When you’re a parent on the go, there’s just no telling what sort of day you’ll have. Between kids, work, and the slews of after-school chores, activities, homework assignments, and errands, it can feel like your to-do list never gets any shorter.
How can you possibly maintain a work and family life balance when each day somehow turns itself into a race, with you hectically sprinting in a mad dash for the finish line that is your bed?
The fact of the matter is – being a parent today is an incredibly demanding task. If you find a spare moment for yourself during the day, it’s usually spent hurriedly shoveling leftovers into your face before having to prepare for the next arsenal of activities.
So, here are 6 handy tips for getting your life a little more organized, a little less chaotic, and a lot more manageable.
1. Be Prepared
Let’s get one thing straight: the organization is a skill. That means that yes, while some may seem to have a natural predisposition for the trait, never forget that it’s not an inherent gift that separates the haves from the have-nots.
You can cultivate this skill, but it takes practice. A great way to get started is by making use of to-do lists. Today, everything is electronic, so you don’t have to go the old school route with pen and paper (unless you really want to!). There are lots of great apps that can help you manage your to-do lists, so see what’s available in the app store.
It’s also a good idea to have things prepared the night before for the upcoming morning. Mornings can get frenzied even on the best of days, so having lunches ready and backpacks by the door is no bad thing.
2. Invest In A Family Calendar
A calendar that’s placed in a central part of the home, where everyone has access to it, is a fantastic way to keep everyone’s schedules in line.
You can’t be expected to remember the dates of every after-school band practice, or which day that upcoming family dentist appointment was scheduled. A calendar is a great reference point for you to return to when you’re trying to schedule upcoming events.
If your children are old enough, let them mark down their obligations and important dates themselves. A family calendar can serve as a communication device shared by the entire family.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help
You may be supermom, but you can’t do everything. You need a break too. You need some time and space to breathe. But you won’t be able to have that unless you’re willing to let other people take up the slack.
This could mean reaching out to a partner, a family member, a friend, or a neighbor for a little extra support. Whether it’s watching the kids for half an hour while you pop out to pick up dinner, or helping prep the kids lunches for the next day so that you can take a power nap, there’s no shame in asking for assistance.
In fact, you’d likely be surprised by how willing those around you truly are to lend a hand. All you need to do is ask.
4. It’s Okay To Say No
Alright, let’s practice something together. Ready? Say it with me:
How was that? Was that okay? Let’s try it one more time, this time louder, and very firmly:
It is okay to say no. You don’t need to willingly take on the burden of everything alone, and you don’t need to do it all!
Does your son absolutely need to be driven to the mall today for new shoes? Probably not. Do you need to fold and sort every article of clothing as soon as it comes out of the dryer? No, not really. (And by the way, your kids are likely quite capable of folding and putting away their laundry themselves! They’re pretty smart, you know.)
5. Have ‘No Screen Time’ Hours
Today, we must constantly integrate our lives with the technology that surrounds us. In many cases, there’s no navigating around it. It’s become a necessary and fixed component of our lives.
But several studies have reflected the detrimental effects of too much screen time, for both adults and children alike. Excess screen time can result in a reduced attention span for children. For adults? 8 hours in front of a screen of blue light can impact our body’s ability to produce the sleep hormone melatonin, resulting in insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Consider having a period of time in each day that is a designated ‘no screen time’ for everyone in the house (yes, this includes televisions!). Even if it’s just a short 30-minute span, that small break from the electronic barrage will be a good opportunity for you to engage with your family without a screen in between you.
6. Take Care of Yourself With Exercise and Meditation
One of the best natural remedies for anxiety is exercise. A regular exercise routine can decrease your stress, improve your physical health, and help you sleep better.
But it’s not just about taking care of your body. It’s about taking care of the rest of you too. That’s why it’s important to consider including a regular meditation practice into your day to day life.
Meditation doesn’t need to be a big production. It doesn’t require you to sit in a candle-lit room for an hour chanting mantras (although, if that’s your prerogative, by all means, have at it!). Meditation can be as simple as focusing on taking mindful breaths on your commute home from work. Or setting aside 5 minutes to sit on your bedroom floor and enjoy a quick guided meditation.
The best things about meditation are? It’s flexible. Which means there’s an ideal meditation practice out there not just for you, but for your kids too!
Kids meditation is becoming more and more popular, and the positive effect meditation can have on your children is very tangible, and very accessible.
There are many resources available to explore meditation for kids in greater depth. It can also be a good way to practice meditation, spend a little more time with your kids, and teach your children an invaluable skill for their future, all at the same time! Win-win-win, right?
Would you be willing to incorporate some meditation into your family life? What are your tips for other parents looking to simplify their hectic schedules? Let us know what you think!