is key. After all, you are running your family like a business to some extent, but even Schirmer, Inc. can’t be run without the partnership of my better half. We take this time to review our budget, discuss issues and happenings with our little ones—and how we would like to be consistent in disciplining them, when needed. We also have a REALLY productive yearly review in late December. Right after Christmas, and before the New Year, where we reflect on the year that has passed and goal set for the upcoming years and years to come. There is greater power as a couple than working together to make your hopes, goals and dreams come true. If you’re not doing this already, I really strongly suggest doing this with your hubby!
Being a stay-at-home mom is like no other job. It’s amazing and so tiring. It’s the most rewarding job in the world, but at times feels thankless. The days are long and the years are short. Yes, everything you’ve heard is true. And, while not easy, it is SO worth it. So, hang in there Mama! I hope a few of the things listed above resonate with you and help you on your journey!
“Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.” -Proverbs 31:28