This may be really hard to believe, but I rarely ever feel like I have my shit together. I mean, in my defense, my husband and I juggle 2 businesses, his full-time job, 2 teenage girls, sports, travel, and still manage to spend time together. I still forget to return emails, I lose things. (No. Like, important things. Shoes, keys, pets…kids.) I nearly run out of gas on a monthly basis. It’s actually a true miracle my plants are still living. But, the comforting thing is that most of us feel this way. It’s not a me thing. (Lord, tell me it’s not a me thing.)
Full disclosure. I don’t claim to have all the secrets to an easy life. Although, I’ve learned a thing or two over the last few decades as an active member of the “hot mess express” club. A few of them (7, to be exact) have severely improved my quality of life, and helped me keep my crazy life mostly organized. Most of these ideas have actually been recommended by friends or family for years. Call it stubbornness, or just plain denial, I didn’t always want to admit that a few of these ideas would have such an amazing impact on my life…or I thought I could fix the issues without ACTUALLY doing anything about them. Either way, I hope they’ll help organize your life, too.
Make a weekly menu + stick to it-As little as 3 months ago, I NEVER took the time to write out a weekly menu. Now, it’s 30-min./wk. Before I head out to do my grocery shopping for the week, I fill out this menu. It doesn’t need to be super specific. And, it isn’t written in stone. But it helps me make a grocery list, I post it on my fridge, and it holds me + my family accountable.
P.S. My kids love that they always know what’s for dinner. And I love that 1. They don’t have to ask me, and 2. I don’t have to hear them complain about it.
Chores…for my KIDS-Let me tell you. I waited WAY too long to make chores an important part of my kids’ daily routine. Primarily because I saw it as just extra work for me to manage. No lie. It was kind of a pain in the ass, at first. Now, it’s just part of their responsibilities to live with us. For free. No matter if they are 2 or 22, every child can + should contribute to the function of the household. Always cleaning up after eating, doing their own laundry (w/varying levels of help, depending on age), cleaning their bathroom, taking out their garbage, helping with pets, etc. I invested some time in completing the chores correctly. Be patient. I promise, it makes them (and your life) better.
Invest in a day planner-Quite frankly, either I don’t remember my life before I got my day planner. Or I don’t want to. Nonetheless, it is the difference between wandering aimlessly through the day, or getting shit done. This is the one that I like. It’s hefty, so it can be somewhat of a burden to tote around. My purse is massive. (I use this one, from Joanna Gaines, to fit all of my mommy goodies,) and I like the full-page per day that this planner has.) But, you can find a planner in just about any shape or size. Choose one that works best for you + your lifestyle.
Make your own cookbook-If your recipes look anything like mine did, you probably have random recipe cards, torn slips of notebook paper, “stick-less” sticky notes that are grease-stained, batter-covered + just super messy. Probably stuffed inside of an actual cookbook or just a messy drawer in the kitchen. It’s probably time to simplify your “dinner game”. First narrow it down to what you ACTUALLY make. Choose recipes from the books you have, etc. Write or type them up, print them out + organize them by category into one notebook. Check out this cookbook stand, also from Hearth + Hand by Joanna Gaines. Have a few family-favorite recipes? Shutterfly offers a great way to share your published cookbook as an amazing gift. Nothing says, “go to college do your own cooking” like a copy of mama’s cookbook.
Velcro Wall Hangers-
Ok, fine. I can see how one would think that Velcro wall hangers probably should not warrant being in the “it changed my life” category. But, trust me. You are just one DIY gallery wall away from losing your wall-anchor, unlevel frame-loving mind. If you hang anything, anywhere, ever…you NEED these. All in their Velcro miracle-working glory. Take my word for it. They can hold up to 16 lbs. You can purchase smaller. Or double up to increase the hold weight. Grab a set next time you’re enjoying a leisurely stroll through Target. You’ll thank me later.
Do your dishes IN THE MORNING-
So, this is sorta preference. I want to explain how “dishing” in the morning changed my life. Nights + evenings are probably hectic, right? Dinner, sports, family discussions, bath time, story time, chores, neighborhood kids, and loads more. I used to spend at least 30-40 min. cleaning up the kitchen after dinner. It turns my belly to think of the time I missed out on spending with my family, if I add up all that time over the years. My oldest is 15, and will be headed off to college in a few years. I decided not to spend another minute doing dishes instead of soaking up time with my family. So here’s what I do: I call my family for dinner. As I wait, I rinse all the dinner dishes and stack them neatly in the sink. After my morning alarm, and before I head down to work in the morning, I unload/load the dishwasher, clean dishes and wipe down the kitchen. Uninterrupted. Beginning the day with a nice, clean kitchen. Which brings me to my final life-changer…
Set your alarm. And GET UP EARLY! (Hitting the snooze does NOT count as “getting up”)
So this one is the one I refused to do for a long time. Young, busy mom. NOT a morning person. Little/no sleep! You just have to get up earlier than the kids do. Weekdays. Weekends. All the days! Not a lot. Just an extra 30 min. will do fine. You’ll quickly discover, this is your most valuable time. Enjoy a cup of coffee on the porch, squeeze in a workout, watch the news, check in with your best friend, take a hot bath/shower, do the dishes. This will give you some extra moments to prepare for all of the little fingers + toes that will soon need all of your attention.
Hopefully you’ll enjoy one, or a few, of these tips. And maybe they will improve your life as much as they’ve helped mine. So you can be the #saucymama they know and love about you.