Happy 2014, friends!
I hope this year is going to be wonderful, and I hope you are planning on it being wonderful — because as moms, there is a lot of stuff we can’t control in our lives, but setting out a goal, planning for it, and staying aware of a plan might help it be wonderful.
At least, that’s how I’m choosing to see this coming year.
In the wonderfulness, I also see a lot of obstacles on my working mom sanity. New opportunities at work, new work for my husband, PreK instead of Preschool for my son, and our house that always needs work. I foresee a bunch of schedule shuffles around those changes, some penny-pinching, and I like to keep my best foot forward on staying organized and sane this year.
Here are my tried and true, best of the best tips for working moms to keep their sanity this year:
Take care of that body. 1 of 14
Being sick will only add to your stress. Go ahead and schedule your regular health-check appointments for 2014 (dental, gyn, yearly physical). If they're on your calendar, you won't overlap them with meetings and you won't have to cancel and then forget to reschedule. Take care of yourself so you can take care of your family.
Plan outfits at the start of the week. 2 of 14
If I'm going to show up in more than jeans and a sweater and a top knot, I have to plan it. So I make sure everything is ironed and ready for the coming week. I also pack my gym bag and lunches. I want to be sure that I don't have any excuse to fail other than the choice to fail.
Use Dropbox. 3 of 14
This is a picture of my feet because I have no idea what picture to put with this. Sorry. But USE DROPBOX. It's on your phone, it's on your computer, and you can keep every important file at your cloud-immersed fingertips. Everything from daycare paperwork, to pictures, to that project you're working on for work.
Meal plan. 4 of 14
This one has always been a struggle for me until we needed to save heavily on groceries. Suddenly I was meal planning for ALL meals of the week and making them budget-friendly. I've realized that this cuts down on two stress triggers by a) reducing the time and frequency I'm at the grocery store and b) eliminating the "What are we going to eat tonight?" conversation.
Use a crock pot at least once per week. 5 of 14
If you hate crock pots, that's fine. Pick a recipe that takes LESS THAN 10 minutes to prepare at least once per week. For us, it's chili or soup in the crockpot or black bean and rice burritos. These are fantastic for late nights at the office, crappy weather when you're going to just want to be in pajamas, and nights when your kid lives in time out until bedtime.
Stay on top of email. 6 of 14
This is the pot calling the kettle black because I have over six months of unanswered emails. But I am swearing to work on it in 2014. DO NOT let your email get the best of you - answer emails as they come through, instead of opening and closing without a response. File them if no response is required. At worst, "bankrupt" your email by deleting everything and starting over - just let people know that you did it, you love them, and if it was important to please send it again.
Keep your home beautiful. 7 of 14
I don't mean Pinterest-worthy clean at all times, but make a plan for keeping it clean. Maybe you're like me and prefer to pick up throughout the week but do a deep clean on the weekends. Or maybe you prefer a little each day. I'm also a fan of fresh flowers on a clean kitchen table - they can help you overlook the pile of laundry in the corner on the hard days.
Cut the paperwork. 8 of 14
Nothing makes me more twitchy than paperwork. Other than your taxes and titles, there's just not much you need to keep that you can't dig up electronically. Bank statements, insurance papers, terms of service...those can all be pulled up online. If you feel something is to be kept, scan it and file it electronically. You can even scan and file on Dropbox via the Scan Pages app.
Keep a journal. 9 of 14
I know, I just told you to go paperless. But I am a huge fan of keeping a small notebook on me at all times. It's where you'll find my to-do lists, grocery lists, work notes, even blog posts. It's my journal, my planner, my checklist all in one. Some people might find it confusing to have one notebook for all of that, but I love it because it keeps my entire life in one place.
Take time to breathe. 10 of 14
Maybe this looks like meditation for you, or a long bubble bath, or writing in a journal. Maybe it just looks like sitting quietly for five minutes. Deep breath, mom. Let out the stress so you can get on with your day and life.
Drink coffee during the commute. 11 of 14
This is silly, but drinking my coffee on my commute not only makes me take a deep breaths due to enjoying my drink, but it also saves time. I brew my cup directly into my travel mug, so there's no sipping coffee as I get ready. It shaves several minutes off my morning routine and I'm happily caffeinated when I get to work. Plus, the simple routine of it helps keep me centered.
Burn the calories. 12 of 14
You know what stresses me out? My body. It just does and I'm making peace with it, but I've found that working out helps me make peace with my curves. Also, exercise releases endorphins that help wash away the stress of the day. I've found that when I take an hour to go to the gym after work, I might be missing an hour with my son but I'm giving him fantastic quality time with a happy mom when I get home.
Do a toy inventory now. 13 of 14
Each year before and after the holidays, we do a hard toy inventory. If it's broken, we throw it out. If it's not played with, we donate it. If it's too babyish, we pack it away for the next child. It cuts down the clutter both in toy storage and strewn throughout the house during play, plus he can see what he has.
Have a mom cave. 14 of 14
So maybe not a whole room. But just a place for you in the house that is all yours. Maybe it's a desk where you write or a chair where you knit, but devote a space in your home to you. A place to retreat to do what you like to do best because remember, you're more than just a mom. You are YOU.