We’ve all been there. 52 things on our To Do list, but only enough time to ideally get to 4 of them.
I used to think this would only be my reality at work. LOL. Have a baby, y’all. That’s when the real fun begins.
People tell me all the time that they don’t know how I do it all. I thrive when I’m overloaded and stressed. Like, I literally cannot function without it. So for me, staying super busy has always been second nature. However, when I added my little lemon to the equation she definitely put a new spin on my routine.
Managing my time now has NOTHING to do with what I want to prioritize, but has ALL to do with what my Little needs. Her priorities are my priorities and my personal wants come last now.
So how do I manage to make sure all of the things still get done even though I’m working 40-60 hours a week between my day job, consulting biz, and this site?
1. I make lists.
Then I make sub-lists. My entire life can be found via my planner, Cozi app, One Note, iPhone Notes, Office 365 calendar, and the physical post-it’s all over my office space. Our family fav is the Cozi app. If you haven’t heard of it, check it out! It’s free to download and easy to use. All of your lists and appointments are shareable with your whole family in real-time. The hubby and I would be lost without it.
2. I have a morning routine.
Every morning I wake up about 20-30 minutes before my husband does and about 45 minutes before our little one gets woken up. This time is simply for me to get ready for work and to prep for my work day. I look at my calendar, the weather, and I check my email before ever leaving my bedroom. That time to plan and organize my day while I do my hair and makeup, all while getting a few minutes of alone time, is something small that allows me to minimize stress, keep my sanity, and manage my time efficiently.
3. I never leave my desk a mess.
I have mild OCD. You can bet that my kitchen, living room and office will ALWAYS be presentable. You just never know when you’ll get a random visitor. More importantly, I make sure my office space is clean and tidy each night before leaving because starting your morning with a cluttered mess does nothing for your productivity level. The average executive wastes one hour each day searching for misplaced information. UHM, WHAT?! Adding avoidable stress to my day is not ideal. If something as simple as making sure my work area is organized is what keeps me sane, then you best believe I’m staying on top of it, girl!
4. Evening prep.
Most people swear by prepping for their week on Sunday’s. Well my friends, I have an infant. Soooo that doesn’t work for our lifestyle. If that works better for you, then do it! What’s important here is that you are actually planning and preparing, not just SAYING you’re going to do it. For me, I prepare for the following day the evening before. This includes:
- Prepping the baby’s bottles for daycare (Why is there not a service for this?!)
- Ensuring her diapers, wipes and spare outfits are pulled and sitting by the door so we don’t forget them
- Preparing my breakfast, snacks and lunch for the next day
- Wrapping up any work I’ve done and making sure my work documents and laptop are also sitting by the door so not to forget them
- Making the hubby his lunch for the next day if there’s leftovers from dinner
- Cleaning the kitchen so that the following evening is a little less stress-filled
- Getting the baby’s outfit and my own pulled for the morning
- Getting coffee cups and water bottles set out to grab n’ go
We’re basic. We don’t follow any crazy meal plans. We don’t have any special dietary needs. We just really like to have a routine in the morning so that our time can be spent worrying about more important things.
5. I over-analyze and over-plan.
Yes, I said OVER-analyze and OVER-plan. I like to rationalize and be prepared for every possible outcome. As a working mom, you have to be prepared for all of the things. You aren’t always going to be there, so you have to ensure that who you’re leaving your Little with has all that they need to care for your baby the way you would if you were there. This could be as simple as dressing her for the 40 degree morning, but making sure to send another outfit because it might end up being 85 and raining by noon. I go as far as making pro-and-con lists for simple situations and events. I’d rather bring 4 prepared bottles and 5 diapers to dinner and only need 1 of each than have my baby be uncomfortable and hungry. As a mom, it’s all about your Little’s!
6. I recognize that I can’t do it all.
If you take nothing else from this, know that as a working mom your time is already limited with your little lemons. The dishes. The laundry. The 5-course homemade dinner. It can wait. You only get a few precious hours with your kiddos each night. Cherish them. I have always thought that I could manage to do it all. After our sweet girl came along, I realized quickly that the mess wasn’t going anywhere, but this phase of her life… oh, it goes by SO fast. I don’t want to miss any second more than I have to.
If you’re a working mom, I feel ya. Some days are just plain HARD. Raising little lemons takes a village. We’re all in this together.