There’s no doubt that our habits form our lives. If you’re habitually late, unorganised and feel ‘out of control’ then you’re going to have a harder time coping throughout the day than someone who is organised, on time for appointments and feels confident and in control of their day.
(We all have ‘bad days’ so don’t think it will solve all your problems forever!)
Habits provide a framework on which we can build our own personal happiness. We tend to look at other mothers and feel they are coping way better than ourselves, when actually they might just have better habits.
It takes the brain about 3 weeks to form a consistent habit, so persevere through the inevitable whining and whinging from the kids and they’ll get used to the new routine! Don’t give up.
So what habits do we need to become less stressed and better organised?
- Minimise every day decisions – Routine! Routine! Routine!
Think about the things you have to do the same every day. Getting the kids out of bed. Getting ready for school. Eating breakfast. Getting the lunch boxes ready. Serving lunch and snacks at home. Preparing dinner. Bath and bed time.
These things can cause a lot of stress for a lot of mums, so minimising the decisions is the key. Here are some ideas to get you thinking what might work for you.
- An alarm clock in the kids room that is set to wake them up 5 minutes before you go in to get them out of bed will create a habit of waking up at the same time every morning whether you go in or not. Make it a pleasant alarm so they are not startled every morning! Is the bathroom set up so they can easily wash, brush their teeth and get ready?
- Breakfast can basically be the same thing every morning. Cereal/porridge and toast or whatever your children like the most. Weekends can be a time for special breakfasts if you like. Too much choice can cause stressful situations, especially for children. Keeping things simple is best.
- School clothes can be set out the night before so they can dress themselves after they have breakfast and you don’t have to try and find things in a rush.
- Check out our ‘Term of Lunchbox Meals’ on how to make and freeze a whole term of lunches and snacks. This will save you tons of stress! Freezing snacks for toddlers at home is a great idea too for throughout the day.
- Create a set time for bath and then bed. Going to bed soon after a bath will help relax your child. Add 2 drops of lavender essential oil to the bath water to help them calm down and sleep. Of course you don’t want them running around before bed, this will only cause them to be full of energy and not want to go to sleep.
- Shoes off at the garage or front door, in a box, so they are always there when you want them. School bag put in the same place after school every day, whether it’s in their room or beside the dining table is up to you.
- Shift Gear If You Must
The key to success in any venture is to ‘keep on keeping on’. This is true at work, if you’re running your own business or running your own family. The reality of the outcomes will dictate to you whether it’s working, and this is true at home too.
Know what works for you and your family and stick to it at all costs. If things aren’t turning out how you planned and you’re feeling out of control still then try a new way but don’t give in. For instance, if the same breakfast bores your kids then offer them 2 kinds of cereal to choose from in the morning but don’t venture too far from the goal. Get a toaster that toasts 4 -6 slices of bread to save time and keep the spreads in a pull out container in the fridge so you can just plonk it out every morning and put it away fast. Analyse your day and think about what could make it easier. For instance no TV in the mornings will get them motivated to do more.
Here are some more tips.
- Buy yourself a good amount of containers and freezer bags to freeze food in and start stocking your freezer with quick and easy meals. You can do this by simply cooking more than usual and freezing the excess or spend a few hours one day preparing a set amount of meals to freeze.
- We’ve also got some great ‘Meal Plan Ideas’ for dinners that will make it easier for you whether you’re a stay at home mum or work outside the home.
- Go into each room of your house and think about what you do in there. Are you constantly leaving that room to get something? If so then add those things to the room to stay, perhaps a box of tissues in more than one room, a pair of scissors in the laundry, the kitchen and the ensuite, cups in the bathrooms, wipes in the bathrooms and kitchen, plastic bags in the laundry and kitchen.
- A clothes basket in the kid’s bedroom and in the bathroom for dirty clothes will help keep things in one place and hopefully not on the floor!
- A toy box that all the toys can just be thrown into of a night will save heaps of time. Or a collection of boxes that toys can be stored in will help with organisation.
- Have all the kid’s towels the same colour so you can wash them all without fuss. Don’t over wash towels, they only dry a clean body once a day so you can dry them outside in the sun of a day and use them at night probably for up to 5 days if you dare! Remember it’s about what works for you, if that idea seems yuk then find your alternative.
- Do What You Can When You Can
Track what you do each day, for a week. The activity and how much time you spend doing it. This will give you a good idea of where your time goes and how you can manipulate it into a better system. Spending a bit of time planning to save time is time well spent!
Learn to say ‘no to the unimportant requests’. Once you do it a few times and see the benefits to your time you’ll find it easier. Saying ‘no’ is not rude, inconsiderate or selfish. It’s just that you don’t have the time to do everything and say ‘yes’ to everything and everyone.
Don’t think you have to do everything within the 7 -7 time frame of being a stay at home mum. Do what you can when you can, even if it’s 10 o’clock at night and you have a bit of energy before bed.
Here are some more tips.
- Perhaps put a load of washing on before you go to bed some nights and hang it out the next morning. You’ll be using off peak electricity too so it’s a win – win! Lay out the kids’ clothes for the next day.
- Soak the oats in the fridge for the next mornings breakfast.
- Pay the bills when the kids are asleep and check the calendar for upcoming events.
- Fold up the washing/ do the ironing while watching TV at night.
- Or maybe you’re an early riser – think about getting dinner prepared when nobody is up or give the house a quick dusting.
- Are you driving all over the place most days? Can you streamline your outings to include all the chores in one day? Perhaps fill the car with petrol before picking the kids up from school, buy milk and bread while you’re there or at the shops. Write a list of chores to do outside the home and then do them all in one day rather than running around and wasting precious time.
- Here’s another 50 Tips For Making Life Easier
Time management is a skill that can be used just as well at home as at work so think about your time and how you can use it better.
Time saving appliances will really help you out in the home. A cordless vacuum, steam mop, slow cooker, hand held vacuum and a food processor that will chop, grate, mix and blend will all be worth the initial cost and save you time and anxiety. What appliances would make your life at home easier?
So there we have it – 3 habits to think about and hopefully incorporate into your life to make it less stressful and happier!