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Being a stay-at-home mom is far from easy + unless you have a very good idea of how to manage your time, things can get pretty crazy. To be productive, you need to stay motivated.
Here are some tips on how to be a productive stay-at-home mom.
Get up Earlier to be a More Productive Stay-at-Home Mom
It can be very tempting to hit that snooze button especially as an exhausted mama but try not to do it. Try to get up before everyone else so you can have some time to yourself to shower, sip a cup of joe + hit the ground running with your to-do list for the day.
Even just a few minutes to gather your thoughts before the chaos that is mom life begins can make a huge difference in how you feel + set you up for a successful day.
I *try* to get up at least 1-2 hours before my kids do each day. I grab a cup of coffee, write blog posts, write an email to my list, or create pins for Pinterest. This way when my kids do wake up, I’ve already put away a couple hours of work. I can put my computer + phone away, give them breakfast + start their day.
Get Ready For The Day
Life as a stay-at-home mom can sometimes leave you feeling like there’s no point in changing out of your pajamas + honestly, sometimes there really is no point. It’s why I call my pajamas my house pants. Saying I stayed in my house pants all day doesn’t sound as bad as saying I stayed in my pajamas all day.
But if you’re feeling blah, sometimes just putting on a fresh pair of leggings + throwing some mascara on can you give you a boost! Try it at least once a week + see what it does for your morale.
If it changes how you feel + how you attack the day then make an effort to get up, get dressed + get ready every day, even if you’re not leaving the house.
Prepare The Day Before
People always give Moms working out of the house advice on how to prepare in advance for the next day to save time + energy but the same advice applies to stay-at-home moms. Just because you’re home, doesn’t mean you can’t prepare for the next day.
Lay out everyone’s clothes so they’re ready to be worn, prepare lunches so they’re ready to go the next day without much effort, pack a bag of essentials if you know you’ll be out of the house. It will help you feel in control of your day while saving you lots of time.
Make a to-do list + prioritize the list. That way when you do get up + get ready, you can start tackling the items you do have to accomplish for the day.
Find Opportunities to Relax
You would get breaks if you were working outside the home, right? The same should apply as a stay-at-home mom. You’re working your butt off everyday + you deserve time to relax – even if it’s just a few minutes here + there.
Let’s be real, it might be that you only get 5 minutes of peace + quiet while you’re sipping your coffee. Take it. Embrace it.
Set Nap Time or Quiet Time
Have a set schedule for nap time or quiet time if your little one is done with naps. Putting them in their crib at the same time everyday is not only great for you to catch up on whatever it is you need to, but it also sets your child up for a great sleep schedule.
Teach Independent Play
You don’t need to play with your children all day. Letting them learn to play by themselves when Mommy needs to get some work done helps them use their imagination + be creative.
If you need a lot of time to get some work done, give them a super messy + fun activity. It can keep them entertained for hours (literally, hours).
Make a Schedule
Some people are planners (me) + are better at getting things done when they have a plan written down + set in place (also me). If you think this is you, go ahead + schedule your day to see if it helps your productivity.
You can test out the Pomodoro Technique to see if it works for you. Set a timer for 25 minutes + work on a task for that 25 minutes. When the timer goes off, take a 5 minute break. When your break is over, then set the timer for another 25 minutes + tackle finishing the same task or a new one.
Just because you’re a stay-at-home Mom does not mean that you have to do everything all the time. If your kids are old enough, let them know what they can do to help you out. Get them to unload the dishwasher or show them how to do a load of laundry. This teaches them responsibility + takes some things off your to-do list.
Enlist your spouse or significant other to help. My husband helps with laundry, cleaning the bathrooms + washing the floors. Of course, this is because he wants me to avoid hiring a cleaner but he does do it 🙂
My kids are 5, 3 + 1 but the two older ones do help put away silverware from the dishwasher, put their folded clothes from the laundry in the appropriate drawers + pick up their room (on occasion).
This still leaves a ton of chores on my plate but it is helpful.
Embrace The Chaos
Some days are just going to be utter chaos. The house will be a mess, the laundry will be piled up, the dishes will need to be done + you know what, that’s OK. If it doesn’t get done today it can get done tomorrow. Allow for a bit of chaos + you just might find yourself less stressed about it.
This takes a lot of work for me. Chaos spins me up. Clutter unravels me. BUT, every once in a while, I let it go. The Earth still spins. The world doesn’t come to an end + it really is OK.
Ask For Help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether it’s from your partner, family or a close friend – never feel ashamed for feeling worn out + needing help with any part of Motherhood. Remember, it takes a village. Ask for help.
Live for After Bed Time
I put my kids to bed at (around) the same time every night. The baby goes first. The two older ones later.
I use those 2-3 hours after they go to bed to be productive. Sometimes I work on one or both of my blogs. Sometimes I fold a basket of laundry. Sometimes I watch a show or movie with my husband. Sometimes I crawl in bed to read until I fall asleep.
I know you’re tired after a long day at home but even focusing on one task for just a little while (even just 10-25 minutes) can help to increase your productivity for the day.
Make a Priority List
Each night before I go to bed, I make a list of the things that I need + want to get done the following day. I write my to-do list out in order of priority.
The first thing on my list is something that has to be done the next day. I choose the top three tasks that have to get done (or that I want to get done) + I put them in order of importance.
The rest of the things on my list are “nice to get done” items. If I finish my first three priority items then I move on to item #4 on the list.
Some days, I get through my whole list. Other days I don’t get past #3. Some days I don’t get past #1 🙂
Make time to take care of you. I promise this is going to make you a better mom, a better person + more productive. Whatever self-care is to you, do it. Read a book. Take a nap. Get your nails done. Get your hair done. Take a girls trip with your girlfriends for the weekend.
You are going to come back from the activity refreshed, happier + ready to tackle some more of those items on your to-do list.
I promise you.
I learned this lesson the hard way. After my first daughter was born, I lost myself in motherhood + being a wife. My writing business decreased. I stopped getting my nails + feet done. I stopped reading.
What mom has time for that, right? That whole speech the flight attendant gives on a plane about helping a small child put their own oxygen mask on AFTER you put your own on applies here.
If you are depleted, angry, upset + deflated, you’re in no shape to help or take care of the people that need you + depend on you — your child(ren), spouse, etc.
So whatever oxygen is for you, do it + come back as a better you.
Meal Plan + Meal Prep
At a minimum, plan out your meals for the week. I write what I’m going to serve for dinner each night on my calendar so that I have a plan.
This allows you to shop for groceries faster + when dinner time rolls around you’re not scrambling to figure out what ingredients you have + what you can make.
You can also meal prep. Meal prep is getting the food ready ahead of time. You don’t have to make entire meals ahead of time but you can prep ingredients.
For example, when your veggies arrive with your grocery delivery or in your produce box, wash them, cut them, chop them or slice them. Store them in glass containers or storage bags. That way when it’s time to cook, you have your ingredients ready to go.
It helps you to be so much more productive as a stay-at-home-mom. I also find that it reduces food waste. If I have sliced up zucchini, squash, peppers, or onions that I’m not going to use fast enough, I throw the baggies in the freezer + then I have them next time I need to cook a meal instead of having to throw them away.