Motherhood can be so joyful and full of love, laughter, cuddles, and a million sweet moments. But it can also be so overwhelming and full of frustration and stress, especially when you work full-time. While your life will never be the same as it was pre-children, you can still enjoy your new life as a mom without all the overwhelm and stress, by finding ways to simplify it. Here are 10 simple tips to help you simplify your life as a working mom.
How do working moms stop feeling overwhelmed?
Feeling overwhelmed isn’t something that you can necessarily just stop on a dime. It’s a real feeling that needs to be acknowledged. Acknowledge this feeling by pausing for a moment and taking a few deep breaths. Then ask yourself – how do you know you’re overwhelmed?
Usually there are physical characteristics that you are experiencing due to a rise in your stress level. Like maybe you’re chest is tight, your heart is beating rapidly, you have an uncontrollable energy surging through your body, or you might have the desperate need to collapse and cry. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, even a small sense of “danger” in your neurological system can cause you to panic, lash out in anger and/or feel exhausted.
When you feel this way, it’s important to remember that this is just a temporary feeling caused by stressed. Then give yourself some grace and love. Yes, you WILL get caught up on laundry, and no, you don’t do everything wrong. Give yourself some credit where credit is due and don’t be fooled by the idea that you have to be perfect. No one is perfect. No one can be perfect.
The best thing you can do for yourself is give yourself some grace (and rest), set realistic expectations, and simplify what you can. Here are 10 ideas that can help you simplify your life and feel less overwhelmed.
10 Ways To Simplify Your Life as a Working Mom
1. Set your priorities
In order to simplify your life as a mom, you have to determine what exactly is important to you when it comes to setting the tone for your home. Do you want your home to be fun and joyful? Peaceful and simple? Whatever it is, work at setting that tone as your priority in all that you do. The tone that I want to set for our home overall is simple and joyful. Knowing that we plan on having more than one child, striving for a peaceful and slow home will just stress me out. I will find peace and slowness where I can, but those aren’t necessarily a priority.
2. Develop simple routines and habits
Developing simple routines is key to simplifying your working mom life. My routines have absolutely saved me from tearing my hair out. I’m not just talking about a routine for the morning. I’m talking about routines to develop throughout the day. If you’re constantly running late or feeling frantic in the morning, then it’s not just enough to get up earlier to do all the things.
Develop a bedtime routine that includes preparing things for the morning. And make sure to prioritize taking care of yourself and spending time with your little one in your routines. A bonus to creating simple routines is that you can focus more on simplifying the tasks at hand and taking it slow, so that you’re not feeling rushed to do everything all at once.
Here is a look at what the simple routines that I created for myself:
- Run a load of laundry.
- Start dinner.
- Clean as I go.
Bedtime (begins after dinner)
- Sweep the dining room and kitchen floor (my son is quite messy at dinner).
- Prepare my son’s backpack (usually I’m just checking it and refilling where I need to).
- Prepare his bottles and oatmeal (sans water) – this was prior to him eating the daycare’s food. Change items from the washer to the dryer.
- Fill the kettle and set out a cup with my chosen tea.
- Set out work clothes on the kitchen chair.
- Set aside a glass of water on my nightstand.
- Pack what I can into my car.
- Drink water before getting out of bed.
- Do my skin care routine.
- Warm up my little one’s bottle, start the slow cooker, and make my tea.
- Fold and put away laundry.
- Wake my baby with his bottle, brush his teeth, then change him.
- Get myself ready while my son plays (my makeup is currently on the sink in my baby’s room).
For me, if I can get as much done as possible at night before bed and have little to do in the morning, giving me more time, then my whole day feels refreshing and relaxed. And doing some things daily (like laundry), keeps me from feeling like my whole weekend is spent cleaning. But maybe you’d rather have one whole sweep of laundry on a particular day? That’s totally fine as well – just make sure to simplify what you own so you’re not having to do as much laundry, which brings me to my next point.
3. Simplify by decluttering and organizing your home
Sometimes we just have too much stuff around our home, getting in the way or needing to be cleaned. And sometimes that stuff just has to go.
Purge your home of the things that are not essential, aren’t used, and just getting in the way. Simplify what you own. The less stuff you have, the less you have to clean.
On the same note, when buying new items, buy items with longevity and multi-purpose in mind. When I was first pregnant, I made sure that I had as many things in gender neutral colors as possible, that way I could save them for future kids. And like when I got rid of my 6 quart instant pot and 8 quart slow cooker and bought a 10 quart instant pot/slow cooker to replace them (I named it Big Bertha).
Things you can par down and simplify:
4. Simply plan out your days ahead
Whether you’re a “phone in hand, digital lists and calendar” planner or “buy the cutest planner from Hobby Lobby” planner, utilize a planner of some sort to plan your days, weeks, and months ahead of time. This is a life saver when trying to simplify your life as a working mom. You will have a place to write down any to-do lists, things you need to buy, events you can’t forget, your meal plan, bills, gift ideas, projects, etc. I use mine on the daily and keep it with me at all times.
5. Say No to Being Busy and Overscheduling
You can also simplify your time by recognizing where you might be too busy and just nix it. You don’t have to do everything with everyone. Pick and choose what is important to you and say no to the rest WITHOUT ANY GUILT. You will appreciate how much time this frees up for you.
And don’t think that free time means something has to be scheduled. Be okay with free time that is actually free. It’s nice to be able to slow down, play with your kids, read, or simply just relax without anything scheduled at all.
6. Simplify Celebrations
Don’t fret around trying to plan a whole get together to celebrate your child’s birthday and then get so stressed out that the whole event flies by you.
Keep the guest list small, and simplify the food, decor, and even gifts. If you want a bigger get together, make it a potluck and ask guests to bring something.
And when it comes to Christmas and birthdays, plan ahead of time when it comes to buying the gifts. That way you’re not like me and ordering a gift for your best friend’s child, praying that it will get to your door in time for the party.
7. Rethink meal planning
The last thing you want to do as a busy mom is come home and cook dinner. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if dinner was ready to eat when you got home, without doing hardly anything?
I will be completely honest. I have only recently figured out how to simplify meal planning. Recently, I bought Passionate Penny Pincher’s Slow Cooker recipes and have been using them to plan out our meals (roughly about two weeks at a time). I don’t follow the weekly meal plan exactly because a. The recipes are made with a bigger family in mind and b. We have a couple of planned nights a week where we eat elsewhere (like church).
I used to cringe at the thought of meal planning freezer meals. In my mind, I thought it was all about making the meals for the entire week on your free Sunday afternoon and putting them in the freezer, ready to just heat up. And while some freezer meals are just like that, I learned the art of really taking advantage of my crock pot.
So, I spend a very short amount of time over the weekends (I’m talking 30 minutes or less) to prepare any ingredients needed for the different meals that I have planned. My goal is to only have to dump whatever is in a frozen ziplock bag into my slow cooker in the morning with very little much else to do. Easy and simple! And if there’s anything that I’m planning on making in the week that isn’t a slow cooker meal, I go ahead and prepare the ingredients so dinner doesn’t take long to cook that night.
The more you can do ahead of time, the better!
8. Shop online
Another way to simplify your life as a working mom is to do your shopping online. You don’t have to worry about unruly kids asking for everything they see, buying what you think looks good, forgetting your shopping list at home, or any of that. Just simply make your grocery list, add those items to the cart, submit your order, and if it’s not being shipped to you, just simply go pick up your order. I personally utilize Amazon Prime and Instacart for everything.
9. Create a Car Kit
Nothing is worse than being out somewhere and your child has a blow out and while changing, pees all over (ask me how I know). So another way to simplify your life as a busy mom is putting together a car kit that includes:
- Change of clothes for your child(ren)
- Change of clothes for yourself
- Disinfecting wipes
- Baby wipes
- Diaper cream
- Water bottles
- Baby bottle and small container of formula or sippy cup and snacks
- Nursing cover
- Disposable utensils
- Cups and straws
- A blanket
- A towel
- Extra pacifier
- Wet bag or plastic bag
- A first aid kit.
10. Ask for help
And finally, a simple way to simplify life as a working mom is to ask for help. As much as we’d like to think that we’re akin to Wonder Woman, we can’t do it all. It’s physically impossible. We can certainly try, but we’d be losing our sanity and peace in the process.
Create a network of support around yourself so when the going gets tough, you have someone to help you.
And here’s a big kicker – allow someone to help you and accept it. Be clear about what exactly you need help with, and let it go. Don’t try to control how the person helps you. If you ask your husband if he can can clean up the kitchen for you, but he forgets to put a trash bag in the trash can, or he puts dishes in the wrong spot, don’t get upset with him. A clean kitchen with misplaced items is better than a dirty kitchen. And if you criticize your husband about it, he may not want to help again. So choose your battles!
Does being a working mom get easier?
Being a mom will still be challenging at times. And new seasons will bring new challenges. As a close friend of mine once told me, “Just remember, it’s just a phase. It will be over in a few weeks time.” So far, that phrase has been so true. Why stress about something that will be over before you know it? As far as learning to manage it all, the more you work on simplifying routines and what is around you, and the more you clarify your priorities, the stress and frustration will lessen. Embrace the season you are in and learn to enjoy these (crazy and precious) moments of being a mom.