Life hacks. We all need them at one point or another as we traverse the wilds of motherhood. Follow along every other month with our Life Hack topics as we talk about everything from schedules to wardrobes, workouts to beauty routines… all in the name of embracing our inviolable worth as women.
Times, they are definitely a-changing because – pandemic or not – the sun continues to rise and set, days turn to weeks turn to months and suddenly we are on the cusp of the time honored tradition of Back to School. No matter what iteration academia takes for your kids this fall, as summer comes to a close and the air begins to crisp around the edges with the green leaves turning to bronze, we find ourselves back at another beginning.
And how refreshing does that feel, especially this year of all years? With the official start of schools happening all over, it is a natural season of change; and an opportunity to reset the schedule in your household. Whether you are a working mom, a stay at home mom (which is still working, am I right?) and everything in between, we could all use a schedule overhaul once in a while.
At the end of the day, we are all trying to do our best to mitigate the chaos of raising a family and shepherding our littles through life. So here are some tips and tricks that might just help smooth out your household rhythm as back-to-school is upon us.
Create a daily schedule… and use it!
But seriously. Take a moment, sit down and write out your family’s daily schedule. It can be in detail, or a general overview. But either way, create a schedule to post where every member of the family can see it. It’s been proven kids thrive when given clear parameters and expectations, so start changing the tone of your family’s rhythm by simply laying out the structure of the day for all to reference.
Taking this idea one step further, try creating your schedule based on your peak times of productivity. People are created so brilliantly unique, it’s only natural some of us love working first thing in the morning, whereas others hit their stride mid-afternoon. And kids are no different. Take that into account when creating your day!
Work on time-consuming tasks in small doses
You don’t have to do everything all at once! Instead, focus on time-batching. If you have 50 emails to read through, give yourself 15 minutes of focused time to get through as many of those messages as you can… and then step away, knowing your next designated time to work on that project will come.
Use those online ordering options
Feeling overwhelmed with facilitating distance learning and keeping your household running? Tired of piling everyone into the car for a market run? Order your groceries and household goods online for either home-delivery or curbside pickup.
Take your errand locations into account
Like time-batching, do the same with your errands. Think about where you are running your errands and if you can knock out more than one thing at a time. Similarly, is there a location that offers more of what you need? For example, even though I live downtown, I often travel to one of my favorite suburbs to run errands because I can hit up Target, Lunds, Barnes & Noble and a number of other stops in the same shopping center parking lot instead of handling the in-and-out-of-the-car-routine 5 different times.
Schedule household chores on specific days
That’s it. Pretty simple. Create a household chore schedule so you know laundry happens on Sundays… dusting can wait until the designated time on Thursday… and so on. You’ll notice your home stays cleaner and more in order overall if you stick with this cyclical routine. And to further help things along, have 10-minute clean up parties throughout the week. Blast a great song, get everyone involved, and see who can “swoop” the most.
Perfect your morning and evening routines
Mornings are hard for a lot of us. In fact, I just can’t understand that special breed of human who jumps right out of bed before the sun rises excited to get after it. But mornings with kids is a must. So think about what you need to accomplish in the mornings and how you can streamline it. Decide what MUST be done in the morning, and what can be completed at another time. Can you shower at night? Can you lay out everyone’s clothes before bedtime? Meal and snack prep? Pack backpacks? See what you can transition to complete the night before to set yourself up for a successful morning. Ask yourself what do YOU need to start your day right?
Overcome the Midweek Mundanes
The middle of the week always feels hard for me. Maybe I’m the only one, but I’m guessing not. I’ve found if I schedule a fun midweek tradition we can all look forward to, it helps with the morale of our entire family. Pizza night Wednesday? Game night? Special story time? “Late” park play? My kids LOVE when we run to the park for a quick 30 minutes after dinner and before bed.
Prioritize your rest and quiet time
Most of us moms are the epicenter of our households. We tend to wear the most hats and really act as the motor keeping things moving forward. With that in mind, it is essential that we prioritize our own rest and quiet time. Even when everything in your body screams to “do something!” and complete this task or handle this or that… make sure to take the time to be quiet and still. (Or not, because kids… ) But at least fine time to focus solely on recharging yourself and being with your family and loved ones. Because that in and of itself is a kind of work. Work on your soul, your spirit, your mind and your heart.
“Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself…” Matthew 6:34
Annie Evelsizer and her husband live in Minneapolis with their two kids. After an extensive tenure working in the fashion industry for a major retailer, Annie opened her own wardrobe styling company, Hudson & Wilde, while also working as a writer and editor. She is passionate about creating community, and she also loves to read, write, drink coffee, exercise, and travel. Connect with her on Instagram @aevelsizer and @hudsonandwilde!