I hope you find this helpful! Lord knows this mom gig is hardcore, and anything to make it easier is appreciated.
by Krystle K | The Snap Mom
Looking back at your life pre-motherhood is almost comical, isn’t it?
Those “crazy busy” days you used to have look more like a vacation now that you are knee-deep in babies, diapers and the endless to-dos that come with running a household.
After our first pregnancy ended in loss, we knew we wanted to start trying again right away. Then after our rainbow baby arrived, we loved her so much that we got pregnant again when she was only 4 months old (yes on purpose… did your jaw just drop? Haha)!
We went on to conceive baby #3 while our middle child was still 1.
My husband took a little longer to convince this time with baby #3. The reality of two toddlers (one of which was still breastfeeding and sleeping in our bed) was, as I’m sure many of you know, exhausting at times.
Within 5 years my husband and I went from a family of 2 to a family of 5!
Operating a photography business, launching The Snap Mom, being involved at our church and becoming a licensed foster parent had me beyond busy and I constantly felt like I was spinning many plates on top of the daily mom grind.
Survival mode is what would best describe it.
Here I am, 3 children later, and I have finally cracked the code. I was sick of perpetually feeling stressed, stretched thin and like my family was in fight or flight mode because of our overpacked lives.
Here are my 7 Tips to getting your family out of survival mode:
1. Take charge of your time
I was constantly giving my time away. Whether it was to work, events, or whatever, I wasn’t realizing that my time was valuable. I can’t just think of it as mine anymore. As a mother, my time matters and what I do with it counts for everyone. You must learn to say no. MUST. Trying to be everywhere and please everyone will only hurt your family. You must learn to ask yourself “Is this ____ (meeting, job, event, activity) taking away from or giving towards my family and our goals?” I’m not saying be selfish with your life, but I am saying be cognizant of your choices.
2. Go old school
I have been relying on my iPhone for years and it’s really hurt me. Switching to a traditional calendar on my fridge has made a world of difference. Having a visual of the whole month helps me see what’s ahead, plan the week out and stops me from overbooking our days. Get specific when possible – Example:
Mondays are for appointments only, Tuesdays are for groceries and errands, Wednesdays are play-dates, Thursdays are left open and Fridays are for getting things done around the house.
If you have kids in school, this will look a whole lot different but you get the idea.
Which leads me to my next point…
3. You NEED margin
The problem with us moms is we can do everything. Literally. With one hand and no sleep most of the time. But I’m learning that it doesn’t mean we should.
Building margin into our lives allows us to have space for when things don’t go as planned. And if you have even only been a parent for 1 day, you know that things don’t always go as planned. If your days are booked back to back you are setting yourself up for failure AND stress. Give yourself the luxury of space and the gift of margin. You will thank me.
4. You need a budget
So much stress comes from finances, or if you have kids, the lack thereof.
Having kids is expensive! Don’t even get me started on how much I have spent on baby carriers… or how much our ER visits have been. Accidents and car troubles happen and they happen when you can least afford it.
Figure out your finances, sort out a budget, set goals and stick to them. The peace that comes with financial freedom is priceless.
You cannot get out of survival mode if you don’t figure out what your ideal life looks like.
For me it was finding a more appropriate and heathy balance with my work and family (which is why #1 and #3 have been so helpful). I was constantly busy and rushed and feeling like I was behind.
Sit down and ask yourself what areas of your life need improvement, what you are feeling guilty about, and what some goals are that you need to pursue.
6. Meal plan
Dinner is one of the most stressful parts of parenting. How many times have you asked yourself (more like dreaded) what can I cook tonight? After a full day of momming and your kids spiraling into that disastrous 5pm meltdown mode from lack of naps (or is that just my kids??), dinner seems like an uphill journey while blindfolded. Scratch that – an uphill battle.
To avoid this last minute stress (because we are trying to get rid of our stress, remember?) you can meal plan and store up freezer meals so that it’s not even a question of what’s for dinner because it’s already waiting for you. Ahhhhh, seriously this will help so much!
7. Keep the date night holy
It’s too easy to lose your marriage to parenthood. Not sleeping, working hard to provide and having everyday seem like a manic race can put so much distance between you and your spouse. Reconnect and set a date every week (yes, every week) even if it’s a date night in after the kids are FINALLY all sleeping. This date will be kept holy and you both will allow nothing to come between this time. Bottom line:
If you don’t prioritize your marriage, your family will suffer.