Are you a mom that feels overwhelmed on a constant basis? With all the expectations on moms today…taking care of the house and laundry, dealing with kids’ schedules and extra-curricular activities, volunteering and trying to have a social life of her own, today’s mom can often feel burned out.
I have often felt this way…and still do sometimes, if I’m being honest…but by using the tips and ideas in this post, I’ve been able to go from perpetually anxious and cranky, to a more peaceful and loving mom. By learning how moms stay organized, you too can beat overwhelm and really start to enjoy your family.
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Time management for moms
Time management isn’t just for executives working in the corporate world…it’s for moms too! Learning how to manage what your spend your time on can help you feel less busy and like you’re actually getting something done.
Use a planner
Whether you are an old-fashioned girl like me and love paper planners, or like the convenience and ease of a digital planner, it’s important to use one to keep on top of everything.
With so much going on in our family, there is no way that I can remember who has to be where and when, or tell the carpet cleaning company if it’s OK to come on Tuesday.
Writing appointments, activities, birthdays, etc. down (or noting them in a digital calendar), takes a lot of stress off your mind and ensures that you don’t miss anything important.
Make a To-Do List
Writing down everything that you need (or would like) to accomplish each day will also help you be more productive and less forgetful.
My organizing friend Lisa of Organize 365 suggests that you check your planner and write out your to-do list the night before.
Not only is this a good way to “brain dump” everything, but she says that your brain actually starts to work on some of these items while you sleep!
I also feel like it helps me rest easier at night, because my brain isn’t swirling with all these to-dos that I’m afraid that I’ll forget.
Use online tools
There are so many great tools that we can take advantage of to make our lives easier. Instead of running out at the last minute to get a present for your child to take to their friend’s birthday party, you can order it on Amazon, and with Prime, get it shipped right to your house. (Try Amazon Prime for 30-Days for Free).
I also love to do this with home supplies from Grove Collaborative, and even with my groceries, although I do have to pick them up at the store.
Ordering online saves me so much time at the store…and also helps me spend less, because I’m not throwing unnecessary things into my cart 😉
I’m not sure about you, but to me, it seems like we are constantly bombarded with requests to help from everywhere all the time…school PTA, church, and kids’ activities are just a few.
A teacher at my gym recently complained to us that she was asked by the coordinator for her daughter’s sports team to bring turkey sandwiches for the kids to eat in between games at a tournament. But the coordinator didn’t want plain turkey sandwiches…she wanted them to be cut in the shape of and be decorated like tombstones (since the tournament was scheduled near Halloween).
This teacher is a busy working mom, with a full-time job and a part-time job teaching group fitness, and she didn’t have time to make these detailed sandwiches just because some coordinator had an idea that all the food needed to be Halloween-themed. But instead of saying no, or offering to bring plain sandwiches, she felt extremely resentful (even complaining to us about it!) and couldn’t enjoy the tournament.
So let this be your permission to say no. If you don’t have the time, ability, or desire to do something, you don’t have to. When we say yes to requests that we can’t happily fulfill, we not only get stressed, but oftentimes feel resentful that we have to do it.
Am I saying that you never have to help or volunteer? No, not at all. There are obviously many wonderful organizations that need help, and if you can help without stress or resentment, you should help. But saying yes just because someone asked you isn’t always the best choice.
Home management for moms
Now that our schedules are a little more organized, let’s turn our attention to our homes and belongings. Clearing out the clutter and setting some systems in place will help you feel more relaxed and give you a more restful place to relax in!
Meal time can be really stressful for moms, especially because everybody needs to eat 3 times a day, 7 days a week! That’s a lot of food to figure out!
Take the stress off yourself by making a meal plan each week, and a corresponding grocery list. By getting yourself ready for shopping (or online ordering), and you’ll have everything on hand to make dinner each night…and pack lunches for the kids.
For menu planning help, read my post on how to meal plan.
Use the Sunday Basket
The Sunday Basket is the brainchild of my favorite organizing guru, Lisa of Organize 365. You can go to her web site to learn more about this concept, but essentially, the Sunday Basket is a way to collect and organize all the paper that comes into your household.
I keep all my household bills, banking papers, home project papers, forms for school, coupons and the like in this basket on my kitchen counter. Each week you go through the basket, dealing with whatever needs to be filled out, paid or filed away.
It’s a great way to keep on top of important paperwork and to ensure that things don’t get lost!
Clips on the refrigerator
I love this method for keeping my kids’ school papers organized! Again, this idea is from Lisa, and it’s something I do in addition to the Sunday Basket.
Each child has a magnetic clip on the refrigerator that is labeled with their name. When any papers come home from school, I hang them up in the clips until they are needed.
For example, if one of the kids is going on a field trip, I hang up the permission slip until it needs to be turned in. It never gets lost in a big pile of papers or somewhere else in the house.
Sometimes making habits are the best way to help you get things done around the house. One example of this is setting aside specific days on which you do laundry or clean the house.
I’ve been in the habit of doing laundry on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for so long that it has become automatic, and we never have to worry about a certain item of clothing not being washed when it’s wanted.
I also got into the habit of going through my kids’ backpacks immediately after they get home from school. I take out their lunch boxes, put the portable cups and dishes in the dishwasher, and wipe out the box so that it’s ready for the next day. Any papers go right into the clips on the fridge.
This habit pretty much ensures that there are no funny food surprises to be found in their backpacks weeks later, and I don’t have to deal with the lunch box cleaning in the morning when we’re in a hurry to get ready.
One book about creating habits that I found really helpful to me was Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin. If you need help making your own habits, I’d really recommend this book!
Similar to habits, systems are set methods for performing certain tasks.
For example, when I come home from the grocery store with fresh fruit and veggies, my system is to clean out the fridge, pre-wash the fruit and veggies, and then put everything away.
Systems are great because you know all the steps to perform each time, so you can do an activity without thinking too much about it. Which in turn saves time and brain power 🙂
Physically organize your home
You didn’t think we’d get through a post on how moms stay organized without talking about organizing stuff, did you? 😉
Well, the fact is that when your home is clutter-free and organized, not only do you feel less stressed, but you also save yourself a lot of time and energy dealing with stuff and looking for stuff.
Getting your whole house decluttered and organized takes time though, so don’t beat yourself up if you can’t get it all done in one weekend!
You can be an organized mom
By using all the tips and advice mentioned in this post, you can take a lot of stress and worry off your plate, and be able to really enjoy being a mom to your kids.
And they are so worth the effort it takes to get organized, aren’t they? 🙂