Friday, May 18, 2012

Morning Coffee Date: How to stay afloat as a SAHM

This morning's coffee and a yummy Skinny Taste Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffin

Let's face it - there are perks to being a stay at home mom. And for once, I'm not talking about the monumental gift it is to spend each and every day with your babies. That's perk #1, folks, but not my point today.

What I mean is...well, maybe I don't get out of my pjs every day.

(There's no maybe about it.)

There's no morning rush followed by a stressful gridlock-y hour-long commute (and this USED TO be my life, so I feel qualified to be thankful that it's not anymore!).

I can take mornings SLOWLY! I can sip my coffee, watch the sun slowly stretch across my beautiful acre, witness my boys rub the sleep out of their eyes - sip some more coffee.

The list goes on. And on.

And sometimes? Maybe it's a little hard to STOP taking it slow - or STOP smelling the roses. Honestly - who wants to STOP that? In my pool of life is a wealth of thankfulness, and I am oh-so-HAPPY to just wade in the deep end all day, every day.

Unfortunately, that isn't completely feasible. There's dishes and laundry to do, meals to be made, floors to be swept (and then swept again in an hour), and diapers to change. Among other things.

SO here are MY top 5 tips for being productive as a SAHM - even if you don't always want to!

1. Start your morning with a list. Once the babies are happily munching on their breakfast, I sit down with my coffee and plot out the day. What I DON'T do, is schedule exact times or time slots for things because if there's one thing I've learned about myself over the years is that I do not operate well that way. I hate schedules. Which is probably why I am SO content to not have a job out of the home. What I DO is make a list of all the things I really NEED to get done - both today, and over the next week. I include a bunch of different categories when making my list (house work, appts, errands, craft WIPs, mommy school projects, TMN (I hold 2 volunteer positions for them), and then internet/blog). Then I check my email and my blog roll, do a little reading, respond to what I need to - and revise my list if need be. This really helps set the tone for what you want to accomplish that day, and it feels REALLY good to work from a list that you can continuously check things off from!

2. Put EVERYTHING on your list! I mean it. The tiniest task. Make unloading & loading the dishwasher two different tasks. Include 3 separate instances of switching the laundry around. Write out craft projects in steps. I know this may sound silly, but it is extremely gratifying to check, check, check completed tasks. It really gets your momentum going. Make it EASY to feel accomplished each day!

3. Find an organizational system that works for you. I am one of those "jill of all trades, master of none" types - and I blame this on a mixture of curiosity and a broad capacity for simple enjoyment. So when it comes to organizing my days, I use a collection of things and bring them all together. I use Google calendar, a daily planner (one of these), regular 'ol paper for list making (and BOY do I make lists), and iphone apps (Notes, Reminders, Seize The Day, and Calendar - depends on what I want to accomplish!). If you're more of a block off time slots gal, Google Calendar will be perfect (and you can sync it to your iphone calendar!). Personally, I like the flexibility of old fashioned paper, and then when something becomes concrete, I add it to the calendar.

4. Make it a point to tackle one room a day. It's really hard to get the whole house into shape when I've got two little ones counter-acting my efforts. The only way a whole-house overhaul is possible is when my husband is home and can help me out. So rather than feeling like a failure over the house not being returned to visitor-ready status every day, I set my sights on the one room that needs the most love each day and focus my efforts there. If we've got company coming, it'll most likely be the kitchen or living room. If not, I tackle one of the bedrooms or a bathroom.

5. Find a way to get out of the house. And I mean this in many ways! We have 2 scheduled weekdays that we leave the house: one for grocery shopping, and one for Luke's gym class. But we also like to fit in trips to the library, the mall, craft stores (okay, that one's for me), playgrounds, ect. Though maybe you need a little YOU time? Plan a Mom's Night Out one evening a month, or a weekly coffee date with a friend. Maybe you want to do some garage sale-ing on Saturday morning? Schedule something for yourself! It's easy to feel trapped and overwhelmed if you never get out. You can also look into volunteer work through your church, community efforts, and charitable groups. And one of MY personal favorites - The Mommies Network! Not only can you join local groups for like-minded discussion, you can find playdates and events in your area, AND even apply for a volunteer position. Nothing boosts mommy moral like feeling you have additional purposes in the world!

What helps YOU stay productive each day?

My coffee cup is now empty, and I've got a very busy weekend of gardening ahead of me, so it's time to go and be productive myself. I hope you found something useful in my list of Mommy tips! I'm linking up with Rags to Stitches for Friday coffee!

2 comments:

  1. Good for you for savoring the sunrise and your coffee! I agree that it helps to make lists. When I worked outside of the home, I had a daily to-do list and when I became a SAHM, I felt overwhelmed. I also couldn't remember what I'd done all day when my hubby asked. It's nice to see all the chores and errands written down because it gives me a sense of accomplishment.

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  2. I work from home and I definitely have to make lists of the things I need to do otherwise I just get lost watching Real Housewives of Orange County!
    x Jes, www.twosmuppies.com

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