*Updated April 2020*
“How do you have time to run a blog and take care of your kids?”
I hear this all the time. And I know that if I, a year or two ago, met myself today, I would probably ask the same thing.
What I really feel like I hear people asking when they ask this is are you neglecting your kids to work on your blog? Because surely you can’t do all the things in one day. And the answer is, of course, no 🙂 And neither do my kids sit in front of the tv for hours while I write a post or work on a product.
But let me rewind.
From the time I became a stay at home mom until earlier this year, I felt like I constantly “didn’t have time” to do things.
This was phrase I constantly threw at my husband to justify why the laundry wasn’t folded or dinner wasn’t ready. And more than that, I think it was something I actually became convinced of this myself, and was the reason I didn’t really do anything else besides take care of my kiddos for a while.
Now granted, I understood that caring for a nursing baby all day was my grace card, and that I shouldn’t put too much pressure on myself to do much more than that.
But you’ve ever raised more than one child (and tried to homeschool in the midst), you understand that the world doesn’t stop revolving because you’re a tired, nursing mama.
Kids still need to be bathed, hygiened, and trained…bills need to be paid…laundry needs to be done…and on and on…
But I would always feel like I couldn’t get certain tasks done until my kids took a nap (which was partially true). I couldn’t make a phone call until they were occupied and quiet (again, partially true). I couldn’t take them to the store with me because for goodness sakes, how can a human brain find products and make sure your children aren’t touching things/fighting/screaming at the same time?
I could tell I needed better systems. I could tell I needed to make lifestyle changes. But I was stuck in this vortex of “needing to make all the changes at once” in my life…and that doesn’t lend itself well to my personality (I tend to lean towards being an achiever and trying to do too much at once).
I loved my kids, but I despised how purposeless I felt my life had become. I felt like my days were escaping and I couldn’t quite get a hold of them. And at a certain point a couple years ago I knew that if I didn’t make some major changes, I’d be 20 years down the road and regretting how I could never quite master this thing.
I don’t know if you feel or have ever felt this way, but I want to encourage you today! I’ve made lots of changes and am in a much more productive place because of it, and I know you can too.
Here are the six basic things I changed that helped me stop wasting time as a stay at home mom:
1. I gave myself an outlet
Some moms think that they can’t do anything but take care of their kids. I used to think the same thing.
But then I decided to undertake an outlet that I could pour myself into. For me, this was blogging. It was the only thing I could do from home that would allow me to minister, serve, create, and engage (not to mention make money!).
I’d tried to start other businesses before (MLMs) and I realized that not only did I not enjoy them, but I wasn’t very good at them.
You might be thinking…how on earth did starting a blog help you stop wasting time as a stay at home mom? Well. Blogging is something I really like doing, but beyond that, I feel like I’m accountable to you, my readers. And accountability always helps people stay on top of things.
Not to mention, I started setting goals for my blog that I wanted to meet, both in creating posts and products to help other moms and income goals I wanted to achieve.
Before I had this blog, I had considered starting a cleaning company, then an organizing company. But my husband didn’t like the idea of me going into strangers’ houses by myself and said he’d rather me try to find something I could do from home. So I went online to see how much somebody makes who works for a cleaning company.
The article I happened to read was actually a blog post somebody wrote about how much she paid someone to clean her house. I clicked on the article to read it, and as I started reading it, something caught my eye: a blog income report.
This particular blogger posted income reports consistently, and when I saw the image describing how much she made in one month, I thought no way. How? So I clicked on it. As I read it, something started birthing inside me.
Maybe this is it! Maybe I should start a blog!
So I did. As you can see 🙂
And for me, it really has served as a way to minister to other moms and help them in the areas that I write about. I believe we all have a desire to serve a greater purpose than just living our own lives. Deep within us, I feel like we have a God-given desire to make a difference in this world, one way or another.
Do you feel like blogging could be your outlet? If so read these posts:
Having an outlet is, again, an accountability. I know that I have a community of readers who read my blog and that accountability has pushed me to get other things in line in my life. Which brings me to my next point…
2. I transformed the way I did home management
Even after I started blogging and realized how much I enjoyed it, I knew I could easily prioritize it in an unhealthy way. I needed to get some home systems in place that would allow me to easily take care of my home management responsibilities, run my blog, and still be able to tend to what was most important: the people living in my home.
So I started researching, praying, and creating. I knew I needed to:
- Clearly define what I was in charge of
- Be realistic about what I could do and what I couldn’t
- Create systems and routines that worked for me
- I really wanted it to somehow be SUPER easy
I knew that the best way I could make things super easy would be to automate as much as I could.
So I started listing out, by category, the areas of the home I wanted to quickly systemize and automate, including:
- Meal planning
- Personal admin (checking voicemails/emails)
- Master To Do List (full brain dump of ALL the things)
I took the time to think about what was realistic and what wasn’t, created a system for each, and put together weekly stock lists to make sure I never ran out of anything or went to the grocery store unnecessarily.
As I started implementing my systems, I realized is that automating them also freed up my brain to be able to focus on other things (like being present with my kids!). Who knew!
Do your home systems need a quick turnaround? I altered what I did to be customizable for my homeschooling/work at home mom community- you can get it here!
3. I defined and eliminated time wasters
As I was creating my personal home management system, I realized that I needed to live a more minimalized life.
We stay at home moms can’t do everything, so we have to start getting good at saying no to things and focusing in on our priorities/God-given responsibilities. So again, I sat down and thought about the things I was doing that wasted time.
I had to really think about this one because I knew I wasn’t wasting time on things that people normally waste time on. I’m personally not a big tv watcher. I’m also not on social media a whole lot, so I really had to spend some time thinking about where my time was disappearing to.
I was able to identify that I wasted a lot of my day cleaning up. Because I didn’t previously have a home management system in place, I was aimlessly cleaning constantly.
Also, having extra long conversations (whether in person or over the phone) was definitely a time waster for me. So I started having a “get off the phone by a certain time” goal and being more direct with ending conversations.
Lastly, I realized that I have a tendency to daydream a lot and spend too much time in my own head. So I’ve worked on catching myself in that place and snapping out of it, so to speak.
Once I defined these things, I knew to hold myself accountable if I caught myself doing them.
4. I identified lies (limiting mentalities)
For years, one of the biggest time wasters for me was a lie that governed my mind regarding my kids. Lies, which can often be limiting mentalities, are so powerful in that they influence your thinking, which in turn influences your actions. One of the biggest limiting mentalities that I had to uproot was this one:
I can’t get things done because I have to watch my kids.
And just how did this mentality limit me? First, it I assumed that my kids would be difficult and not cooperate, so I wouldn’t be able to do things like take or make phone calls, run errands, do house chores, etc.
Because I assumed that, I approached them like that. And guess what? Many times they were, in my perspective, because that’s what I expected from them.
I also didn’t really know how to interact with my kids and have them help me with things around the house, so I just left all the important stuff until nap time or after my husband got home.
Secondly, I would use my kids as the reason why I couldn’t be involved in anything other than momming. My limiting mentality that they were the ones “holding me back” from being more was literally just that…a limiting mentality. It wasn’t really reality. Why?
Because I understood that well-trained children are actually a blessing to your family. There was no reason I shouldn’t be able to take a phone call while my kids were there or take them grocery shopping with me.
I knew that I had to change the way I thought, and that I needed to be more active in teaching and training my kids (and not just disciplining). I understood that part of why I was wasting time correcting my kids was that I wasn’t doing a good upfront job of training them properly. So..
5. I started working on training my kids to obey the first time
I’ve always wanted respectful, well-trained kids who would grow to love the Lord and glean off mine and my huband’s example. But after reading too many books with inconsistent advice on how to do this, I was confused.
Plus, I was raised a little differently than what I wanted to do for my own children. I knew that I didn’t want to be spanking all the time, but I didn’t honestly know any other way.
After spending time seeking God about this, I ran across a post from another blogger that led me to a method called Say What You See.
As I studied this, I realized: even though the author says nothing about Christ, these strategies and methods of relating to children are literally strategies of love.
For instance, one thing that is mentioned is that our boundaries should be like a wall, not a swinging door. That illustration alone solved half my issues, as the Lord had already been speaking to me in prayer about the need to develop better boundaries all around.
When I started seeing my own boundaries as a wall, it helped me stop trying to enforce them with force/anger. My children could feel that I knew my authority as a parent, and they started responding by coming under.
And as I continued to expect them to obey and work to understand them more, I discovered that this not only made them happier children, but it also almost completely eliminated time wasted in constantly correcting them (and then being frustrated).
I also came across a Charlotte Mason-inspired book called Laying Down the Rails.
This book lays out all the habits you could ever want to train your children to have, along with guidance on how to do it. I learned a much better way of trying to teach and train my kids on the habit of obedience than what I was doing. Check it out, it’s seriously the best!
But even though training my kids has brought about a more peaceful, positive atmosphere in our home, there was still some internal work to be done. I knew I had to make some important personal character decisions. So lastly..
6. I stopped making excuses and started being diligent
It’s easy to say things like, “I don’t feel like…” and so things don’t get done. I stopped allowing myself to use that kind of language and just started training myself to be diligent. After all, time is not going to wait for us to “feel like” doing stuff!
The Bible says that “the hand of the diligent will rule, but the slack hand will be put to forced labor” (Proverbs 12:24) and “a lazy man does not roast his prey, but the precious possession of a man is diligence” (Proverbs 12:27).
I realized that if I wanted to accomplish things as a stay at home mom, I’d have to stop blaming other people and things and start becoming a wise steward of my time. Once I started doing this, I really saw the whole day open up to me in a new way, and I’ve been able to be thorough and actually see things done instead of just sit there.
So what about you? Do you feel that you struggle getting your days under control? Or are you totally rocking time management? Let me know where you are by sharing in the comment box below!