I am a single working mom of three. Between pre-teen attitudes and toddler melt downs, the days can get very long and stressful at times. As a mom, I am the one that everyone asks for help from, and I find it hard to seek help for myself, whether it is something little, or big. After 10 years of stubborn thoughts that I can do it all myself, I have learned to let go of control on some things, seek help when it is needed instead of overwhelming myself, and sometimes even putting myself first! (Imagine that! #momlife)
Here are 10 things I do that keep my sanity, and keep the household running smoothly (for the most part)
1. I have an occasional cleaner.
This was a big one for me. I did not want to admit that I could not keep up with things myself. I don’t want to feel like, or look like, I am lazy, or that I can’t clean up after my own kids. Yes, a cleaner needs to be worked into the budget, but it is SO worth it. I do not have a maid, I have someone that comes in to help me with little things 1-3 times a month, and here is why. When we have busy days, off schedule days (which is most days when you have a 2 year old), extra work, people over, sick kids, lazy kids, extra laundry, etc etc etc – house upkeep often gets put on the back burner. After just a couple days in a row of this, when there are three kids in the house and only one adult that cleans, it can get stress-fully overwhelming. Having someone come in to help get a kick start to the cleaning takes the stress and anxiety of the to-do list away, and helps put me back on track for my weekly cleaning chores that more often than not, get neglected.
Suggestion on cleaners: Find someone with a legitimate business. There is no point of trying to relieve your stress if you end up having to worry about someone stealing from you, or not showing up at all. Someone that has an actual page with open reviews, so you can see others’ experiences, references, etc is a great idea. Remember, if you are hiring someone for minimum wage, you’re going to get a minimum wage job done, and may have to re-do the cleaning yourself. Miss Stephanie Moniz is my cleaner, she comes highly recommended
2. I get my eyelashes done.
This might seem like its superficial or unneccessary, but it is really important to me. First of all, every woman needs to have something for herself that makes her feel good. This is definitely mine. I do not have time (or the talent, to be honest) to put on make up every day. I don’t like spending the day looking like I just crawled out of bed, either. Eyelash extensions means you go to bed, and wake up looking like you put yourself together, with no effort at all. They last 2-3 weeks before they start to shed at all, and you need a fill, which is priceless to me, because not only is it less for me to do in the morning, but I feel pretty. And it isn’t something I even need to think about until my next appointment.
Suggestion for eyelash extensions: Make sure it is a professional with certification. They are working on your eyes. If they have cheap products or are not trained properly, this can lead to eye infections and more. Home salons are perfectly safe, as long as the technician has had training. Salons are great too, but they tend to be quite a bit more expensive. If you are close to the north end, my recommendation is Lash Out by Michelle, she has great attention to detail and makes sure her clients leave happy.
3. My own snacks
This is an absolute must in my house. We have the pantry, which is all of our snacks, school and otherwise – also known to be the junk cupboard. But I have a secret stash in a higher cupboard that the kids can’t reach and don’t know about (and don’t need to know about), that has my favorites. These are the after-the-kids-are-in-bed snacks that I can enjoy alone without someone asking me if they can have a bite (or 3/4 of it!) – and I know that when I go for another cookie, the box isn’t in the cupboard empty like the pantry tends to be because someone is too lazy to throw out the box… #lifewithkids See an amazing Canadian Candy subscription that no one is making you share (lol) as shown in this photo, HERE
4. Adult Talk
Whether it is after the kids have been dropped off at school and the toddler is occupied, at nap time, or when the kids are in bed, I make sure to have at least 10 minutes of uninterrupted adult talk. I don’t have any other adults in my house, so to me, this means a phone call. Some days I just want to relax and be alone in the quiet, but for my own mental health, I make a point to call one of my friends, my sister, my mom – anyone – to talk. And not about the kids! To talk about life, current events, and anything non potty-training related. It does wonders.
5. Having dinner outside of our house
At least once a week, we have dinner somewhere else. This one might just be a must for me, because I am the only adult in the house. We make a point to go over to my sister’s house, my parent’s house, a friend’s, or just out to a family restaurant at least one day a week. This takes the pressure off of meal planing every day, and also gives the kids a chance to exercise their dinner table manners that sometimes slack when we are at home. It also gives mom more adult conversation and is a great way to get out of the house.
I LOVE the Mom Calendar, it is one of my favorites. You can buy them at Staples or Walmart, they hang right on the fridge with the magnet back. They come with themed stickers so the kids can have fun marking dates, too. We write down all of the PD days, extra curricular activities, dinner dates, and birthday parties. That way, I don’t forget certain commitments, and the older kids know what is going on ahead of time as well. I also have Google Calendars downloaded on my phone, I can write down my own appointments, commitments, etc and I have a reminder notification sent to my phone 30 minutes before I am supposed to be somewhere as a reminder. It’s great to have on the go, when I am making plans but am not at home to look at my Mom calendar on the fridge, so there is no overlapping of plans.
7. Walmart Online
I order from Walmart quite a bit. Once every 2 weeks, I go online and order the big stuff – toilet paper, paper towel, pull ups, socks, stationary stuff, sometimes even PJs/clothes for the kids. Anything non-parishable that would otherwise need to be bought, bagged and brought into the house (in one ridiculous trip, of course, because who wants to make two trips from the car into the house, no matter how many bags…) – and they deliver right to your house within days, and shipping is free if you order over $50. I would be buying those items anyway, why not have them delivered and not have to walk around looking for them in person? Love online shopping.
8. The bed time questions
Bedtime can take forever. The toddler takes long enough to settle in – when you add 147 ridiculous questions from the two older kids that they only thought of right when they are being tucked in, it can extend like crazy. I read an article not too long ago where the mom allowed the same amount of questions as the child’s age once they are in bed. (so 5 questions max for a 5 year old) and it works wonderfully! That way, the kids don’t feel like they are being cut short, and at the same time, stops them from taking advantage of bed time questions to avoid going to sleep on time. After the question period, it is sleep time and mom can sit down in quiet for the first time all day!
9. Mom time
This for me is usually right after the kids are in bed. I work from home and a lot of emails, inquiries, deadlines, etc are all responded to and met late at night, when I have uninterrupted time. It is so tempting to get right to it as soon as I can, but I end up working until I am tired and go to bed with no down time. There is also the bed time clean up – the towels left on the floor, finishing laundry, dishes, you name it – if you want it to be clean for more than 5 minutes, it’s usually done when the kids aren’t turning it upside down as soon as you turn around – and after bedtime seems to fit this mold. This doesn’t give me any time to actually relax. I make a point to just sit and relax for at least a half an hour. This can mean scrolling through my Facebook feed, watching an episode of my favorite show, playing a game, talking on the phone, or just sitting down and enjoying the quiet. Leaves me refreshed and doesn’t make me feel like I’m constantly on the go every minute that I am awake.
10. Being present
Mom life can get crazy. If it’s not driving the kids to school or sports, its cooking, cleaning, catching up on work, answering messages, making sure homework is done, intervening as necessary in the kids’ arguments over who looked at who the wrong way, baby proofing every corner of the house, diapers, appointments, the list never ends. Sometimes we just need to take 15 minutes to put the phone away, forget the schedule, stop tidying up every few minutes, and just be present with our kids and enjoy watching them play, learn, and just be kids. Those memories are the ones that will stay with you forever. The toys can be picked up later, the text messages can wait. Just a little bit of time to enjoy the beautiful thing that motherhood is, makes all the difference – after all, this is what we are driving ourselves crazy for all day – our wonderful children.
See our Treat Yourself article for some great ideas for Moms to do something for themselves!
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