How I stay organised as a stay at home working mum of 3
I’ve not always been the most organised person, I just never had to be before having kids. Once I had my girls, 3 babies under the age of 4, I had no choice but to get organised; it was a matter of survival for me!
This is something that happened gradually over time; I was really struggling after having my 3rd baby. At the time Maya my oldest was 4 and she was at nursery part time. Amaara, my second baby was 16 months old so still pretty much a baby herself. With the hubby away every week with work, I just couldn’t seem to catch up on anything, whether it be sleep, laundry or cooking. I felt like a constant mess, often tearful, exhausted and defeated. But, as they say, things do get easier with time and by the time Maya had started school, we were in an okay-ish routine and I was coping better with the demands of motherhood and life in general. But, as always, life has its ups and downs, there are still some days where I go to bed, too tired to clear away toys and books or even clean the kitchen (which is a big deal for me!)
I incorporated the following into my daily/weekly routine to help ease the strain on me; after all, happy mum, happy family right?
1) I get myself ready first
I wake up 30 minutes before the girls in order to get myself ready first. Everyone is obviously different and some women don’t do their hair and/or make-up every day which is fine and it works for them! I do my make up most days as it makes me feel put together and ready to face the day. If I had the time, I’d do my hair but it’s super thick and difficult to handle so I pop it up into a mum bun and I’m good to go! Once I’m done, I wake up the girls and get them ready for school/nursery.
2) We have a routine
The girls have been in a routine from when they were very little and it’s become second nature to us now. I may do a separate post on their actual routine but just to give you a bit of an idea, my oldest is at school full time so I take the little ones to activities whilst Maya is at school. My youngest Imaani (3) recently dropped her afternoon nap but both Amaara (4) and Imaani still have ‘quiet time’ every afternoon where they stay in their rooms and read a book or talk to each other for around 30 minutes to an hour. We make a big deal of doing a movie night every Friday with popcorn, nachos and other treats. On the weekend they are allowed to indulge in chocolate cereals on Saturdays and homemade pancakes with Nutella and strawberries on Sundays. Like I said, this is totally ingrained in their minds now, they don’t for instance as for chocolate cereal on a Monday or wouldn’t think to ask to watch a movie on a Tuesday. I have to say though that we are flexible when the girls are on holiday, then this all pretty much goes out of the window. As much as they thrive on routine, we have to adjust according to circumstances, their state of mind, health etc.
3) I lay out their clothes and breakfast dishes the night before
It seems like you would only need a few minutes to lay out clothes for 3 kids but trust me, in the mornings it was always a mad dash and I don’t like to rush the girls first thing. Someone’s socks are always missing and where did I put her tie last night?! I want them to have a relaxed start to the day and I realised that this is something that is down to how rushed I am feeling-or not.
Even the breakfast dishes aren’t a big deal to put out in the morning but when we all come down, having everything ready saves me a few precious minutes to make a cup of coffee or unload the dishwasher.
4) I get dinner ready as soon as I get back from the morning school run
Okay, I don’t do this as much as I’d like to, especially if I have work calls scheduled in the am, but it’s great to get it out of the way instead of it looming over your head until the kids get home from school. I get my groceries delivered every Monday morning so when I order them I already have a pretty good idea of what I’ll be making in the week. I also keep their snacks and fruits washed and cut up in the fridge, ready to grab whenever the girls are feeling peckish after school.
5) A load a day keeps the chaos away!
I do 1-2 loads of laundry every day- I know it may seems excessive to some but there are 5 of us and I like to wash their uniforms every day due to germs they can pick up at school and nursery. I hate laundry but it’s gotta be done- it is a never ending household chore and keeping on top of it makes me feel less overwhelmed.
6) I give our bathrooms a once over
I am so grateful to be able to have cleaners who clean our entire house once a week. However, throughout the week I’ll spot clean different areas of the house, especially our bathrooms; I keep gloves, dettol wipes and bleach in every bathroom and in the evenings I just give the sinks and the toilets a quick swish. It takes no time at all and makes such a difference when you wake up in the morning to a lovely shiny sink!
7) I make lists and carry a notebook
So I get made fun of by my husband and brother for being so ‘old fashioned’ but I write all my lists and appointments out by hand. I’ve never used the calendar on my phone or laptop; yes, it’s probably easier to use my phone but this is my way of rebelling against technology. I love to jot things down, I make to do lists for the day every morning and it’s so satisfying to cross things off my list one by one I have a big family planner on my kitchen wall) which contains everything I need to track my family’s schedules and activities.
8) I work at night
One thing I’ve always said to myself is that I’d never stop working after having kids. I have been working from home ever since I was 6 months pregnant with Maya and thankfully my employer is super flexible when it comes to which days and times I work. I tried working during the day and found myself really stressed out about all the million other things I had to complete as well. When the girls are in bed, I can work in peace, without feeling guilty that I haven’t spent enough time with them. I also try not to work the days my husband is away as I need to be firing on all cylinders when I’m alone.
9) I make time for myself
As much as I love being a mum, in order for me to be a good mum, I need to invest time in myself. I go for regular manicures and pedicures, I meet friends for dinner from time to time and although this is rare, I try to schedule date nights with the hubby. I’m a homebody, I LOVE being at home with the girls, I’d rather stay in and watch a movie than make an effort for a date night. Sounds terrible I know, but my husband and I just want to chill most evenings so we end up doing what requires as little effort as possible.
10) I have learnt to say no
I used to feel like I had to say yes to everything- baking for the cake sale, doing a lot of play dates, all kinds of extra stuff- and I’d just add to the already massive load on my shoulders. If I know that I can’t fit something in or truth be told that I can’t be bothered, I have just learnt to politely say no. I know it won’t be this way forever, I will eventually be able to yes to a few things again but for now, I’m doing what is best for me and my family.
I hope you have found this post useful…maybe it will inspire you or maybe you have some organising tips of your own that you’d like to share! Also please know that this is just what works for me, it might not suit everyone 🙂