I am so excited to share a guest post with you today on routines from blogger and simplifying sister, Tara Dubiel.
Tara writes about her journey toward a more simple life on her blog, i Dream of Simple. You can find so many great tips and tons of amazing information on simplifying your own life.
She doesn’t just talk about decluttering (although there’s a lot on that as well). She shares practical advice for simplifying all areas of life, especially for women and moms. My favorite thing about Tara’s blog is all of the fun challenges she tries and shares her experiences with all of us!
In addition to simplifying your home, it’s important that we simplify our time as well. To do this, you have to know your priorities, your pain points, and what you most want out of life. The best way to put your priorities first each and every day is to have some awesome routines in place!
I’ve talked about how to rock your routine on Practigal Blog, and this post by Tara is a great resource to alongside that.
Today, Tara is showing us 5 essential routines for any mom, along with some awesome tips and resources. There are so many great ideas in this post, and I’m looking forward to implementing some of them in my own life.
I hope you find Tara’s advice as helpful as I did! Be sure to leave a comment letting Tara and I know what you think!
5 Routines That Will Simplify Your Mom Life Today
As a busy mom, we have a lot of things to manage on any given day. There’s cooking, cleaning, shopping for kid clothes, school supplies, managing kid schedules, getting our own work done, and maybe if we feel like it, squeezing in some self-care, exercise or meditation.
Even if we have an amazing spouse who pitches in with household chores, moms tend to be the ones who are taking the big picture view and making all the pieces work together!
One of the things that has helped me to manage and simplify all of these tasks and activities is to implement certain routines throughout my day.
This post will walk you through 5 routines that have significantly helped to simplify my life as a working mom of two small kiddos. Do I get these routines perfect every day? Absolutely not!
But when I do follow through on these routines, things seem to run that much smoother. It’s also helpful to have a starting point to come back to when things seem to head towards crazy town, which they inevitably do from time to time. 🙂
What is the Significance of a Routine?
From a busy mom’s perspective, there are tons of decisions to make all day long: what to cook for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, what to dress your kids in, when to do household chores, what fun activities to do with the family, what you’ll do for exercise and when, when to fit in doctor’s appointments, and the list goes on.
According to research, the more decisions you make in a day, the higher the chance of you reaching decision fatigue. This means that the decisions you make at the end of the day will probably not be as good as those you make earlier when you are fresh.
A great example is waiting until 4:00 or 5:00 in the afternoon to decide what to make for dinner. By this point in the day, you have already made tons of decisions and will probably opt for the easiest option – takeout. If you plan for dinner in advance, you are much more likely to follow through and prepare that healthy meal.
Many people worry that a routine is restrictive. It is actually quite the opposite. A routine doesn’t specify what you will do during each minute of the day. Rather, you determine a set of activities and a general block of time during the day or week.
Routines are meant to be flexible and allow you to live your life, not dictate your life.
Now let’s take a look at the 5 routines that have helped me in my mom life.
5 Routines Every Mom Should Have to Simplify Her Life
By having routines in place for things that happen on a regular basis you will set yourself up for success and a smoother, more enjoyable life.
Here are 5 routines that have helped me in my mom life and I think will help any mom in whatever season you are in.
1. Morning Routine
The first routine to implement is a morning routine. Now, I know what you are thinking: there is no way you are getting up at 5:00 AM when your little ones were up 2 or 3 times the night before. You NEED those extra Z’s (plus a cup or two of coffee) just to function the next day!
And I get it, I really do! There are absolutely seasons when you need that extra sleep and waking up early is not an option.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t implement a morning routine. Yours will likely just look a little different from the mom who has school-aged kiddos who sleep through the night.
The author and podcaster, Kat Lee, recommends waking up FOR your kids and not TO your kids. I love this simple mindset shift and can totally relate. On the days that I don’t wake up even 5-10 minutes before my kids, I feel like I’m playing catchup all day long.
On the flip side, when I do spend some intentional time in the morning, I feel refreshed as though I can tackle anything that day!
Each person’s morning routine will look different, but here are a few things to think about adding to your routine. I would recommend starting with one thing for a week or so, and then add in more as you see fit.
I also want to point out that some days I don’t get to everything in my routine, and that is totally ok! Depending on how the night before went, I may only take 5-10 minutes to meditate or stretch before my kids wake up. Even these short minutes help me to feel more centered and relaxed and ready for the day.
Morning routine activities to try:
- Read a devotional or inspirational book
- Write in a journal
- Meditate and/or pray
- Drink coffee or tea
- Write out your to-do list for the day
- Throw in a load of laundry
2. Evening Routine
An evening routine is just as important as your morning routine, if not more so! Let me tell you why.
Everything you do the night before to prepare for the next day will have a positive impact on how your morning goes.
We’ve all been there.
You wake up and get yourself ready. And then you have to wake up your kids, pick out their clothes, help them get dressed, try to find their shoes, pack lunches, make and eat breakfast, try to find homework and backpacks, remember it’s a field trip day so you need to pack the permission slip, and then finally pile in the car and head to school.
There are probably a lot of “hurry ups!” and “let’s get going!” along the way too. Phew!!!
Just thinking about all the things that you need to think about and remember in the mornings (when time is usually of the essence), is enough to stress you out!
By spending a few minutes the night before to think about the day ahead, you will be so much more relaxed and easy going in the morning.
Here are a few things to prep the night before:
- Check the calendar to see if you need to prepare for any games, practices, field trips, etc.
- Pack lunches right after dinner while the kitchen is still being used.
- Layout clothes for the next day, including shoes.
- Pack up homework and backpacks and set them by the door.
- Clean up the kitchen and start the dishwasher.
By doing all these things the night before, you will save so much time and energy in the morning.
3. Meal Planning Routine
Most families want to eat every single day! Who knew??
Having some kind of routine in place for meals is so helpful in reducing stress and helping you feed your families healthy meals.
There are several benefits to meal planning including eating healthier, saving money, eating together as a family, and less stress.
You can plan your meals weekly, monthly or even longer. I like to plan a week at a time in Trello and use my favorite cookbooks to pull new recipes to try.
The key is to do what works for you and your family.
4. Cleaning and/or Decluttering Routine
Cleaning and maintaining your home is just part of being a homeowner or renter. These tasks, unfortunately, need to be repeated over and over. There are two keys to making these tasks more tolerable: your mindset and a routine!
Your mindset is so important when it comes to cleaning and minimizing clutter in your home. Instead of thinking about household chores as a burden and something you HAVE to do every day and week, think about how lucky you are to have a home over your head and clothes for your family. This may seem woo-woo but by thinking about chores from the mindset of gratitude, it’s so much more doable!
A routine is important here because the more often you clean an area, the easier it is to clean the next time, and usually, it won’t take as much time to clean either. Bonus!
There are tons of options for cleaning routines, just do a simple Pinterest search and you’ll have tons of routines to try! I think the key is to tweak these routines to fit your lifestyle and schedule. Don’t try something, find out it doesn’t work, and then give up. Change up the routine, and find out what works for you.
I mention decluttering in this routine because if you have clutter everywhere, there is no sense in coming up with a great cleaning routine. I would recommend spending the same amount of time you would cleaning and declutter instead. If you don’t know what to declutter, here are 100+ items to get rid of today!
This will help eliminate the unnecessary items in your home and make it that much easier to clean your home.
5. Self Care Routine
In the book Stretched Too Thin, Jessica Turner talks about how being a mom does not mean you are a martyr. In other words, just because we are a mom, does not mean we get to glorify busy and run around like a mad woman.
It’s important to invest in our families, while still taking care of ourselves. By taking care of ourselves first, we are better able to show up every day and be present and available to our families.
For me personally, on the days I don’t get enough sleep because I was up late watching TV, or when I don’t exercise or spend some time reading, I am usually short with my family and just don’t feel great. I have learned what fills me up and what I specifically need in order to be the best mom, spouse, and worker I can be.
I encourage you to spend some time thinking about what you love to do, what fills you up, and what gets you energized. It may look different from my list and that is perfectly ok! We are all different.
How to Implement a New Routine
So now that you know the importance of routines and a few to try in your life, I wanted to touch on how to implement a new routine.
According to James Clear, there is a framework that can make it easier to stick to new habits to improve your mom life. He calls it the “3 R’s of Habit Change” and it is summarized as follows:
- Reminder (the trigger that initiates the behavior)
- Routine (the behavior itself, the action you take)
- Reward (the benefit you gain from doing the behavior)
I would recommend that you pick just ONE of the routines from this post. Don’t try to do it all at once!!
So if you want to start a morning routine and exercise for 15-20 minutes, the reminder could be your alarm going off and your clothes and shoes already set out.
The routine would be you doing your exercise activity, whether it’s running, following a YouTube video, or going for a walk. Find something you love to do!
The reward is more energy and focus during the day. You are also probably more patient and present with your kiddos because you had some me-time before they started in with their demands.
Tara Dubiel is a wife and a mom to two beautiful and active kids. She writes at i Dream of Simple about her family's journey to declutter their space, time, and mind with the hope of learning to cultivate a life with enough.