For those of you who do not know, I work full time outside of the home. One of the questions I often get is, how do I manage to keep it all together? Not saying I have my act together (because I definitely do NOT) but I have definitely learned a few tips and tricks to keep my days going as smoothly as possible. Some may seem like no brainers, and some are little things that do not seem like a big deal, but totally help me keep my sanity!
1. Have a schedule
We have a pretty strict schedule in our house. We know what works best for us and what works best for our kids, and so we try to stick with what works for us as best as possible. We eat dinner by 5:30pm pretty much every night. Sometimes this means missing out on a dinner out with family or friends, and sometimes it means I am dying for a snack by 8pm, but this early dinnertime allows us to make sur ewe get in everything post-dinner that we need to to make sure our boys are bedtime ready!
2. Shower at night
This might seem silly, but at this stage in life, the morning shower just doesn’t make sense for me. My kids still aren’t predictable in the morning, and while they often will sleep in past 6, there have been many, many mornings where I have had kiddos ready to play by 4:30am. So, the bedtime shower is a way for me to be sure I get to take care of myself and, hello, hygiene, which is obviously kind of important when you have a corporate job 😉
3. Give yourself grace
Some days, I feel like I can never give 100% to everything. There are days that the kids give me a run for my money before the sun is even up, and I have a hard time staying caught up at work, and I then run home and feed my kids chicken nuggets because that is just about all that I have energy for. The reality is, a career is a full time job, and being a mom is a full time job. The ‘second shift’ is a very real thing, and the work never really stops. But some days, I let the laundry pile up, I don’t pick up all of the toys, and I sit on the couch and watch Bachelor in Paradise instead. And, while I love to blog, sometimes something has to give, and if that means this space is put on the backburner from time to time, then so be it.
This one is HUGE when both parents work outside of the home, and again probably seems like a no brainer. But between drop offs, pick ups, changes in work schedules, and house projects that need attention, it is so important that we touch base as much as possible to make sure we are on the same page. Mike has set break times at work, so I always try my best to be somewhat available during that time of day in case there is something we need to be on the same page about.
5. Don’t wait for the weekend
I so often feel tempted to leave all of the house work for the weekend. And sometimes, this is what I do. But let me tell you, nothing feels better than going into the weekend without a mountain of laundry staring you down, or no toilets to be scrubbed. If I ever have a day where I have a little bit of extra energy, I try my best to keep it going, and tackle any little chores that I can. Those weekend days become extra precious when you are go, go, go all weekend!
6. Invest in a little help
We don’t have a housekeeper (wouldn’t that be nice!) but I will say that one of the best things we have gotten recently is our bObi and are SO obsessed with it. I am pretty sure our boys think it is a new pet, but this robotic vacuum is seriously amazing. I can program it to run during the day while we are gone, and I cannot tell you how much takes off of our shoulders to lessen the amount of vacuuming and sweeping we need to do. That little machine may be vacuuming my floors as I sit her typing this cozy under my blanket. There is no shame in investing in something that takes a bit o fthe workload off of you!
7. Invest in yourself, too!
I will be honest, the first thing that tends to get neglected is myself, and our marriage, too. Jobs, kids, and housework so often comes first, but finding the time for little things is so important. Is it half an hour cuddled on the couch watching an episode of The Office? Or some days, like today, I know I need to go for a run to feel good about myself, so I take the time, and usually feel a bit selfish, and do it. I have never invested in myself since becoming a mother and regretted it. I always come home refreshed, thankful, and ready to be a bit better of a mother than I was when I was feeling worn down!
8. Find your support system
This one has been HUGE for us, and I have said so many times I am not sure how we would have survived some stages in life without our amazing support system. We live in our hometown, and both sets of parents and all aunts and uncles are nearby. If we need a breather, or our work schedules are crazy, or if I just need a chat with my mom with a hot cup of coffee, they are always there. If you don’t have family nearby, join a church, or a mommy group, or a softball team, or whatever it takes to find that system that will be there for you when you need it most. I will say it one more time, we owe so much to our families during this crazy season in life.
I hope this gives you some insight as to how we get through this crazy season in life as parents of young kiddos with careers. It is a choice we made for both of us to work, and while it can definitely be hard, to us it is worth it. Whether you are a working mom, stay at home mom, or maybe someone who falls somewhere in between the two, I would love to hear what you do to keep the show running in your home!