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One of the biggest problems we face in motherhood is how to manage our time, create balance in our family’s lives and muster the energy required to get it all done.
Let’s be real, I can’t add extra minutes into your already jam-packed 24 hours but I can help you to minimise your responsibilities, find shortcuts in your Motherly duties and get into a routine so that you can focus on the important things in life like sipping on a wine with your feet up while watching Netflix, or spending time with your family… Whatever floats your boat.
Step 1: List your personal and family core values
We’re going to take some time here to strip everything back and really get to the core of the problem. I want you to make yourself a cup of tea, grab a pen and paper and sit down for a quick 5 minute exercise that’s going to help you narrow down your core values so that you can make easier decisions and better map out the type of future you want or you and your family.
How to discover your core values
The first step is to figure out what your core values are, which is much easier than it sounds. I’ve gone to the trouble of finding what Scott Jeffery calls ‘The Ultimate List of Core Values’ which includes a list of 200 personal values for you to choose from.
Read through the list and choose between 7 – 10 values that resonate with you.
Examples of core values
I keep my personal values in a note on my computer to refer to if I ever need guidance making a decision, these are also the core values for my business;
- Positive attitude
- Personal growth
Step 2: Goal setting for Mums
According to this Forbes article a Harvard Business Study found that 3% of graduates from their MBA who wrote down their goals, ended up earning ten times the amount of the remaining 97% combined.
Taking time to purposely set goals both personally and as a family will help utilise those core values and get you on the right track, even if it’s as simple as jotting them down in an accessible notebook or saving them in a file on your computer. The trick is to break down your goals into simple, actionable steps to cut through the overwhelm and make them more achievable.
Parenting and personal goal ideas
Stuck on ideas for what you want to achieve? Here are a few examples or parenting goals and personal goals to get you started;
- Spend more time together as a family
- Reduce screen time
- Learn something new
- Become more confident
- Stop yelling at the kids
- Choose healthier foods
- Move for 30 minutes a day
- Drink more water
Step 3: Set your priorities
Now that you know your core values and have an idea of the goals you want to achieve, it’s time to make room for them in our schedules.
Why is setting priorities important?
As a busy Mum you’re likely already juggling cooking, cleaning, parenting, making appointments, grocery shopping, working, studying, friendships, relationships and a mountain of other responsibilities. Getting clear on your priorities is going to help you to keep a clear mind, reduce overwhelm and reach your goals faster.
How to set priorities
Well you’ve figured out your core values and written down a few goals, now it’s time to take a look at your current daily routine to see what mundane tasks and pain points are stopping you from achieving them.
Grab your pen and write down what an average day looks like for you.
What do you focus your time on?
What processes are zapping the most energy?
Is what you’re doing on the daily in line with your values or helping you to achieve your goals?
No? Well it’s time to trim the fat and make time for the things that really matter.
Step 4: Create a weekly schedule for your family
I’ve used this planner system for my family for years now. Some days no one glances at it, some days it’s followed to the letter – the point is to create at least a guideline for your family to follow that will make your days flow more smoothly. Don’t get worked up if it’s not followed perfectly day-in and day-out, that’s not the outcome we’re aiming for.
How to create a weekly schedule
This part is entirely up to you! You can use a paper and pen to create a list, take it digital with a program like Evernote or Google Calendar or use one of the printable planners I’ve created for you here.
Things to include in your family’s weekly schedule
Here are a few essentials that belong on any good weekly schedule.
A strong morning routine
Starting the morning off right can have a huge impact on your energy, mood and productivity levels throughout the day. Check out the simple morning routine that makes me a better Mum.
Here are a few of the essentials;
- Drink a glass of lemon water as soon as you wake up
- Meditate for 5 minutes
- Have a healthy breakfast with the family at the table
- Plan what’s for dinner
- Get dressed and brush teeth
Build a better bedtime routine
Who doesn’t love a good night’s sleep? A better bedtime routine will set you up for the following day and (hopefully) help to send your kids off into a nice, peaceful slumber.
Here’s what ours looks like;
- 5 minute tidy of the loungeroom/play area
- Bath time with lavender oil and magnesium bath flakes
- Enjoy a sleepy time herbal tea as a family
- Read a book to the kids
- Bedtime for the kids
- Pack the dishwasher
- Wipe down the kitchen bench
- Put on a load of washing
- Read a book/watch Netflix/Study before 9pm bedtime
Cleaning tips to save time around the house
Cleaning would have to be one of my least favourite activities, and because it doesn’t always work around my values and goals this is something I don’t prioritise. But there are a few things you can do to streamline the cleaning process around your home.
Put washing on the night before
With a family of 4 the washing seems to be never ending, so each night before we head to bed I put a load of washing into the machine and let it run overnight to be hung out on the line or thrown in the dryer the next morning.
Do a quick tidy of an evening
Spend 15 minutes picking up toys, wiping down benches and taking the rubbish out of an evening so you can wake up to a *some-what* tidy house, isn’t that the best feeling?
Cooking tips for busy Mums
Do you struggle to find something simple (and family-friendly) to cook each night of the week? Here are a few cooking tips that have saved my time and sanity.
You may have heard of these wondrous machines, or even own one yourself. I originally bought mine with the intention of making everything from scratch, but I can’t tell you how quickly I realised I wasn’t one of *those* Mums. Even without milling my own flour and all the fancy tricks, I find the Thermomix invaluable for sneaking in extra vegetables, easily making yummy soups and stews and cooking up healthy treats for the kids.
Save your sanity by mapping out at least 3-4 weeks worth of meals, I like to do theme nights to make it easier e.g Monday soup night, Tuesday red meat, Wednesday zucchini, Thursday chicken. Pinterest is great for meal ideas and recipes that are easy for hectic or lazy nights (who am I kidding, that’s every night!). Check out this Pinterest board to see what’s on our current meal plan.
Throwing together a meal with kids at your feet after a long day of conversing with toddlers isn’t my idea of fun. I like to include as many slow cooker meals in my meal plans as I can so that every day after the morning rush is over I can throw all the ingredients in the slow cooker and just set and forget.
Schedule in simple self-care for Mums
This might not seem like a good idea when you’re trying to save time but I can’t tell you how important self-care is for a busy Mum! You can’t function as an efficient human being if you don’t fill your cup first.
Just check out these 30 Self-Care Quotes on Good House Keeping for inspiration.
Hire a cleaner! Even if it’s once a week or once a fortnight, just to get the floors and bathroom done so you have more time for you. Here’s a brilliant article on 5 Things Busy Mums should Outsource by Motherpedia
Organise a support group
Other Mum’s who are in the same boat as you may be your most valuable resource! Make a Facebook group or organise with a group of friends to take turns cooking bulk meals to share and do babysitting swap days
Occupy the kids with no-prep activities
Podcasts for kids, no-prep activities, busy boxes are all viable alternatives for babysitters when Mummy needs time to cook, shower, clean or just hide in the cupboard for a sneaky chocolate fix.
Time saving tips for around the house
Free up hours in your weekly schedule by implementing a few simple strategies for saving time around the house.
Organise the family home
You’ve heard all the hype about decluttering but haven’t made the leap, well consider this – less junk lying around means LESS TO CLEAN. Check out The Organised Housewife for all the decluttering tips you’ll ever need.
Make everything you need accessible
We use enough brain power on daily tasks as it is, make it easier for yourself and group things together. Morning smoothies? Put your protein powders and supplements next to your blender (or thermomix), line up your daily supplements, place all the necessary homework stationary in a homework caddy for stressful afternoons.
Organise snacks and utensils for kids
A quick search on Pinterest will find an abundance of clever hacks and ideas to make kids’ snacks, cups, plates and cutlery easy to reach to encourage independence and keep you from having to get up a thousand times to fetch food and drink for the littlies during your morning coffee.
What tips do you have for Mums trying to make more time in their day?
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