I love being a mom! It fulfills me in a great, meaningful way. I love living with little ones and watching them grow up, learn, develop and become the people they are meant to be! The hardest part for me in being a parent is managing the chaos that is inherent in sharing your home with children (and a dog in our case)! I love to organize, to be organized and enjoy living in a calm, clean home. It was easy for to me to be organized before having kids but take regular life and add a few kids to the mix and it’s likely to rock your world, increase your stress and definitely add some mess! Here are my top 5 tips to staying organized as a busy, working mom of two!
1. Prepare and plan ahead! Organization is really all about time management and the ability to think and plan ahead. When you live with children, your schedule is not your own! Little ones demand extra time and certainly a whole lot of patience and love! When you need to be someplace at 8:15am (say, school!), backwards plan your morning and add some cushion time in for last minute things are tend to come up (like a water bottle that was left in the house shortly after you pull out of the driveway!) To arrive someplace at 8:15am, calculate the time it will take you to drive there, add in an extra 10 minutes in case of traffic and, on top of that, add in an extra 5 minutes just to be on the safe side. It’s such a great feeling to arrive at school drop off a few minutes early. The stress of a drive to school with 2 minutes to spare before the school bell rings is not something we want to inflict upon our children on a regular basis. Slow down, plan ahead and set your alarm clock for 30 minutes earlier. I love to run so I set my alarm for 6am (even on the days I don’t run). I get up about an hour before the rest of my family so that I have time for me. I might use that time to take a 20-30 minute run (or to write) and then use the remaining 30 minutes to shower, get dressed and make myself a piece of toast and a cup of tea before I wake up our daughters for the day.
2. Clean out your purse AND your car every day. I know this seems a little excessive but trust me, starting each day with a clean (or clean enough!) purse and car (or minivan in my case) feels so good! To make this happen, I spend about 10 minutes each night going through the receipts in my wallet and throwing away the granola bar wrappers that seem to find their way into my purse. I also take a few minutes (maybe 2-5 minutes tops) to take out whatever trash I see in my minivan. I want to wake up and be happy to hop in my car and when I walk into a clean (or clean-ish) minivan, I genuinely feel happier! Try it and see for yourself.
3. Don’t overcommit or over schedule yourself OR your kids! This is a really hard one for me to keep! I love being involved in a lot of different projects at home, at work and at our daughter’s school but I have to remember that if I can’t fit the activity, work or volunteer project into my day, week or month, I simply need to say no. Our daughters are equally enthusiastic about school and their after-school activities and sports. My husband and I look at our calendar for the year and try to help our daughters choose a few activities they want to be involved with and that’s it! Kids (like adults) need downtime at home to play, unwind and simply relax!
4. Finish what you start! If I start something or make a commitment, I try my best to keep it. I think that’s part of my Midwestern roots and upbringing! If you don’t have time to start and finish the project, wait to begin until you are able to focus and devote the time and energy toward the task or project.
5. Make your bed every day! I love coming home from a busy day with work and kids to an inviting and clean bed. It’s a small thing to do for yourself and only takes a few minutes. I promise you will really start to look forward to returning home when you know that you’re coming home to a nicely made bed.
I hope these tips are helpful! I have a lot of superstar, organized friends (and sisters!) that I learn and gleam tips from. If you have any organizational tips to share, please comment! I love hearing from you!