Life with children is chaotic. Whether you have one or five children, it is sometimes hard to keep your head above water. That is where our family has been lately. Being a high school teacher, I just started back to school. I am adjusting from being a stay-at-home-mom over the summer to a working mom again. Three weeks in, we are still fine-tuning our routines and trying to find systems that work. However, even over the summer, we had a hard time getting ahead in project, housework, and meal-planning.
Amidst all of this, it has been hard to fit in quality family time. Here are some things you can do (and that we are beginning to do) to help settle some of the chaos and find that time for family:
Get those morning and evening routines down.
Having a well-oiled morning routine will set the tone for the rest of your day. When you are rushed, you tend to overlook or forget things. Give yourself plenty of time. Maybe set your alarm 15-minutes earlier to give yourself time to enjoy a cup of coffee and get mentally prepared for the morning.
A good morning routine begins with a better evening routine. Set up your day but getting it ready the night before. Lay out clothes. Find your car keys before you go to bed. Make an outline of what the next day will look like. These things will help the next morning and day run more smoothly.
Work smarter not harder when it comes to meal-planning.
Making a meal calendar is something most of us are probably familiar with. Making meal-planning easier goes beyond writing down what you plan to eat each day this week. Make those meals you are planning easier on yourself. Use the weekend to prep some freezer meals for the week that will have you spending less time cooking and more time with your family on those short weekday nights.
Have some great slow-cooker meals ready to go too! These have your house smelling great when you come home AND dinner is ready! It is a win-win!
Another way to save time is ordering from a food-delivery service like Schwan’s. Their food is quick to prepare, and it saves time on grocery shopping. For the family on the go-this is a great time-saver. Plus their food is delicious!
Make a cleaning calendar that DOESN’T include the weekends.
The weekends seem like the perfect time to get caught up on housework. It wasn’t until we were using the Fly Lady system a few months ago that I considered changing that mindset. Fly Lady points out that weekends should be reserved for family time.
So how do you make that happen? Have a set calendar of cleaning tasks you will accomplish during the week. Focus on a different area of the house each week. I use the Fly Lady system because it already lays it all out for us. Each week focuses on a different “zone” (area of the house), and each day we are provided with a different set of tasks in that zone, on top of some just general maintenance in other parts of the house.
Have a detailed cleaning calendar like Fly Lady, or any other system you use will make housework manageable, and leave your weekends for family time!
Make exercise a family activity.
Can you turn your workouts into a family activity? Go for a walk as family. Dance in the living room together. Go to the park and run around. Play a game in the backyard. Anything that gets you up and moving together is great for everyone, and reduces some of the time you will need to spend in the gym away from each other. Although, that me-time is the gym to de-stress is just as important!
Have to-do lists ready.
Always have a to-do list ready for the next day. It feel so good when you cross items off!
Another to-do list I recommend is one with house-projects. Prioritize this list from the most to least important. This list won’t get checked off as quickly, but when you have a little extra money and time, you won’t have to spend time thinking about what to do.
Another great list to always have in view is your Family Bucket List. We like to do this by season. We make a list of all the things we want to do during that season. If we are ever looking for something to do, we just look at what we haven’t done on our list yet!
Plan out your weekends in advance.
When you have a Family Bucket List, one great way to tackle it is to play your weekends in advance. Check out a family events calendar, like the one at Northeast Ohio Parent, to see what is coming up in the next few months. Add those events you want to attend to your calendar and stick to them like you would any other appointment.
Remember that everything else can wait.
Always remember, all that other stuff can wait. The moments with your kids can’t. They grow up too fast, and we want to be able to capture as many great memories as we can before we miss it!
What are some tips you have to help to day run smoothly?