Summertime and the livin’ is easy… unless you’re working from home. My kids do not go to camp all summer long, so I spend my summers trying to balance my work committments and keeping my kids occupied. To give you an idea of what I’m working with, my kids are 10, 8 and 5 years old. The playground is across the street from our house, and we have a pool in our neighborhood, but our backyard is the size of a postage stamp. I’m fortunate to live in a neighbhorhood where I feel safe letting my kids ride their bikes or scooters on their own, with the big ones keeping an eye on my little guy. Keeping the kids safe while letting them be independent is one of my goals this summer. Here’s my Working Mom’s Guide to Keeping Kids Safe This Summer!
We all live busy lives. If you are a working mom, your time is extremely limited. Between work and kids’ schedules, you barely have a second for yourself.
As someone who loves to organize, I have a list of things that need to be organized but how am I going to find time to do it? I have a husband, kids, and full-time job. After a long day of work, I want to spend time with my husband and kids, not organizing.
One thing I’ve concluded about organizing, especially after having kids, is that it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Let me repeat, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
That is something I’ve finally come to terms with, I’ve saved quite a bit of time with organizing projects by not trying to perfect them. Sure, I want it to be nice and pretty but if something isn’t working out the way it’s supposed to, I find another solution. More time is wasted trying to make it work. It’s like trying to squeeze into a pair of jeans that don’t fit anymore.
Pinterest and other social media outlets have these beautifully organized homes and spaces. They are great to look at and an inspiration but you can easily get frustrated with it because our home doesn’t look the way it’s supposed to. Can you say, #PinterestFail?
Taking on an organizing project can be a daunting task especially if you don’t love it. It’s hard to finish while eating up too much of your time. I love to organize and even I’ve felt like that a few times.
Here are my 7 strategies for organizing when you’re in a time crunch
Make an appointment in your calendar to get the project done. I resisted this for years because I thought I had the willpower. It’s so much more powerful, and more likely to happen when it’s actually scheduled.
Make a List
Knowing all of your organizing projects will help you decide which ones to tackle first. Take the time to sit down and make a list of small organizing projects. Some examples would be the junk drawer, a kitchen drawer, a clothing drawer, the bathroom vanity and so on. Estimate how long each project will take– 5 minutes, 10 minutes, whatever. Overestimate time for each project because it usually takes longer than you think!
Take one organizing project per day that is relative to your day and tasks
Let’s take a clothing drawer, for example. Let’s say you wore a specific shirt that day and just have gotten home from work and are changing out of your work clothes and are putting that shirt away. If you see that the drawer that that shirt belongs to is pretty unorganized, take a minute or two to organize it. Instead of tackling the entire dresser, you tackle just the drawer. Work each drawer each day. Think about it this way: if you have 5 drawers to your dresser, then in 5 days your dresser will be organized. Another example would be the drawer or cabinat where you keep your food storage containers. Lids and containers are all jumbled up and piled up on each other. The next time you unload the dishwasher, take a few minutes to corral all the lids, and stack all the containers before putting clean ones away.
Set a Timer
Using a timer will keep you on task and motivate you to get the project done before the timer goes off. There’s no sense of urgency when a timer isn’t set. If you’ve ever played sports, the clock is always going down. If you’re not winning and there’s not much time left, it’s time to step it up a notch and give it your all. A lot of people swear by the Pomodoro Method. Set a timer for 25 minutes and work on one task for that 25 minutes, then take a short break. After you’ve done this four time, take a longer break–20 or 30 minutes.
There are a few ways to purge. You can set an empty box in each room in your house and that can be the box for things you don’t need or don’t know where they belong. When you are putting away utensils from the dishwasher, you can look at your utensil drawer or storage holder and see what you used. If you haven’t used it in awhile, put it in the box. The same strategy applies to clothing–as you are folding laundry, put aside things that are torn or outgrown, and get rid of them.
Ask a Friend To Help
When you have an accountability partner, you are more likely to complete the task. No one likes standing up a friend. Offer up some pizza, coffee, or wine for a little added incentive. It’s also a great time to catch up if you haven’t seen each other in awhile. Friends like helping friends. This is a great strategy for those organizing tasks where you don’t have to concentrate too hard, like organizing the kids’ playroom.
Turn off the Notifications
Our smartphones have become one of the biggest time distractors of all time. Sure, they are very convenient and do make our lives easier but they also have become a huge interruption in our day. I read a few years ago the average person looks at their smartphone 150 times a day! I’m sure that number has increased by now but that’s absolutely insane. Turn off the notifications and check your phone when it’s convenient for you. Better yet, schedule time on your calendar for checking in with social media and checking email.
Taking the time to get organized has big benefits like reducing your stress, increasing productivity and decreasing the amount of time you spend looking for something you need.
Make a plan to get organized. Now, go work that plan!
Marie Jackson is an innate organizer and planner, a working mom of two with a third on the way and a ten year veteran of corporate America. The Organized Planner was created for the working mom to help manage and organize her personal and work life. Organized Marie is a place for working moms to create simple, everyday organizing solutions for their home. Every working mom can have an organized, stress-free home. http://organizedmarie.com
When you become an entrepreneur, there are ultimately two roles you take on in the beginning: the leader and the manager. It can be a lonely experience, and you can feel like you do a lot of work without it being noticed. Sound familiar? As moms, we tend to feel the same, don’t we? Not only do we share similar feelings but we can look at our job taking care of our family and home the same ways as an entrepreneur does a business. Let’s be real…it is a business. I like to say that we are moms by identity and Chief Household Officers by job. So, let’s dive in and explore these roles we take on as entrepreneurs of our homes.
The Leader: “I have a dream…”
As moms, we are a leader in our home. We purposefully plan our days, weeks, and months, make decisions about what is best for our family, decide how we will spend our time, and create a schedule for how things will run in our home. Problems occur in this role when we don’t stop to think about what is important to us. What are our values? What is our family’s mission statement? Once we have answers to these questions, we can truly plan with purpose. We can create schedules and routines that make sense to our family. We can plan activities with those who matter to us and do things that help us grow. Without recognizing our role as leaders in the home and taking time out weekly to focus on this role we limit ourselves to only putting out fires on a regular basis. I don’t know about you, but I would like to do more than be a firefighter all day!
The Manager: “Whistle while you work…”
This is the part of being a CHO I find that either moms love or hate. Very few are in the middle. The manager gets the housework done, deals with crises that come, and ultimately puts into action the plans that were made. Just like in the workplace when we have a full inbox that we must attend to or meetings with co-workers that we can’t stand, the tasks of taking care of a home and family can be frustrating. Procrastination creeps up and we feel overwhelmed when we look at all the items we need to do. The couch becomes our friend. This is where the leader’s plan and vision for the family come in to play. If what is important to me is that anyone who comes into my home feels comfortable and welcome, and this includes my partner, my kids, and me, then I want to take care of my home to achieve this goal. I will declutter, clean, and create a space that matches my vision. If my vision for myself is that I am calm and able to handle stress with a clear mind, then as a manager I want to get things done immediately rather than put them off. The manager part of the job is the backbone. Without it, we just have a bunch of ideas and no one getting them done.
What can I do?
You may say, “This sounds good, Katie, but I don’t have a clue where to start.” I understand and you are not alone. I talk to moms on a regular basis who want things to change but don’t know how to find the time or energy to do so. I always say that change happens when you are at your wits end with how things are currently going. With this in mind, I created a 45 day program for full and part-time stay at home moms to learn about their job as a Chief Household Officer and make it work for them. The From Stay at Home Mom to Chief Household Officer program is designed to motivate and support you in being a happier mom and stronger CHO. We also explore issues like feeling unappreciated and taking care of you. Instead of having a pity party about it together, I give you tools to improve how you feel about yourself and what you do. I am watching this program change the way moms think, take action, and on top of that improve relationships in their homes in the process.
Not sure you are ready for a program? I understand. It can be overwhelming to put one more thing on your plate so let me give you some tips to improve your situation now.
- Pick one night this coming week and put it on your calendar as a planning night.
- When the kids are finally in bed, DO NOT sit on your couch. Go straight to a desk or your dining room table with paper and pen.
- Write down what matters to you, what is important to your family, and what you want to change about your current situation.
- Then, start to plan the week in a way that changes what you are unhappy with and focuses on what matters most. Once the week starts, keep this mindset that you want to improve how things are and not stay at status quo.
If you get to the end of that night and have questions, don’t worry! You can write me and ask any question you may have. I encourage you to check out the program at http://fromsahmtocho.com/ and sign up to receive emails with tips and updates. I have free webinars from time to time that support moms in growing as Chief Household Officers. You are doing a great job as a mom! Let me help you rock being a CHO as well!
Katie Rössler is a licensed professional counselor from the United States living in Germany. She has over 10 years experience working with individuals, couples and families on improving their lives and relationships. She also is the creator of the From Stay at Home Mom to Chief Household Officer program (http://fromsahmtocho.com/) which teaches and empowers mothers who stay at home full or part-time to run their households like entrepreneurs do a business.
As a work at home mom, you’ve pretty much got the work thing down. Or at least you’re working on getting it down. You’re marketing and connecting. You’re making waves in the online world and rocking it.
But I know for me, when my kids were acting out, it could throw off my entire day. It was even worse if I’ve scolded them a little too harshly or lost it for something small. I would feel bad, apologize, and then I would silently question whether or not I’ve messed them up for life. No matter how on top of my work game I’m feeling, when I’m not mom-ing right, it can become a whole “thing.” It has the ability to change my mood in a heartbeat. And then everything starts to go downhill from there.
And it makes sense that your kids can throw you off track. Being a mom is the most important job you have. The first part of mompreneur is “mom” after all. And that’s why, when you feel like you’re not nailing the mom part of your life, it can start to affect everything else.
I’ll be honest– overcoming the fighting, tantrums and mom guilt, and having a system where you’re not screaming at your kids when they’re annoying you isn’t about trial and error. Sure, you could do a Google search and come up with hundreds of ideas, charts and checklists. But unless it’s tailored to your kid and your family, there’s still a 50/50 chance it won’t work, and you’ll back to square one trying to find a solution that will work.
Instead, go with something that does work. Something that make sense for your child. To help you, here are 3 steps that will help you set up a system that will help eliminate the ourbursts and tantrums from your kids, and the yelling and mom guilt from you.
Step 1: Conquer your own mindset
We start here, because it’s the most important part of managing any situation. You can’t always control how your kids are going to act, or react, but you have a much better chance of controlling your own actions. And let me tell you, your own reaction plays a HUGE part in the harmony of your household. Think about it. When your kids are acting out, you tend to get frustrated. And they get more upset, and then so do you. Next thing you know, everyone is upset.
Or if your kids are being too noisy, or they’re fighting, you start to yell at them. Then what happens? They get more upset and then the situation escalates.
So this step is about calming your own reactions of anger and frustration, and not letting yourself get so aggravated. If you find yourself getting upset at your kids often, first of all, you’re not the only one, and second, you can change it. Once you start to understand WHY you react in certain ways, you can start to change it.
My suggestion is to journal. Even if you’ve never journaled before. Or if journaling is too woo woo for you, call it free writing. Start by writing down what you’d like to change most about yourself as a parent. Be honest with yourself.
What do you wish you didn’t do?
What habit do you want to break?
When do you get the most down on yourself?
Then dive a little deeper into the root cause of that action. What are the kids doing that trigger your negative reaction? Is that related to something else you’ve experienced in the past? Think of the feelings you’re feeling and the frustrations that come up. When have you felt something similar?
Reflecting on your responses should give you a good starting point and a glimpse into what is going on in your head.
Step 2: Understand your child
Once you have a better understanding of yourself, and more control of your own actions in heated situations, you can start to understand your own child.
The best thing you can do is simply to pay attention.
Also, think about the most heated arguments, the biggest blowups. When do they happen? What else is going on? How does your child act? Does there seem to be a common thread?
The answers to these questions (and more) will give you look into your child’s mind and see what’s going on. Almost every tear, scream, tantrum or fit stems from some sort of emotion. Your child could be angry, tired, frustrated, overwhelmed, hungry.
When you start to look at the cause of the behavior and not the behavior itself, you can start to proactively handle them.
Step 3: Find rewards and discipline that fit each child
Each child is different. What works for one child may not work for another. Or even what works for your first child may not work for your second child, and so on.
Unfortunately, this can lead to a lot of trial and error when it comes to finding discipline methods that stick.
Luckily, once you understand your child a bit better, you can choose routines, rewards and consequences that make sense for your child.
To create a discipline system that works, think of what will impact your child the most. There’s no sense in implementing time out as a punishment when your child craves alone time. Or taking away items won’t work if your kids doesn’t value their things.
Likewise, creating reward systems that work is very similar. What will your child love the most? For some kids it’s their favorite treat. For others it can be extra quality time with you.
Also, some kids do well with charts and stickers, others not so much. Creating routines, systems and of course punishments (though I’m not a fan of this word at all) and rewards that your kids are happy to abide by.
As a mompreneur, you wear a lot of hats. You’re an amazing entrepreneur, homemaker and parent. But I know that when you’re not feeling on top of your mom game, it can bring your entire life down. Because your kids take first position in your mind …. always. By using these 3 steps, you can start to get a handle on your own mindset and reactions, understand your children so you can contain their behavior and create systems in your household that will help it stay calm and run smoothly.
The Whole Mompreneur Virtual Summit
28 experts, 5 days. Let’s nourish and empower the soul behind your family and your business! As a mompreneur, we tend to go all in when it comes to our business. But there is so much more to us than just being savvy business women.
We’re women. We’re moms.
This summit aims to nourish and empower all areas of the wonderful women we are, and do it all with ease!
Oh, moms! Summer is HERE. Whether your kids are going to mommy camp or day camp, you’ll likely find yourself with plenty of hours to fill. Let’s be real– the “summer reading challenge” at the library is only going to take you so far. Letting them watch endless TV is extremely tempting but you know, in your heart of hearts, you need to get them off the couch, especially if you want them to go to bed before the sun goes down! (Summer survival tip numero uno: wear ’em out!)
Here’s Mom Life Collective’s round-up of summer activities to fill your kid’s cup and have fun with your kids this summer.
3 Exciting Ice Cube Activities
Who doesn’t have ice cubes handy? This activity from Red Crayon Imagination requires minimal effort and incorporates early childhood concepts as they play. As the weather warms up, moms everywhere are looking for fun activities to keep their kids cool. This minimally messy activity is perfect for indoor or outdoor play for children ages 12 months through 5th grade. It requires almost no prep work making it easy and fun for the whole family!
9 of the Best Rainy Day Activities for Kids
Some of you have been a verrrrry rainy spring, which may not bode well for the summer days ahead. Be prepared for those rainy days with 9 of the Best Rainy Day Activities for Kids, from The Professional Mom Project.
Free Summer Activities for Kids
Keeping the kids entertained during summer vacation can easily add up (daily ice cream cones, I’m looking at you) but there’s plenty to do that is free. Hodgepodge Moments’ list of free summer activities to do with your kids will help you hit your summer bucket list without busting your budget.
The Advantage of Adventures Outdoors with your Children
You might be outside a lot during the summer but how much are you actually exploring the great outdoors? Enjoy summer at its’ finest by escaping to the woods. A hike is so much more than a hike, as Adventures of Abby Girl demonstrates in this post.
Homemade Bouncing Bubbles
Personally, I think the best way to avoid the summer slide is to have fun with science. Bonus points if it includes items that you probably already have in your house! This bubble recipe from A Little Pinch of Perfect uses only three ingredients, and no glycerin or corn syrup.
DIY Solar Oven
You don’t have to go camping to get your fill of s’mores. Kick up the fun a notch with a STEM twist on the gooey treat by cooking the s’mores in a solar oven. Kiwi Co. Corner tells you how to do it.
Encourage Independent Play
In my research for this post, I legit googled “How to Get Kids To Leave You Alone During Summer Vacation.” In all seriousness, though, we need some downtime and we can’t always resort to plopping kids in front of the TV or you know…just ignoring them! If you’ve got a toddler, check out these ideas from Lazy Mom’s Blog. If your kiddos are a bit older, these Quiet Time boxes from Teaching Mama are genius.