One of the things I struggle with most as a stay at home mom is time management. I’m certain I can be more productive if I put my mind to it. There are so many things I want to accomplish and activities I want to do with my children but it seems as if I am always running out of time. Lately, I’ve challenged myself to be a little more organized and I’ve found that it really helps to set small daily goals on paper. Even if they don’t all get checked off I still feel like I’ve accomplished something, no matter how small.
I have a 3 year old, a one year old and I’m 7 1/2 months pregnant with my third. All energy zappers, as much as I love them! In addition to being a full time mommy, I also run this blog with Mindy and have a paid writing gig for another blog called TheFind. Balancing all of these things along with housework is sometimes a struggle for me. Here are a few things that I have done that help:
- Weekly Menu Plan- Right now I keep this very simple. Grocery shopping at this point in my pregnancy is one of my biggest chores. I ask my family what they would like for dinner for the week, make a quick list which includes a few lunch options, some fruits and easy breakfast items (mostly cereal). If I have the energy and time, I grab a few coupons- otherwise, I let myself off the hook. I keep dinners very simple too- under 30 minutes. Knowing what I am making for dinner for the week helps me more than I even imagined and saves me a lot of stress. Depending on what I am making, I sometimes do a double batch and freeze one for an upcoming week night making it even easier.
- I keep a daily planner with goals for each day. I have small blogging goals which I work on in the morning after breakfast until 9 am. I try to schedule activities for my children into our week- play dates, trips to the park etc. If I don’t do this, I find that I just don’t muster up the energy to leave the house. If it’s on the schedule though, I just do it.
- Put even the smallest tasks on the planner. It may sound silly but I actually write down things like “practice counting” (with my 3 year old) and “story time”. If I don’t, I often forget and these are things I really want to make sure I do with my children every day.
- I’ve started giving myself 10 minute challenges. I set my timer for 10 minutes and tackle a household chore while my children are having a snack or lunch. Here is an example: My dining table tends to be a collecting area for stuff that needs a “home”. Packages that come in the mail usually end up there. Here is what my table looked like “before”:
After the 10 minute timer it looked like this:
Since a lot of the stuff needed to be put away downstairs, I wasn’t able to accomplish this task in one session as I had hoped. During afternoon snack though, I gave myself another 10 minutes and looky, looky!The 10 minute challenge will be a new feature here on Mommies with Cents. Each week, I will show you one of the things I was able to accomplish in 10 minutes. I encourage you to join me- it really easy amazing what you are able to achieve, even if it’s incremental, if you set your mind (and timer!) to it!
I’d love to hear ways you manage your time at home with kids. I know I have a lot to learn and it will only get more challenging when my third arrives! Please share your tips with me and our other readers by leaving a comment, then come back next week for the 10 minute challenge!