As a mom, we wear a lot of hats. For me, I’m the sports mom, the booster club mom, the writer, the volunteer, and most importantly – the caregiver. I know from experience how overwhelming and stressful it can be to keep up with the to-do’s in the home, the business, and the extracurriculars.
It’s easy for things to pile up! If you’re anything like us, your home, at times, may seem like a war zone and it’s a constant battle to keep everything managed.
17 Battle-Tested Survival Strategies For Busy Moms
These tips can help you through those crazy weeks so you can sit back and feel empowered by all that you do.
- Preplanning is key. I try and plan everything so there are no surprises in the schedule. I have a monthly calendar that I put on the refrigerator that details all the kid’s extracurriculars, appointments, etc. so that my family can view. As well, I have a schedule for my business that details what I need to do each day, items that I need to start preparing, social media schedules, etc.
- Lists, lists, and more lists. Grocery lists, to-do lists for personal and business needs.
- Prep your meals and freeze them for busy days. I also plan my meals a month in advance so that I know exactly what I need at the grocery store. This also keeps me on a budget. Making a big batch of meals and freezing them is also a great way to prepare for those crazy days.
- Give yourself a free day. I try not to schedule anything one day a week to either play catch up, run errands that I can longer ignore, or just to take a breather. It doesn’t always work out, but when it does, it’s refreshing because I am not under pressure.
- Set reminders and alarms on your phone. Setting reminders on my phone has been a Godsend. I get alerts the day before an appointment and it helps me mentally prepare or get items together if needed. As well, sometimes we immerse ourselves in things and need a gentle reminder to move on, so I have alarms on my phone that go off to remind me to do something (stop working at a certain time, take my vitamins, to make business calls, to call family and check on them, etc.) As a business owner, I even set alarms when I’m working on social media for my website (I could spend hours on Pinterest!), so that I stay on task. As a writer who likes to take her time writing and not feel rushed, I set aside half a day to do research and work. This takes the stress off.
- Schedule appointments on the same day each week. I schedule my kid’s appointments on Wednesdays every chance I get. This happens to coincide with my “free day” that I mentioned earlier.
- Take some time to be thankful. It’s hard finding the time, but even taking a few minutes to sit quietly and think about the great things in your life can make a big difference in your perspective. I have found that doing this and having gratitude for the blessings in your life makes you more grounded in the process.
- Set boundaries. This is the hardest one for me because I am a helper and whenever I see someone who needs help I do what I can to help them – and tend to stretch myself thin in the process. I’ve learned that this is not always the healthiest approach and over the years, I’ve learned to set boundaries for myself (i.e., only taking on one volunteer project a week, etc.). Saying no does not mean you are a bad person; you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. Remember that! If you are overwhelmed, it’s ok to let someone else help out.
- Take care of yourself. You know what happens when you burn the candle at both ends – you get sick. So take your vitamins, exercise, get a good night’s sleep, and try to avoid unhealthy habits. Also, take some time to treat yourself with some quiet time. Start a new bathtime ritual, sip on your favorite tea and read the book you’ve been putting off. Some busy moms have shared that they wake up an hour earlier than they normally do so that they can sip on their coffee and take their time in the mornings. This helps you get the right mindset for the day and gives you a chance to look at your appointments for the day without rushing.
- Read some books on productivity. Whether you’re a stay at home mom, a busy entrepreneur or working in a fast-paced office, these five books will help you make your time more efficient and productive!
- Be your best friend. Let’s face it, adulting isn’t easy. You know what happens when things get overwhelming – there are tears and then comes the “mom guilt”. One of my favorite sayings is, “Be there for yourself with no judgment.” As moms, each of us is doing the very, very best that we can. Sometimes, our badassery shines through and then there are days when we drop the ball. It happens. Forgive yourself and try to be the best friend you need at that moment. If you’re tired, take a nap. If you are overwhelmed, stop and collect your thoughts.
- Hang with your tribe. I have a small circle of friends and we are each other’s support network. We try and get together once a month to catch up and be there for one another. If one of us needs a mental break, we take turns hosting activities for the kids. I have to say that I don’t know what I would do without these lovely ladies by my side.
- Make time for your pets. For me, being around animals is soothing. If you have a homestead, take the time to watch your livestock. One of my favorite things to do is to watch my ducks play in their pool in the snow, or just relax while petting your cat while she purrs in your lap. Take a walk with your dogs and really give them some attention!
- Light Candles. There is something about the soothing ambient lighting of a candle that can instantly make us feel more calm and centered. Try a calming scent such as lavender and just enjoy the aromatic glow all around you. Likewise, aromatherapy is another way to heal through inhalation.
- Stay on schedule. Make sure you wake up the same time and go to bed at the time. My alarm goes off every single day of the week at the exact same time and I never hit “snooze.” I don’t have to because I go to bed at the exact same time every night too. Whether it’s a Friday night or a Wednesday, make sure you get your body on a schedule. This will help your body get into a rhythm. You will find that you simply go through the same routine with only minor differences on different days, making tackling all those items on the “to do” list so much easier.
- Volunteer. No matter how stressed out I am, going to school and reading with the kids always calms me. Kids are so innocent and friendly and their energy is contagious. If you can’t stand kids, try volunteering at your local animal shelter. There are so many animals that need attention and care. Doing something out of the kindness of your heart will help you out in more ways than just stress relief – it feels good to spread a little happiness in the world! Just don’t overdo it. Remember your boundaries.
- Always do the dishes before bed. I know, I sound like some great Aunt giving advice to newlyweds at their wedding. But someone gave me some sage advice years before I got married and it works like magic! For some reason, seeing dirty dishes in the sink right when we wake up reminds us that we’ve still got things to do and that can add to our already stressful lives. Not only will most of the dishes be easier to clean after dinner, but even if you just leave that one pan to soak overnight, having the rest done and the dishwasher running will mean you’re waking up to a cleaner kitchen with dishes ready to be used instead of ready to be washed. You are also more likely to eat at home and create healthy meals for your family if you have a clean kitchen full of clean dishes. I rarely go to bed with anything in my sink now and it’s a huge weight off my shoulders!
Got a survival strategy for busy moms that we didn’t cover? We’d love to hear them! Leave a comment below.