I recently went back to work after eleven years as a stay-at-home-mom and let me tell you, life got really hard for a hot second. The trains were no longer running smoothly, things were slipping through the cracks and I felt completely overwhelmed by my job and role as a mom. Things that normally seemed simple while I was home all-day were now becoming giant obstacles. Something as simple as making my bed or emptying the dishwasher became impossible hurdles. After a month of struggling, feeling helpless and overwhelmed, I decided to take control of the situation. I learned quickly to fix what I could control and let go of what I could not.
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Along the way, I added a few mom hacks to make life a little easier or at least a little less chaotic.
Taking Care of You
If you don’t take care of yourself, you certainly can’t take care of those you love. I’m not talking about trips to the spa or brunching with the girls. I’m talking about basic self-care. Self-care is not selfish and until I started working again I didn’t believe it. When I get run down, I am not the compassionate, loving mom I want to be. I’m not twenty anymore. I can’t run on coffee and vodka, so taking care of myself is number one. It seems so ridiculous and basic but making the time to eat right, exercise and getting enough sleep is so important. Don’t make excuses. Take the time to take care of yourself.
Speaking of eating balanced meals, meal planning for our family has been a complete game changer. Not only has it saved us on our ever-growing grocery bill, but meal planning has also reduced the amount of wasted food we have as well as eliminated the always dreadful, “what’s for dinner” question. Does it take time? Yes. Is it an adjustment? Yes. Does it work? Absolutely. I take an hour on Friday night and plan out our weekly meals. I order groceries for pickup on Sunday, so that we can spend the afternoon cooking, baking and bbq-ing for the week. We prepare meals we can freeze, dice and chop fruits and vegetables for cooking and packing lunches as well as grill meats we can use on salads and sandwiches. And yes, everything is done while watching football.
Delivery, Delivery, Delivery
If you can’t have it delivered then order your items for pick-up. Don’t get me wrong, I love to pick my own produce and wander through Target with a hot coffee but like you, I’m a mom and have to get stuff done. Amazon, H-E-B and Target all have services busy moms can utilize. Not only does it save money it can also reduce the stress of hauling kids to the store.
I used to make excuses for everyone not helping out with chores around the house. I was home all day and everyone else was busy with school, sports or work. However, when I went back to work, the excuses evaporated. I no longer have the time or energy to carry all the household chores. Assigning chores and responsibilities have made life so much easier. The kids are old enough that they can help with yard work and house cleaning, take out the trash, empty the dishwasher and fold the laundry. The towels are never folded perfectly, but that’s something I’m learning to let go.
I have found that writing down a schedule and providing my family with a visual is much more helpful than keeping the family schedule on my phone. Placing the schedule in our kitchen has made everyone more responsible. When I used my phone, I became solely responsible for the family schedule. Everyone had to come to me with their questions. Now, my family is able to consult the schedule. If I’m at work, the kids know to remind dad when to drop them off or pick them up from swimming.
Let It Go
Like Elsa, we as moms just have to learn to let it go. I am not perfect and I certainly can’t control everything. There will be days I show up to the bus stop with a messy bun and no bra but I know my kids have brushed their teeth and are not in the same outfits as the day before. My house used to be magnificently clean but now there are books and puzzles that have been sitting on the stairs for a week waiting to go upstairs. It’s okay because I know I opted for a shower instead. Some days just have to be what they are and I am slowly learning to roll with it, not over-analyze and just let it go.
Photo Credit :: Allison Turpen Photography