Hey mamas! Happy #MommyMonday! This week I wanted to talk about getting life to-geh-ther when momming it up to little kids. I feel like it’s such an important topic because the idea of feeling “together” can seem so illusive and well…sometimes it can feel kind of impossible? Before we get started I just have to say this post is just as much reminding myself of what I should be doing as much as it is sharing tips and advice. The truth is that feeling “pulled together” has been my absolute biggest mom struggle since giving birth 16 months ago. So if you have good tips and tricks for feeling pulled together, please, I am begging you…share them!
Organize Your Home
I recently cleared out my closet and ditched a ton of stuff which made getting dressed every day much easier. Since I have a lot less junk I just look at and pass up everyday it’s way easier to see the pretty/practical things that actually make sense for my life. I am working on doing the same with every part of our home to just make things easier. I am getting rid of clothes, old magazines, extra kitchen gadgets we never use, etc. Plus less stuff = less stuff to clean!
Meal Plan and Meal Prep
Barf, everyone says to meal plan, it feels so trite. Buuuut…it works. At the start of each week (usually Sunday night or Monday morning) I sit down and plan out all of our food — dinners, how leftovers will be used, and in some cases I even map out our breakfasts on a really cute meal prepping pad I got on Etsy. From there I make a grocery list that includes everything from my meal prep list and hit the market to prep for the week. This is a surprisingly major stress relief because I often find that it’s suddenly 6 pm and haven’t thought about dinner at all.
This way I have already figured out what to make and purchased all the ingredients so I don’t feel on the spot to dream up some meal and make sure I have all the necessary ingredients. Additionally, the days I REALLY have it pulled together, I start prepping dinner when I prep Summer’s lunch. That way when the evening rolls around I don’t feel bombarded by the fact that I essentially have to get dinner ready, the dog walked, and Summer bathed all at the same time.
Lastly, I try and make meals in a way that each day is easier than the next. So for example if on Monday night I am making ground turkey for a pasta dish, I try and make enough and set it aside for the next night which might be a turkey taco meal. Things like that help lighten the meal load.
Also…I have never tried HelloFresh or Blue Apron but many friends swear this is a major help when it comes to meal time.
Map Out The Week — Workouts, Nights Out, Sleep, Etc
Just like with meal planning I like to map out a rough schedule for the week with my husband. We coordinate evening workouts (ie: “Can you be home by 6:30 so I can take spin at 7?”), who will walk the dog, any really early or late meetings my husband has or dinners I shouldn’t expect him to be home. Since we don’t live near family or have childcare outside of the occasional sitter, it’s important for us to be really transparent with our schedules to make sure we’re both getting things done that we need to. It’s a small step each week that makes teamwork easier, and is the BIGGEST help in making sure we actually workout. I am also trying really hard to get to bed earlier…if bedtime is on the calendar maybe I’ll actually follow it? (We shall see!)
I also try to map out what I will do when Summer naps to try and make the most out of that time. Some days it’s BASIC stuff like make sure I eat lunch and shower and pickup around the house, but some days it’s more business stuff like client calls, catching up on emails, writing out Pilates routines for my clients, etc. I always leave Summer’s nap time on Fridays as my big “deep clean the apartment” day, so if the house is a total disaster I try to remind myself there’s a scheduled time to fix all that. I also try to divide tasks into “can be done with toddler awake” and “cannot be done while toddler is awake” — so for example you can’t fold clothes with an awake toddler, they’ll just unfold it all, but I CAN clean the kitchen and do the dishes while she’s beside me in her high chair eating lunch.
Schedule Your “Me” Time & “Us” Time
Just like planning workouts and late night meetings, I try REALLY hard to map out me time and us time. I splurge on a gel mani and pedi every 2 weeks — it’s both “me” time and also a major time saver in making me feel polished and pulled together. I don’t have to worry about my nails for 2 weeks, major score, plus I know I am guaranteed an hour of alone time twice a month. We also try and plan at least 1 or 2 nights a month we’ll get to spend time just the two of us and go out for a drink or a meal. We usually have family visiting once a month so we always use that time and we have a list of sitters we can reach out to for one-off jobs. I found mapping this out to be a surprisingly unnatural adjustment, probably because before kids we took for granted just how easy grabbing a meal together was or how easy stopping by the nail salon after work was. Once you accept life is less spontaneous things get a lot easier!
Life Hack Without Shame
For a long time there were things I just would not do even though I knew they’d make my life easier. I was VERY against any screen time for Summer at all until the age of 2 as recommended by the American Pediatric Association. I lasted a little over a year, but there was a day recently where Summer wouldn’t nap and I was working hard to meet a deadline and I just couldn’t get it done. In a moment of desperation I said EFF THIS and turned on Sesame Street with Sum in her high chair with a tray full of snacks and water. I got 45 minutes of uninterrupted quiet while I sat next to her on the laptop…UNHEARD OF! I still don’t use screens very often, but I no longer see them as forbidden. If I need 15 minutes to pour my coffee and put on my makeup, I know I have that trick up my sleeve and I use that trick without guilt…mommy needs to stay sane too. Don’t forget that…you are important too.
I also do 99% of the housework and cooking around here, but if things are crazy I have the number of housekeeper I can call for an extra hand and about 5 different meal delivery apps if cooking is just not in the cards.
Whether you’re a full time work out-of-the-house mom, a stay at home mom, or anything in between, chances are your finances changed big time when you became a parent. My husband and I signed up for You Need A Budget to help us stay on top of our finances each month and get us closer to our goal of owning a home. I actually find that having clear financial goals in mind help me with the rest of these pieces.
Stop Comparing and Cut Yourself Some Slack!
I am the queen of looking at my favorite insta-mommies and thinking “OMG she has THREE kids and her hair is done and I have one and am still in sweats and a messy bun!” But I have to stop and remind myself I have no idea what their story is. Maybe they live close to their families and have a lot of help caring for their kids, maybe their husband doesn’t work the same crazy hours mine does and is able to help more, maybe they have a full time nanny…who knows! And honestly…who cares! It’s not realistic for me to have on a full face of makeup and perfect outfit every single day…the only person judging me for that is ME.
Lastly here’s a list of quick tips and easy resources to have on hand to help make your life easier.
1. If you don’t already have Amazon Prime…get it! I never worry about running out of wipes or mascara or really anything, because I always know I can have it within 2 days.
2. Have a few delivery apps on your phone or know which local restaurants deliver. I meal plan my heart out, but hey life happens and sometimes we need an assist. At the very least I try and keep a few frozen healthy meals in the freezer for those days life happens and we just can’t get it together to cook.
3. Similarly see if you have post mates or local grocers that deliver in your area. I almost never use these things, but the few times I have really needed it, it has been so nice to know I could groceries delivered to my door. (Like when Summer and I both had really nasty colds…who wants to go to the market then?)
4. Even if you don’t plan to use it, create a list of babysitters/family members/local cleaning services ready to go. We don’t have any of this budgeted into our regular expenses, but every now and then the extra help is SO WORTH IT.
I am dying to know your tips to staying “pulled together” so feel free to share below!