I am by no means an expert on sanity… or on keeping it… but, with two kids under three years old, I’m constantly looking for things that help keep me a little more focused, organized, and sane. Cue the Frozen song “Let It Go”, that I’m sure you’ve never heard before (hopefully you sensed the sarcasm there).
–Get up 30 minutes before your kids/family. I spend these extra minutes of glorious serenity doing any number of kid-free activities: sipping a cup of coffee, reading a couple chapters in my Bible, straightening the house if needed, throwing on a load of laundry, making a grocery list/meal plan, starting dinner in the crock-pot, taking a quick shower, writing a blog post or sending a little note to a friend. Regardless, I’ve found if I start my day with a few quiet minutes to myself than I seem to be a little more ahead-of-the-game at my house. It doesn’t happen every single morning, but it sure helps me start day a little more collected.
–Make a Meal-Plan each week. Every Sunday evening or early Monday morning, I’ll spend about 30-45 minutes going through Pinterest, cook-books, my favorite food blogs, etc. and making a meal plan for the entire week. I’ll then check my pantry, and make a grocery list for what is needed and head out grocery shopping with my girls on Monday morning. This keeps me from running to the store several times a week for “oh man, i forgot bananas” and “shoot, i need tomatoes to make this recipe” – it’s cheaper to just go once for everything, and also less stressful. It also keeps me from wondering what I’m going to make for dinner when 4pm rolls around each day. You can see my post on Meal Planning here: https://abbeydraa.wordpress.com/2015/07/13/meal-planning-tips-and-meal-plan-week-1/
–Take advantage of your kids nap-time/quiet time. My toddler has recently stopped falling asleep for her naps. This happened all-of-a-sudden, and to be completely honest, I wasn’t ready for this (Mama needs a break too!). I decided to continue putting her in her bed for Quiet Time (usually about 1.5-2 hours), and she knows she can talk/sing quietly to herself, play with her babydoll, or look at a few books in her bed. Since her baby sister still naps great, this gives me a little block of time to myself in the middle of each day. I use this time to pour myself a glass of iced coffee and do whatever I didn’t get done in my early morning hours – shower, clean a bathroom, laundry, blog, prep dinner, or even watch an episode of Gilmore Girls. I find that having a little time to myself in the middle of the day really helps me regroup, stay on top of things, and be a better wife & mama because of it.
–Everyone take 15 minutes to straighten-up the house before Dad gets home. Somehow, taking a few minutes each evening to clean & straighten up before my husband gets home prepares me for the “final stretch”. I will usually turn on some worship music to play quietly in the background too. Something about a straightened home and peaceful atmosphere (or at least faking it, haha) not only makes our home a little more pleasant to come home to, but also helps keep me and the kids a little calmer in those hectic early evening hours.
–“Me Time” is vital. Usually about once a month, Josh stays with our girls alone for a few hours so that I can have some time out-of-the-house to myself. I’ll head to a local coffee shop, check out my local Goodwill, go for a run, or simply wander around the grocery store by myself… regardless, the quiet rejuvenates me, I’m able to hit a “reset button”, and come back refreshed.
–Girl Time is needed with other women. I love scheduling play-dates with other moms and little ones. Okay, let’s be honest… I love playdates more than my kids do. Having other mamas around to visit with in-between all of us changing diapers, and cleaning up dripping popsicles is really nice. Adult conversations with other people who don’t mind talking about poop consistency and swapping breastfeeding stories… priceless! I really value my relationships with other moms, and try to make it a priority. My kids getting play-time with other kids is just a bonus. 😉
–Date Night is a must. Josh and I love the idea of a nice date night/month, but it’s just not realistic for us in this current stage of our lives (nursing baby for me, business travel for him, etc.). That being said, we seem to manage a night out every couple months, and I always enjoy getting a little dressed up (as in, not wearing yoga pants), and enjoying a few kid-free hours with my man out-on-the-town. However, spending quality time with each other does NOT mean we have to go out for a fancy evening! Josh & I have LOTS of quality time together on a daily basis when he’s not travelling, simply by sticking to a strict bedtime for our kids (7pm is Lights Out!) and focusing on each other for a couple hours each night. It can be a time for un-interrupted conversations, a snuggly movie night with popcorn, dreaming about the future, tackling a project together, or “heading to bed early” (insert winking face here)… but, one thing is for sure… we are together and spending quality time with each other. It keeps us connected, on the same page, ensures we are making each other our biggest priority, and helps us both re-emerge from the demands of everyday life. Remember, you are a wife FIRST and a mama second. ❤
Now, please don’t show up my house and expect it to be immaculate, homemade cookies in the oven, my hair freshly washed, and my children playing quietly with one toy at a time. Not going to happen, I promise. We are the best at making messes, and I am the queen of 4-day-old hair. Everyday life at my house can be nothing short of chaotic. My kids are little, and I want them to enjoy being little… I want to soak up every moment and file it away in my brain to remember later when I have an empty nest. That being said, it’s SO easy to get overwhelmed in the day-in and day-out of being a mama with young kids… I’m learning these few tips help keep me a little less stressed, and able to enjoy all the little moments more. The days are long, but the years are short, and hopefully these ideas will help the days not be so long. Hugs, mamas – we’re in this together!