Life with kids will always come with some complications, but it doesn’t need to be as rushed and chaotic as you’ve been living it. There will always be toys, crumbs, laundry, and sports practices, but you have two choices: You can either struggle to keep surviving or you can thrive by choosing to simplify your life with kids.
It may seem unrealistic and counterintuitive to live a simpler life with children running around, but it is possible! Life doesn’t have to be so complicated and overwhelming. Here are some easy adjustments you can make to live with more peace in your daily life.
Establish a Morning Routine
Create a ritual for your mornings — something delicate and sweet to start your day. This will look different for each person, but a tried-and-true ritual is drinking warm lemon water with honey and sitting down to write in a five-minute journal. If you drink coffee, throw in a load of laundry while it’s brewing. Doing the same thing every day allows you to swiftly move through a routine; you don’t have to stop and think, Now what is it I’m supposed to be doing? Creating habits allows muscle memory to take over, freeing your mind and eliminating the need to make decisions.
Using an app like Walmart grocery pickup, you can order your family’s groceries in your pajamas on the sofa and pick them up the next day…in your pajamas, too (shh — we won’t tell)! Your little ones stay in their car seats, you don’t have to pass out lollipops to keep them from licking the boxes in the cereal aisle, and it frees up time for things everyone would rather be doing, like playing outside. If you want to take it a step further, you can use a delivery service, like Hello Fresh or Amazon Fresh (if it’s available in your area), and have tasty ingredients delivered to your front door, ready for you to cook.
Be Less Busy
Does your neighbor take her kids to piano, Mandarin, and volleyball lessons? Do you feel like everyone around you is jetting off in every direction, with a different activity each day? Is that really what you want? If it is, then there’s nothing wrong with that, but if it isn’t, then you’re wasting your time feeling like you should be doing what everyone else is doing. Quit comparing. Hold true to your family’s core values and create a mission statement. Sit down and really think: What do you want your days to look like? Do you love caravaning your kids to different activities? Or, do you yearn for a more relaxed lifestyle? Are you happiest when your children are playing outside and you actually have time to cook a healthy meal because you aren’t rushing against the clock to make it to the next activity? Find ways to be more productive, but less busy. Be patient, as it may take some time and trial and error to find your new groove.
Are you sacrificing the simple life for a more complicated and stressful one? Learn to say no to things you don’t feel are essential to your life or don’t fit in with this particular season. Don’t worry over what other people think about your decisions, because what you’re currently experiencing is different from the mom two doors down from you. Don’t do things just because you think people expect you to do it, or because you think it’s what society expects from you. We’ve been conditioned to do too much with too little time and it’s not OK. This is your life, your story and you get to choose how it unfolds. Strive for a full life, not an overwhelming one.
Declutter and Minimize
Physical possessions are distracting. They prevent us from doing what’s most important in our lives — whatever that may be. By getting a handle on the order and clutter in your home, you can enjoy the inner calm, relax more, and clean up less. Do you freeze when you hear the word “declutter” because you’re so overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin? Then consider investing in a step-by-step course, like one from Allie Casazza, where she breaks down decluttering and minimizing in a super tangible and doable way.
Courtney Carver, the creator of Be More With Less, Project 333, and author of Soulful Simplicity, suggests creating a capsule wardrobe. A Capsule Wardrobe is a collection of clothing, typically around 25 to 35 essential items, which can be mixed and matched to coordinate a vast variety of outfits. If a capsule wardrobe isn’t for you, then at least significantly taper down on the number of clothes you own. Getting rid of clothes that don’t serve a purpose in your life frees up mental space in your head because you’re not spending your entire morning pondering what to wear. You can look in your closet and quickly pick something you know is going to be comfortable and make you feel amazing all day long. Remember, when it comes to decluttering and minimizing, doing a little something every day is better than doing nothing at all.
This is hard for most mothers, but you must trust and believe in the system. Know that when you hand over tasks to others — whether friends, paid help, or family members — it may not be done exactly how you want for it to be, but it’s one less thing on your plate. Hire a babysitter or mother’s helper, or swap kids with a neighbor once a week so you can get caught up on small tasks like making returns at a store, answering emails, or paying bills. The sooner you learn to ask for help, the longer you can spend enjoying life!
When there’s extreme turbulence on an airplane, you put your oxygen mask on first. The same rings true for motherhood. But instead of waiting for the first signs of turbulence to take cover, learn to take care of yourself long beforehand. If you practice self-care, you’ll be better equipped to handle the day-to-day crises. Self-care looks different for everyone, but some ideas may include taking a walk, painting your nails, reading a book, calling a friend, listening to music, shopping, meditating, praying, taking a bath, or soaking up some vitamin D in the backyard.
It may sound like a lot of work, but taking five minutes, two to three times a day, to clean up can save you hours of strife. If you live in a two-story home, keep a basket upstairs and downstairs to collect toys and other belongings throughout the day. At the end of the night, spend five minutes emptying the baskets. Use a robot vacuum or small hand vac for after-meal crumb cleanups. Even a 4-year-old can operate a hand vac. (Hey, good job delegating, friend!)
Prep For Tomorrow
After the kids go to bed, look over your calendar to see what activities you have on your agenda for the following day. Swim lessons? Pack a pool bag the night before and set it by the door, so if the morning brings unexpected chaos (because: Murphy’s Law) you won’t be searching the house for missing bathing suit bottoms. Additionally, keep a bag in your car, stashed with things like snacks, water bottles, spare clothes, and socks, and (depending on your season of life) diapers and wipes. If the military has taught us anything, it’s to always be prepared!
Living with less busyness and clutter allows you to make room for what really matters in your personal life. When you learn to simplify your life with kids, you can free up time, eliminate unnecessary stress, and lead a life filled with love.
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