This week I am writing about my life as a work at home mom and my recent journey to make time to do the things I need to do as well the things I want to do each week. As a mom, I am getting busier and busier (I have started working several jobs within a month’s time). When I started this blog I was feeling stretched thin and like I needed to budget my time more wisely so not only do I do a lot of writing but I have been busy making sure the blog looks good and functions properly. I work part time, have recently started volunteering and go to two moms groups . I cut some things out and took the steps detailed in this post. If you are feeling overwhelmed, I hope some of these tips help you.
How I manage my time as a busy mom
I recently started doing direct sales with Trades of Hope. I never thought I would do this but I love that Trades of Hope is empowering women out of poverty all over the world by selling their beautiful products. I love being able to work from home and get a chance to get out of the house for home parties. I love not having to worry about full time childcare for my son. I love having a flexible schedule which allows me to do things that I love (like meeting up with friends or doing ministry).
I also work as a weekend house parent at a home for teen moms. This is a dream job for me and with my flexible schedule this is perfect for me right now. I’ve mentioned before how I want to become a postpartum doula to help teen moms.
Tips for managing your time as a busy mom
For the longest time, I fought against making a schedule for myself. I was afraid that it would stifle my creativity but I wasn’t getting anything done. It is hard to have a schedule with a child who can be very unpredictable. He likes routines but a strict schedule does not work with him. Toddlers are unpredictable– as I was writing this I had to pause to change his poopy diaper (now that he is not in diapers he still needs help with going potty).
Creating a routine is a good start to managing your time. The routine below was created several months ago and our life has chnaged quite a bit since then. After reading Creating Family Rhythm on The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking, I created a routine for my son and I. This was based on our natural rhythm. I used three note cards to write out my routine, one for morning, and one for evening. Think of all of the things you want to do each day and write them on the appropriate note card or section of paper.
Routines are perfect for stay at home moms who don’t need a very strict schedule.
For example, morning is when I wake up until lunch (usually around noon). I put a star next the things that are top priorities.
- Hezekiah potty
- Eat breakfast and take vitamins
- shower and stretch
- Bible/ prayer/ journaling*
- look at to-do list
I wrote this order based on what felt natural but later I changed another order made more sense. Showering right after breakfast made sense because Hezekiah would be messy after breakfast but now that I am starting to workout more, showering later makes more sense.
Afternoon for me is lunchtime until dinner time
- lunch- dishes- check email
- nap* (H potty)
- play outside
- blog (create/ write)
- chores (organize)– dinner
I originally wrote this routine several months ago and so much has changed but it is helpful to see the process.
My evening routine begins routine begins with dinner and mostly consists of getting my son ready for bed.
- H bath– brush teeth
- turn on fan
- puta away toys
- read toddler Bible
- chores (me)– make breakfast
Schedule: weekly time map
Several months ago, Cindy Vanhoff from Reclaimed Spaces talked to my MOPs group about organization. We took a quiz to help us figure out what we needed to organize the most. For me, it was my schedule. As I mentioned above, I wasn’t get much done but I felt so busy.
My goal with managing my time is to have things done on time and for my days to flow smoothly and be well planned, to get more done in less time, to actually have time to do the things I want to do (not just take care of my son). My biggest desire is to use my time more efficiently and it has happened. I have found time that I didn’t know existed.
Creating and using a time map has given me more time each day. She had us start out by adding our weekly commitments. Right away, I discovered that I was not giving myself enough time to get ready in the morning.
The most important part of creating a time map was figuring out which areas I was not giving myself enough time to complete.
Shortly before creating my time map, I decided to have a scheduled day to do laundry and diaper laundry. Before I started doing this, I wouldn’t wash the diapers until I was almost out (sometimes i would be completely out of clean diapers before I realized). Now we are done with diapers but still have plenty of laundry.
Click here to download an editable time map.
Plan your week
Each week, I use this weekly planner to plan out the week ahead. Every Sunday, so that day I go grocery shopping so I plan my meals for the week and figure out what I need to buy for those meals. As I’m planning my week, I plan a day to run errands (bank, appointments, non grocery shopping, etc). Other weekly things to plan are date night (if you are married), family time, personal time (this is so important to me), one on one time for each child (since I only have one child this doesn’t really need to be scheduled), a day of rest (for me this means no chores or errands, I try having my rest day on Saturdays).
Scheduling my time and planning my week help me work at home, take care of my son and have a life. Life with a toddler is not easy and sometimes things don’t go as planned. If you have anybody to help you, I encourage you to take advantage of that.
I encourage you to pursue your dreams even if you are a mom, even if you are a single mom solely responsible for providing for your family. There are opportunities out there to provide for your family and make a difference (for me that is Trades of Hope and being a weekend house parent).