As the new year gets into full swing, the holidays come to an end, little ones start out at playgroups, kindergarten, schools or high school (or in my case all of the above), we start thinking about the organised and smooth sailing ship we are going to steer out of the somewhat bumpy and treacherous conditions of years or months gone by.
I have recently had quite a few emails asking me how I manage to stay organised,
remain appear in control and fit everything in, whist keeping a busy household of 7 ticking along.
Firstly let me say, it is not always organised (teachers reading this will know I have lost the odd excursion notice or forgotten the time of a training session) and I am not always completely calm and in control (my kids will vouch for this). I do think however, to get through many of the things I set out for myself, time and experience have taught me a thing or two about keeping it all moving along with minimal stress.
To help remind myself, and to help any of you a little apprehensive about how to tackle the year ahead, I have outlined some of the things I attempt to do regularly to ensure a greater chance of remaining sane and relatively calm whilst still achieving
all some of what I need.
Luckily for me, I am able to get up early before the rest of the house and go on a quick walk before my husband leaves for work. This is the time I go over in my head what needs to be accomplished that day and the order I will do it all in (obviously this needs to be flexible however, as things often change at the last minute….kids needs to be picked up from school with a bump to the head, one falls asleep just when you were going to do the groceries etc). Trying to get some form of exercise at any time however is important not just for physical health but for a bit of ‘me’ time too.
My morning routine is crucial to start the day off on a positive note. One of the first posts I wrote was about Morning Routines:Getting to school without the nagging and yelling…and it is still something I adhere to and has worked well for me. If however, the morning routine goes belly up, it is important to regroup and move on. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that it will more than likely be different tomorrow. If it isn’t, have a look at what is going wrong and set about finding a better way.
Something I am determined to keep up this year as it has so many benefits. It saves me money by visiting the supermarket less and saves on food wastage. It also means there is less chance of buying last minute take away meals that are obviously more expensive and less nutritious. And it definitely saves on stress levels. Nobody likes getting to 4pm and having to think what to cook for dinner! This year I will have a rotation of 4 weeks worth of meals. Remember to keep in mind what activities you have on particular nights of the week so you are not trying to cook a roast when you all get home from footy training at 6.30pm. And look ahead each week to see what you have on and what needs to be tweaked to make the meal planning work. Some people I know work with a theme, such as roast Monday, stir fry Tues, Slow cooker Wednesday, Pasta thursday etc and just change the version of these meals. Find something that works for your family and once you have it set up it will be one less thing to worry about each week. (you probably still have to cook it though!)
I don’t mean employing a full time cleaner here, although that would be nice, but there are other small ways you can keep on top of housework before it gets out of control!
Get the kids to help! There are plenty of things you are probably doing that could just as easily be done by the kids. I wrote about this early on in What are you doing for your kids that they could be doing for themselves? I have noticed a big difference with the things my 3 year old does for his age in comparison to what my older boys did. This time around (parenting the younger 2 as opposed to the older 3), I have been far more conscious of this. As a result the 3 year old never leaves a table without taking his plate to the dishwasher, he makes his own bed and cleans up any spills. I never put as much expectations on the older boys when they were little, so subsequently they needed a lot more training to get out of early lazy habits!
These couple of tips I read a while ago from Nicole at Planning with Kids and they are really effective.
Never leaving a room empty handed: Every time you go upstairs or to the other end of the house or to the laundry, do a quick scan to see if there is something you can take with you (or put in the bin). It is amazing how many things get moved from room to room or out of place that ends up looking like clutter.
Nightly Reset: This is another idea that means doing a quick ‘reset’ of the house before you go to bed to ensure you are starting with a clean slate. Pick up the clutter, (get kids used to putting away toys at the end of the day) and scan the room for ‘stuff’ that doesn’t need to be there. Sounds boring but much less stressful to do a little every night.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
I know this kind of sounds a little cliched but I really think that if experience has taught me anything…..it is to step back and look at the bigger picture. When I look at some mums and the things they stress about (which of course I did too first time around) I just want to say to them….”hey…it doesn’t matter”. If you miss the kids reader one night they will still be OK. If you put the same movie on twice because they are happy lying on the couch watching it…well then that is OK too. There will be other days to feed them a nutritious lunch, read their stories, do a craft project or build a lego construction. Cut yourself some slack, be content that for the most part you are doing a great job…..and you are far more likely to enjoy a stress
free less household.
Sometimes little changes can make a big difference, so work out the biggest challenges you face, and set about implementing ways to make happen more smoothly.
When all else fails, take heed of the above quote “Sometimes the most important thing we do in a whole day is the rest we take between two breaths” Ellie Hellisum
As well as Nicole at Planning With Kids, Simone at The Organised Housewife also has plenty of tips, charts and great ideas to help keep you organised and Lou from Smarty Pants Kids has some gorgeous family organisers, roster charts and routine printables to keep you on top of everything.
Do you have any other tips that help keep you on top of things? Or what do you think you could do better?