As I write this, there is a pile of wet clothes in my dryer, my bed is not made, the dishwasher is full (at least the dishes inside are clean this time!), and nary a check mark graces my to-do list. My household productivity has been sorely lacking lately. Do you ever feel like you’re drowning in your responsibilities?
As an organizer that loves to help moms reduce stress from all the STUFF we have to do, it is hard for me to admit that I don’t always have it all together. I feel like I’m telling the world that I am not good at my job. But the reality is that I am good at my job because I live the struggle everyday, just like you.
Just because I love to organize doesn’t mean that I am organized 100% of the time. Where’s the fun in that? What it does mean is that I can recognize where we struggle as moms, and I can take notes and come up with possible solutions to increase our chances of feeling satisfied with our efforts.
Take a look at your to-do list. You may even have more than one! So many things, right? Mine seems miles long. As soon as I cross something off, two more things find their way to The List.
Sometimes it feels as if the list mocks me. It laughs as if it was ever going to be done. Get real lady. There’s always something to clean. Always an errand to run. And laundry? Laundry is forever, friends.
In our current society, we moms are also pressured to look a certain way. Act a certain way. Read the books. Go to the meetings and the playdates. Volunteer for this activity, drive the carpool to that one. Do this many educational activities with the children, and make sure to blog about it.
That’s what everyone else is doing. Isn’t it? There is perfect photographic evidence on Instagram so it must be true. My personal feed is full of Nutella and my kid playing video games, and I’ve worn a version of the same outfit for pretty much the entire month of March, so I’m falling behind on this Super Mom stuff. That’s how it feels anyways. Do you feel the same way?
The Reality of Motherhood Duties
Here’s the truth. We are all doing the best we can with what we have. Our children are loved and cared for. And that’s what really matters.
In order to feel productive we must first understand that there are only two standards to meet. Do your best. Love your children. Everything else is imaginary.
Of course, the pile of laundry is not imaginary, no matter how hard we wish it to be so. So yes, we should try our best to keep up with some housework. (But no one is going to die from it should it not be your first priority!)
How to Get Things Done
Maybe you find it hard to focus when there’s disarray around you. Or perhaps you have a sense of guilt about the household chores being your job and you don’t want to let others in the home down. It’s okay – both of those apply to me.
You can set routines to keep household duties running smoothly so you’re not spinning your wheels day in and day out on the same things. Routines sound strict to people that are easy breezy, but fear not. Routines are not the same as schedules. You probably already have routines going in your life, and you don’t even notice because they’re second nature. Don’t believe me? Try waking up tomorrow and not doing your coffee routine and then get back to me.
I could go into enough detail about my morning routine to make this post a novel, so here’s an abbreviated version:
- Wake up
- Quiet time
- Get dressed
- Start laundry
- Make kid’s lunch
- Feed kid
- School drop off
That’s the stuff that HAS to get done each morning. I could take laundry out if I had to (and I do often). I could take quiet time with my Bible out, but sometimes that is the ONE thing I do for myself on a given day (I do leave it off – a lot, and when I do, I miss it – a lot).
Need some pretty, printable motivation to set up a routine?
Maybe your list of things to do is too long. What would happen if you crossed 5 things off your list without even doing them? I know, you need to do All.The.Things. But do you really? The house will not fall down if you don’t dust this week. The kids will not notice if you don’t make that glittery Queen Elsa play dough you saw on Pinterest. Dog hair on your clothes if you don’t vacuum? Throw a lint roller in your bag.
Take the superfluous stuff off your list to give yourself some breathing room. Now look at the list and circle the top three most important things. These should be things that would really cause issues if they don’t get done. Pay the house note. Go grocery shopping. No clean underwear? One load of laundry, STAT! As long as you complete those priority tasks, anything else you may get to is just gravy.
Another sure-fire way to shorten your to-do list is to stop saying “Yes”. You don’t have to volunteer for everything that comes your way. Your children don’t need to participate in every activity. It is okay to say no. In fact, I would like to work on saying “No” more than I say “Yes.” Shouldn’t the things we agree to do get our full commitment and attention? That is only fair to all those involved. Only you know what is right for you. If you have a hard time knowing when to say ‘No”, I recommend reading The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst.
Lastly, cut yourself some slack! For real. It is high time we stop it with the Momma Guilt. I scoped about this recently, and so many other mommas felt the same way. Why are we so hard on ourselves? Let’s give ourselves a little grace. Forgive yourself when you don’t get everything done that you wished you had gotten done. If you find it hard to forgive yourself for something as trivial as a dusty side table, then ask yourself this: Would you forgive your best friend if her side table was dusty? Of course you would, if you even noticed it in the first place. Forgive!
Keep it Real
Above all else, be kind and true to yourself. Do not try to be someone that you are not comfortable being. Remember, all you have to do is do your best and love your children. That’s all. For everything else, I hope you find these tips helpful or at least reassuring. Creating routines will help you get things done without a second thought. Reducing your workload and saying no to unnecessary commitments will no doubt increase your productivity. Lowering your standards will allow you to forgive yourself and wipe out Momma Guilt. Because after all, no one has time for guilt. There’s laundry to be done!
Remember to grab your free printable!