Guest Blogger: Miranda Hodge
How I learnt to be productive as a stay at home mum
‘I used to be an organized person.’
‘What happened to all your lists? You used to be so organized!’
That was me, in the midst of the hectic, crazy life of babies, toddlers, more babies and kinder kids.
How on EARTH do Mums stay organized?
I can’t even get the washing done, stay on top of dishes, let alone actually think about what’s for dinner… and it’s already lunchtime! *facepalm
Organization, for me, has always functioned quite well in my head (like a diary of the week’s activities) but as for achieving tasks, I have always liked lists.
But for awhile there, it was too much of a job to actually write a list.
I couldn’t focus my brain on it. I was too needed, too busy, too reactive to what was consistently going on around me at home.
(Just quietly, those who wonder what a Stay at home Mama does all day, need to just watch them sometime. It’s definitely not just drink coffee with friends.)
So I was struggling with my organization-and then I suddenly had a few brainwaves.
There were a couple of major reasons I was struggling.
1. I was still working from my ‘none or one child’ mentality.
This for me meant putting ‘1 load of washing’ on my list might be great for when I had just the one child, whereas now I need to do 2 most days to keep up!
It also meant that when I get meat out of the freezer to defrost for the night’s dinner, it doesn’t work if I’m too late, as we need more meat so it doesn’t defrost in time now. Just another example.
2. My expectations of myself were WAY too high!
(This was the main reason I was struggling so much)
I was still expecting myself to actually achieve a lot in the daytime. Now, I have a child at school as well as one who needs a sleep in the daytime, and one who is in between.
School runs are crazy and take up SO much time usually; not to mention the two tiny humans who are my constant company throughout the day.
I don’t know about you, but it’s HARD to achieve anything when your 16 month old son is climbing everything-and when he’s not, he’s following his sister and taking her toys. (He’s learning, yes, but he’s still a tiny kid!)
I’m on call 24/7, basically.
(You probably know the feeling)
Whenever I start anything, I am quickly reminded that I need to be watching, available all the time in case:
-Miss 3 needs help in the toilet
-Mr 1 is eating/throwing/taking/climbing/drawing on something he isn’t meant to.
-When Miss 6 is home she often wants to ask me deep questions amidst all this
-I still need to cook dinner, listen to a reader, take kids to swimming, playgroup, dancing, mop the floor….
Do you ever feel like this? The list just goes on!
So how do I be productive as a stay at home mama?
Here’s what I came up with:
1. My expectations of myself need to be achievable and need to be planned accordingly.
My to-do lists are just overwhelming if I don’t get to achieve more than two things each day. So what does this mean? I write down the needed tasks for the day and start to focus on being satisfied with getting these done.
This is what our household needs to run-and as I focus on these tasks with my list, I tend to get them done faster.
2. I do the most annoying tasks first (as much as I can).
I just CANNOT stand the dishes, so I quickly try to just do the dishes first thing, or when I’m cooking tea if possible. I find even committing myself to washing 15 dishes while I make tea helps me SO much because it’s already completed so much of the job!
3. I ask for help.
My husband helps me when he gets a chance, but as my children get older they can start to help me. My 6 year old helps with dishes, taking the rubbish out and keeping her things tidy (they never are, but we’re working on it!).
My 3 year old has to straighten the shoes every day before she watches TV. She is small, but big enough to understand and do her part. Being part of a family involves contribution, not just watching parents run themselves ragged, in my opinion. (But neither should a child be taken advantage of and worked hard. It’s a careful balance!)
Lastly, I give myself grace and space.
When I’ve had a crazy day with too many commitments, I find things go a bit to pieces at home. I need to give myself GRACE as I’m not perfect, but SPACE as an intentional thing.
These ways are how I stay organized and productive as a stay at home mama.
And when I fall down and am not productive for awhile-for whatever reason?
I go back to this basic mentality and pick myself back up.
There is no need for guilt trips here.
No one is perfect-but it IS important to get back up.
Do you have a great idea for staying productive as a stay at home mama?
Pop it in the comments below- we can all use whatever ideas we can get!
Hi, I’m Miranda Hodge! I’m an Australian mama of 3, teacher, parenting coach and blogger at smartmamasmartkids.com. I want to see parents feel more confident in their parenting of their small children. Therefore I provide strategies, programs and coaching for parents who feel overwhelmed or just want some support in their parenting journey. (It’s hard, right?)
See my blog for more info!