3 Simple Ways I Made My Life Easier as a Mom
To whom it may concern,
Ever wonder how I navigate through life all while making parenting look so easy? Here are the 3 rules I live by:
Create a routine at birth and stick to it. For as long as I can remember, I've always enjoyed being around kids and knew early I wanted to be a mommy. I was the kid who loved playing baby dolls and creating my own make believe scenarios of motherhood. A few friends had babies early which gave me the opportunity to practice on real live babies. Fast forward to my college years, when I became a nanny for a few families. One family in particular I remembered had a special routine that I was asked to maintain while their kids were in my care. Dinner and bath time was followed by book reading, brushing teeth and all little people being put to bed before 8:30 PM. That was the plan and unless there were some special circumstances, this plan needed to be implemented every day. It worked for their family dynamics. I knew I wanted this very routine for my own family some day.
In 2013 I became a mother for the first time. My background prepared me for raising kids of my own. This is what helped me create a routine.
We refrained from co sleeping! This could be controversial for some but the choice was simple for me. Sure, I nursed for a while and often feel asleep with a tiny baby snuggling under my breast. I was sure not to make this a habit. Once I woke, off to their beds they went. I believe the bedroom belongs to mommy and daddy's and you may enter upon our request. I knew I never wanted to be the parent that fought with tiny kicks in the middle of the night or occasional feet in my face.
Set a bedtime! The afternoons are the busiest in the Strickland household. After work, I quickly rush home to tackle dinner, school work, baths, etc. School days are extremely busy but one rule we stand by is BED TIME! In earlier days, my kids would actually put themselves to bed. No really, they would be so exhausted by the day's activities and their little bodies were (and still are) accustomed to being in bed before PM. This routine ensures our kids are well rested for the following day and gives mommy and daddy some quiet alone time at the end of each night.
Assign chores and teach independence. There is nothing more frustrating than coming home from work and met at the doorways by backpacks, lunchboxes, jackets, and toys. My kids learned the hard way and know by now that this is a big No No! Our littles are now 6 and 8 years old and are assigned age appropriate chores. They are both responsible for hanging their jackets and backpacks in the designated spots, emptying their lunchboxes, and taking their shoes and clothes to their rooms. Other age appropriate chores includes tidying their rooms, making their beds, emptying the trash cans and taking them back upstairs.
I may be pretty late to the party but here's another way I recently discovered to surely make my life easier: Teach independence early! I was recently the mom that kneeled over the bathtub to bathe my kids and finish the task by dressing them one by one. Girl, this eventually started to take up way too much time! So, I taught them how to properly prepare for bath time on their own. I'm proud to report they can now be trusted to run their own bath water, throughly cleanse, lotion up, and tidy up the bathroom after they're done! I'm proud of myself for this one! I thought the day would never come but here we are!
Go easy on yourself! We should hear this more often, right?! Give yourself some grace momma! You are not REQUIRED to do it all! Leave the dishes in the sink and sit on the couch with your family for a quick show. Forget about the last load of laundry in the dyer and enjoy a glass of wine while soaking in a bubble bath! Don't be so quick to focus on what you haven't done, instead, reward yourself for nurturing and loving on your family. Just in case you haven't heard it lately, you're doing a good job!