How many times have you found yourself trapped in a cycle of doing something the hard way, but just couldn’t get off the hamster wheel?
This lady right here (hello) is the poster child for doing things the hard way! When life shows up pointin’ it’s finger at me and barking orders, being efficient and doing the “important” flies right out the window. I’m left putting out fires and greasing the squeaky wheels instead.
Or better yet, cleaning up spilled cereal.
But hallelujah! I’ve found a better way! Over the years, I’ve learned some things that make my life easier and I know they’ll make your life easier too.
But here’s the kicker… you’re probably NOT doing them. Or at least, not all of them. That’s because we’re so busy living our lives like one emergency room trip after another, instead of getting regular preventative check-ups to make sure things stay out of the crazy zone!
It’s time to give ourselves permission to stop and readjust. To get the ball rolling in the right direction so we can set ourselves up for success on the front end instead of always playing catchup. And I don’t know about you, but I hate playing catch-up!
My advice is to read this list and the ones that pop out to you – DO THEM. Don’t worry about trying and perfecting all of them. Let’s work together to take baby steps into lives we love…
1 – Start Following a Routine
If you’re a stay-at-home mom, it’s vital to your success and sanity that you follow a routine. Notice I didn’t say schedule. Schedules are for setting appointments and other activities at specific time frames. They’re necessary for keeping us on time and in the right place.
But what about the rest of the day when there’s no demand about what we do and where we go? It’s those spaces of time that can feel like a black hole, consuming our whole day and leaving you not knowing where it went.
That’s why I love routines! They’re great for you and your whole family. You can create your own routine by listing out all the activities and tasks you want or need to complete each day. Break those lists into a morning, afternoon, and evening category. You can add more of those categories like a mid and late afternoon as you see fit.
Write them out in the order you want to complete them. Now you need to add some anchors to your routine list. For example, quiet time can be an anchor for your early morning routine which means this is the first thing you do. Then your run on the treadmill can be another anchor to signal your early morning routine is ending and your mid-morning routine is beginning with taking a shower and getting ready.
Routines are based on developing predictable patterns of behavior or habits in your day. This way you’re not fixed on following a rigid schedule with time slots that never seem to work in the real world. You just naturally flow through your day with the larger anchor tasks keeping you in the flow and helping to remind you of what’s next.
2 – Live By a Real Budget
Having a budget is like having a routine for your money. Your budget tells your hard-earned money where to go and what to do. Without one, your money’s going somewhere, but it’s probably not where you had in mind.
Budgets have a bad rap because so many people feel like budgeting is something only financially stressed people do. It’s actually the opposite. A budget is really just a well-thought-out plan. And you better believe that the wealthy and well-off individuals in this world are following a well-thought-out plan for their money!
That’s precisely how they got rich, stay rich, and keep getting richer. Sure, their budget probably has a lot more to work with than yours or mine, but you’d be surprised how much extra money you have when you get intentional and cut out unnecessary spending.
3 – Plan Your Meals
This is one that I personally didn’t do for a very long time because it felt like too much work on the front end. And when dinner rolled around each night I could actually feel the dread consuming me. Not a good feeling!
It’s really super simple, though. You just take a moment to sit down and write out a quick list of what you want to cook or prepare that week for dinner. It can really be as simple as that or as involved as you desire. You can plan out all your meals for the week or just your family dinners.
I wrote a post about using meal-prepping as a fantastic strategy for getting healthy meals on the table quickly.
4 – Delegate Household Chores
I grew up raised by a stay-at-home mom who worked hard every day to keep our home in order. She pretty much did all the chores and cleaning in the house. I have very little memory of us having real chores outside of keeping our rooms clean.
This is partly because as a stay-at-home mom you believe that cleaning is your job and no one else’s. And she was also a perfectionist who didn’t like seeing things being done “the wrong way.” I personally followed suit on both of these mindsets in my own family.
That is until I realized it’s not about me anyway. I may not give my husband a long list of chores to do because his work schedule is simply too demanding, but as my children get older they NEED to know how to run a home.
Doing chores not only develops personal responsibility, but it also teaches valuable skills to my kids preparing them for adulthood. They need to know how to keep a house, not just their own room, clean. They need to know how to do their own laundry, iron a shirt and cook a meal. Here’s my post on 2 Super Easy Ways to Teach Your Children Accountability.
But most importantly, you need help! Doing everything yourself isn’t the best plan for everyone. Getting everyone involved takes the pressure off you, and helps give you some peace and rest.
5 – Practice a Regular Quiet Time
Speaking of peace and rest, practicing a regular quiet time is a game changer. Even if you carve out a few minutes every morning or some other quiet part of your day, the benefits far outweigh some lost sleep.
Spending a few moments just you and God, is a sacred time and one you’ll come to cherish. I wrote a very in-depth post about how to get started with practicing a regular quiet time. You can read the post here: Why Every Mom Needs a Regular Quiet Time Routine
6 – Set Regular Goals
Setting goals can feel overwhelming. Something that only super “successful” people do, not real everyday folks like us. Right?
True! Successful people are typically goal-setters and average people aren’t. Ever wonder why that is? It’s not because people who’ve reached a version of success are just drinking the goal-setting Kool-aid and telling everyone else about it.
It’s because the goal-setting came first – making them successful! When we have a target, we as humans instinctively try to hit it. As the wise saying goes, “when we aim at nothing, we’ll hit it every time.”
Related blog post: 12 Habits of Highly Successful Goal-setters for Busy Moms Like You!
7 – Have Date Days With Your Spouse & Kids
This is probably one of the most important, yet under-practiced items in this list. This is really where good intentions get shoved aside by busy, demanding schedules.
But by standing firm and carving out time for our loved ones in advance, we’ll be that much more successful.
No matter how good your marriage is right now, you need to make time to be together one on one. It doesn’t need to be expensive or involve going out to dinner. Get creative and do things you both enjoy, keeping your personalities into consideration. Going to the gym to take a class can be a date day if you both love exercise keep the focus on enjoying each other.
Your children also need one on one time with you. I never realized this until my middle daughter outright asked me one day to go out for some alone time without the other kids. I was totally surprised by her request, but I took note. And I make sure to keep her on my calendar for special dates regularly. This is important to keep strong bonds and building lasting relationships with our children that will last a lifetime.
To get specific ideas on showing love and spending time with your loved ones, check out my viral post: 50 Ways to Make Your Child Feel Loved in Their Own Love Language.
Adding new things into your life doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. It starts with making a quality choice to make your life better and easier! What are you planning to work on? Leave your plan in the comments below so we can keep each other encouraged!