Dear Stressed Out Mom: Today’s post is for you!
“3 Under 5, how do you do it?” This is the most common question that I receive right now. Answer: I don’t. Most of us know by now that mothering is not simple and we don’t do it alone.
However, practically speaking, we do have to make it day to day. So, here are a few things I have found that help. From one toddler and baby mama to another I hope one of these things makes your day easier!
- Plan Your Day Wisely: Yes, it would be great to get to the grocery, go to a playgroup, do a couple loads of laundry and be the perfect mom. Almost impossible! Plan your day with a lot of room in it. This means you have to choose. What is most important today? For me, I plan one “outing” a day. Playgroup or the grocery, not both. Choosing wisely keeps us from running around like a crazy group of elephants. Keeping a calm pace is key.
- Plan Ahead: This is fairly simple but very helpful. For me this includes putting out everyone’s clothes (including my own), setting the table and prepping breakfast, and packing diaper bags, book bags and purses all before bed. In the morning I wake up prepared to get us dressed, fed and maybe even out the door if needed. It also allows me to take a shower in the morning without feeling like I have tons to do before the day gets started. Take 30minutes and plan ahead the night before, you will thank yourself.
- Involve your kids: If there are small tasks to be done, teach your children, even your toddlers, to do them. One of my children puts all the dirty clothes in the laundry basket in the morning. Another turns off the bathroom and bedroom lights after we get dressed. These are all very little tasks but several small tasks adds up to a lot of your time. Teaching your kids to do small tasks will not only save you time but will help them invest in the every day life of your family. What a great lesson
- Keep close community. Your spouse and close friends are an invaluable resource in keeping your sanity in the day to day living of motherhood. Have an honest conversation with your spouse about how they can help you, maybe they can do the night before prep or throw in a load of laundry. Also, involve your friends. Ask for help when you need it. Even sending your child down the street for an hour might give you the space you need to collect yourself and revive your day. Mothering can be tough, don’t do it alone.
- Be Gracious: First, give yourself grace. Each day will not go perfectly. Some days I am surprised that we all get dressed, fed and are still in one piece! It is okay if the baby soaks her outfit 5 minutes after you put it on, the groceries can wait. Sometimes oatmeal will end up on the floor, take a deep breath, grab a rag and wipe it up, better now then trying to scrape up dried pieces later, playgroup will understand if you are a few minutes late. Second, give your kids grace. Sometimes they wake up on the wrong side of the bed too. Lead by example on these days and speak soft, loving words of patience. Our kids are still kids too. Sometimes we overestimate what they know or what they are capable of. It’s okay, it is just a reminder that we need to keep trying and keep teaching.
If you see me out and I look cool, calm, collected and my kids are behaving know that it is not as it appears! A child is probably not wearing the right underwear, I am probably missing something key to my day (like cash or even my whole wallet) and we probably just had a 5 minute conversation in the car about behavior that included some pretty serious threats. My day is just like yours, I guarantee it!
Hang in there, take a deep breath and share your go to tip in the comments! I’ll thank you for it : )