How to Make Mom Life Feel *a Little* Less Chaotic with Little Kids
A disclaimer before I get into this post…
I, in no way, have mom life figured out. As a stay-at-home mom of a toddler and 10-month-old twins, there are days when literally nothing gets done but eating/diaper changing. There are days when everything is falling apart. There are days when it is pure chaos. So I’m not an expert at getting every day to operate like a well-oiled machine… where the laundry and the dishes magically get done while you’ve devoted quality time with each kid and dinner appears on the table by 6 p.m. That sounds lovely and a lot like Mary Poppins paid a visit.
For those moms who don’t have a magical nanny with a sweet-as-sugar disposition, here are some suggestions for how to make life feel a little LESS chaotic.
Will there still be chaos? You bet. But hopefully there will be more laughter and less tears from you in the process. 🙂
1. Think One Step Ahead, When Possible
When you’re in the thick of life with small kids, it’s very, very easy to just think to the next task at hand. And that is COMPLETELY understandable, especially in the beginning. But as you find your groove, that’s when you can start testing out a little more forward thinking. For example… as soon as I put dishes in the sink, I fill it with soapy water so they can soak while I get the kids unstrapped from their highchairs and cleaned up. I spray their high chairs with Basic H so the grime can also soak and is easier to wipe off. I wipe off all the counters immediately (an instant kitchen makeover). And I drop off dirty bibs and any other dirty clothes from meal time in the laundry room on my way to taking the kids upstairs.
These tiny extra steps actually can save me a lot of time later on when it’s time to clean/scrub and keeps the dirty clothes and bibs and rags from accumulating on the countertops, which is what my kitchen used to look like all. the. time.
2. Double Down on Food Prep
I’m kind of shocked it took me three years of being a mom to discover this… but if you’re taking the time to make a meal, try to make a future meal or snack in the process.
What this looks like… when all goes according to plan, we’ll do grocery shopping on Saturday, meal-prep on Sunday. So I’ll chop veggies and put them in a glass pyrex container to roast on Monday so we’ll have them as a side during the week. I’ll cut up fruit and put it in another pyrex container as a fruit salad so it’s easy to grab during the week. And then, on each weekday, I’ll make extra food at lunch so we have it the next day while baking sweet potatoes for dinner at the same time. Again, it doesn’t always happen this way but it’s super nice when it does and definitely gives you the rare and elusive “yep, I’m totally nailing this mom thing” satisfaction.
3. One Load of Laundry a Day
I learned this when writing for Mom.me where I interviewed a mom of four boys who also ran her own successful blog and business. Doing a load a day will keep you ahead of the colossal pile of laundry that inevitably accumulates. I used to think it was better to save up the dirty clothes and then do one day of nonstop laundry, but found the one-load-a-day rule to be much more manageable. And sometimes it’s two loads a day.
Also, here’s a little mom hack I recently learned… put all socks into a mesh bag designed for washers and dryers and toss it into the wash. This way, all socks have a sock-mate at the end and you won’t have 50 billion random single socks scattered around your home.
If my 3-year-old wants to watch his “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” then he has to pick up his toys. It may take him an hour, and he may yell that it’s “Mommy’s job!” to clean up (that gets a good laugh out of me every time), but eventually, he does it. I also started having him bring his plate to the sink once he’s done. It’s a small chore, but it helps that he has his own responsibilities in keeping the house in some order.
Speaking of TV, if my husband is going to watch a game or a show, I’ve started giving him a side of laundry to fold while he sits there- especially his ridiculous number of socks that are somehow always inside out.
5. Keep Extras Near the Door
It never fails… we’ll be running late to get out the door and socks are nowhere to be found. Or we need to run back upstairs to brush teeth. So, I began leaving an extra toothbrush and toothpaste in the downstairs bathroom for my toddler as well as extra pairs of socks in the drawer by the downstairs closet. Not only does it save extra trips up and down stairs, we also *usually* leave the house with clean teeth.
6. Laugh and Sing and Keep it in Perspective
When the chaos is literally out of control… like, one twin is crying, one is getting into the dog food and the 3-year-old is on the toilet, yelling that he needs to be wiped… laugh. Laugh a lot. It keeps you from crying and takes the edge off. And have a song you can sing to keep yourself sane. A friend of mine sings the phrase “Living the dreeeeeam!” when her house is madness, which I found works well.
And finally, remind yourself that this won’t last forever. There will come a day when the house will be in order, but your kids will be living on their own. Don’t spend their childhoods obsessing over the mess. The mess is where the magic and the memories are, after all.
What tricks do you have for minimizing the chaos in your home? Please share in the comments!
*Note: This post contains a link to a product on my Shaklee distributor website and an affiliate link to Amazon. That said, I never share products that I myself don’t own, use and love!