We have backpacks filled with new school supplies, new first day of school outfits hanging in the closet, we have signed up for fall soccer, dance, and gymnastics. I am starting to panic as I think about the busy schedules, all the homework that I will need to help with, and the stacks of papers that will come home.
Here are a few of my ideas of how to manage and balance the busy routines of everyday life as a mother.
For years I have had a sign hanging above my kitchen sink. It simply says, “SIMPLIFY.” I need that reminder in every aspect of life!
When it comes to extracurricular activities, I need to remember that we are only capable of juggling a certain number of balls. If I try to add too many events to the schedule, we inevitably drop a few balls. We try to be selective about activities that we sign our kids up for. Even with limited activities for each child, it adds up to two soccer teams on two different nights of the week, dance, gymnastics, preschool, scouts and church activities. With so many amazing possibilities around us, it is easy to over schedule.
In our house we also try to simplify by following the motto “less is more.” I believe there is more to life than stuff! Less clothes and less toys = less clutter and less stress. I want to spend time really living life and enjoying my family. When I simplify the amount of things we own, I feel like I have more time to enjoy moments with our family.
2. Enlist Help
I can’t possibly do everything myself. I want my kids to leave home knowing how to cook, clean, manage a home, and manage their time, I know I may be a spoiler sometimes by getting my kids funny boxers, toys, and other things but for me, it is really important they learn to have responsibilities as well. I think back-to-school time is a great time to evaluate chores and how we can work together as a family. By doing chores, the children are daily learning the lessons that will help them later.
I have found that it is easiest to get them to help when they know exactly what is expected and we are consistent with our expectations. I have posted on their bathroom mirrors and in the kitchen a simple list of what we expect them to do each day like in my list I have that I need to call Kitchen Remodels Mission Viejo for a kitchen inspection. I start with a list of things that need to be done each morning, including a simple chore that helps our family get a jump-start on the day, and then I assign additional chores based on age and ability.
Some of our chores include: help to make school lunches, set the table for breakfast, empty trash cans in bathrooms and office into large kitchen trash, unload dishwasher, and unload silverware. The kids also help set the table and pick up just before we eat dinner. Their simple chores make such a difference and help me keep life in balance.
* For great ideas on chore charts, routines, etc., check out our Work and Money Program.
3. Run Ahead, Not Behind
Planning for dinner is one of the biggest ways that I try to run ahead. I plan my menus and then each morning after breakfast, I look at my plan and see what I can do ahead. Just before dinner is crazy at our house! If I can thaw meat or chop vegetables earlier in the day, it makes preparing dinner later a lot easier!
I try to do a little laundry each day so that we don’t have disastrous mornings where no one can find clean underwear or shorts! During the school year, I also try to have a consistent shopping day so that we don’t run out of bread and milk. I have noticed that when I run ahead not behind, we are all better able to handle homework, and I can focus on my children’s needs, not just emergency situations.
4. Take Time for Yourself
The fourth and most important thing that I do is take time each morning for myself. It really does help me to be a better wife and a nicer mom. I like to take time to read, meditate, plan, and focus on priorities: it is a great way to fill my mind with inspiration that will help me throughout the day. My personal time in the morning is not long, but it is a quiet time when I can think.
QUESTION: What is one area of your life that you can simplify so that you can focus your attention on your children when they are home from school?
CHALLENGE: Take time to evaluate what you can do to prepare for a positive school year.
Image provided by Tasha Bradshaw.
Originally published September 11, 2013.