Ever feel like being a mom is the same thing as being a busy mom? I know I do, but there are ways to find relief and slow down. I think this season of motherhood has made me feel really overwhelmed and busy. 5 months ago we had our 3rd baby. 4 months ago my husband got a job after one month of searching. 2 months ago we moved across the country. And 2 weeks ago we all flew across the country again after losing my beautiful sister to cancer.
Life can just be hard and overwhelming. Here’s what I’ve stopped doing to be a less busy mom and just catch my breath. Sometimes you just have to cut things out to make room for what’s important at the time.
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8 Things I’ve stopped doing to be a less busy mom
1. I only grocery shop once a week.
I used to go a few times a week since we lived so close to a store, but going less has saved me a lot of time. Probably 1 hour each time minimum…and a lot of money. We order a TON of items online through Amazon Prime because I love their two day shipping and 20% discount for diapers and wipes. Get your free 30 day trial here.
I also ship things from Target. My Target Red Card (a debit card) allows me to get free shipping on an order over $25.
2. I stay home a lot.
Going anywhere alone with my kids right now is exhausting to me, even if it’s fun for them. I’m still waking up to nurse a few times at night, which adds to the tired feeling. I ask myself if the place I want to go is worth doing 6 buckles, 30 minutes of packing to get out the door, and the stress of herding/carrying 3 tiny kids plus a diaper bag.
It’s fun to go out and sometimes we feel like being a fun mom means providing all this entertainment, but it’s not all necessary. While the library, the pool, the park, and all those places are fun, my kids need to know it’s a privilege and not my obligation to take them.
If I simply pay attention to them at home (aka get off my phone and watch them play), at least at this age they are pretty happy! Also, having a mom friend that can come over with her kids is super helpful in this season of life.
With that being said, I honestly don’t get invited to a ton of mom friend’s houses, but if I invite at least 2 or 3 over someone almost always comes. Being a mom can be lonely, so don’t be afraid to reach out and host because we all love an invite there are plenty of moms around you who still need friends!
Related Post: 24 Easy Indoor activities for toddlers.
3. I’ve stopped cooking elaborate meals.
Ok, I really do miss eating great homemade food, and I miss the variety of things I used to make. But for a season, I’ve opted for less dirty dishes and less time prepping.
We make simple dishes like meat with rice and veggies, and often on paper plates. I’m ok with that for a season.
I use my Instant Pot a lot, which is kind of a game changer! It functions as my rice/quinoa cooker, or slow cooker, sautés, and I can put frozen meat in it that’s perfectly tender start to finish in one hour.
Here is one of my go-to meals of chicken, beans, and rice that only takes 15 minutes of prep and only dirties one pan.
4. I use nap time to relax and be less busy.
Like drinking a cup of coffee (and enjoying that it’s still hot!), or catching up on the computer. This time is my ONLY alone time that I get, so I’m pretty intentional about not doing chores or having people over during that time or talking on the phone. I just really enjoy the quiet! Every once in a while I’ll catch up on cleaning the kitchen, but that’s about it.
Update June 2018: To be honest, my house got a little out of control over the first year after having my 3rd baby. Like instead of tackling what seemed like the impossible I just wanted to bury my head under a blanket and avoid seemingly endless house work, kid spills, clutter thrown everywhere, pots and pans pulled out by my baby, and the general mess that accompanies taking care of children.
I didn’t like using the kids nap time to clean and organize, and I didn’t have a plan for cleaning when they were awake. To fix this, I’m now doing a few daily chores while the kids are awake like dishes, vacuuming, & laundry.
I made a printable daily and room by room checklist which helps A TON, and you can see how I do that in this post: What to clean in your house each day to end the overwhelm and despair.
5. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of clutter, so there’s less to put away.
The more stuff we have, the more stuff I have to pick up and put away. I found too much clutter was a trigger for me that made me angry, overwhelmed, and resentful of my kids who leave it around the house and take stuff out of closets when I’m not in the room.
This was especially easy to do before we moved because I knew if I got rid of it I didn’t have to pack or unpack it. We got rid of 10 boxes of stuff from a small 2 bedroom apartment! Now it’s time to do that again. I have a box that always has giveaway in it so that there is a place for items I don’t want anymore.
My sister in law gave me thist book after she used it to get rid of mounds of stuff. Her house is so peaceful! She cleans and reorganizes less than most people because she has less to clean and reorganize! And she has 5 kids without all the baby clutter. Her kids have great imaginations even though they don’t have as many toys as most.
The book walked me through how to get rid of things according to how much they mean to me. It taught me how to appreciate when an item was useful in the past, and to get rid of things that are not serving their purpose anymore!
That’s how I was able to emotionally get rid of 10 boxes of things I couldn’t get rid of before. While I’m not into the religious side of what she has to say, everything else was useful to me.
From college clothes, to gifts I felt guilty giving away, to baby clothes that wouldn’t fit our kids for years…I was able to get rid of them and shut my closet doors which had been too full to close. Just in time for baby number 3 to arrive.
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6. I leave my phone on the charger during chunks of the day.
This is hard to do because I use my phone for so much. Looking up recipes, texting Peter pics of the kids, editing pics for my blog and social media, mobile banking, googling answers to questions that pop up in my brain, keeping up on the family text threads, etc.
If I have my phone on me at all times then I’m tempted to be on my phone at all times, which is scary but true. I’m way less busy and more present with my kids if I just leave it out of reach.
7. I’m a less busy mom by not fulfilling everyone’s requests.
My kids have to learn patience, and they have learned that mom is not their servant. It’s so easy for me to just respond to their requests all day like “I’m hungry for my 15th snack of the day”, or “More milk please”, or “Where’s my shoes”.
To be honest, it’s a habit that started when I became a mom and had to fully do everything (because babies don’t wait, haha). The lines kind of blurred as my kids got to toddler age and I didn’t make them wait because I was just used to responding I guess.
Out of necessity I now make them wait until I can get to it and sometimes they just hear, “not now”. This helps me feel way less busy! Part of it is just figuring out what they actually need and what they just want.
Update Dec 2018: My oldest just turned 5, and he is capable of A LOT more than last year! We have simple chores for him. Check out 15 chores for 5 year olds to teach them responsibility.
8. Stop trying to multitask to save time.
This makes me stressed! For example I’ll try to nurse a baby and dress a toddler, or answer a text while trying to paint the walls (which, btw, I dropped my cracked iPhone IN to the paint, which seeped into the speaker and charger holes…and it’s still working somehow!!)
A perfect example of this is how I’ll get online to do one thing and then find 10 tabs open on my computer…aaa, help! I’m trying to feel less busy by just doing one thing well, then moving on.
Find what kids can do for themselves to cut down your work load
We are also teaching them to do more on their own when possible, which decreases my tasks. Like recently we just taught Nigel and Laila how to move the stool to the sink, turn on the faucet, and fill up their own cup. WOW! So helpful.
In addition to doing less for them, I’ve also purchased a few things that will save me time daily.
- Shoes they can put on by themselves.
- Knobs they can hang up their own coats (instead of me putting them on hangers).
- Cups that don’t spill, this suction cup sippy has been a DREAM! Great for ages 1 and older.
Being busy with kids is normal, but sometimes self-inflicted
Feeling busy while taking care of children can be more than just circumstances, it can be a personality thing. I’ve met people that can’t sit still. They literally can’t just sit and chill on a couch and have a cup of coffee. That stresses me just thinking about it.
I’ve also met people who want things perfect, or how they used to be before kids when they had time to do it all (ahem, I fall into this a lot). Trying to do everything you used to while adding babies to the mix is just not reality. It will make you feel like a failure when you are not, and be constantly frustrated.
So I’d say for me, much of it is my mindset. I’ve lowered my standards a bit as to what I should be getting done in addition to keeping 3 humans alive.
How to be less busy with laundry
While I need to do laundry MORE often, here are my tips for being less busy with laundry:
- I never wash something until it’s dirty or smelly. Almost to a fault, where sometimes I should clean it sooner. A lot of moms I know wash something after wearing it once or twice, even if it isn’t dirty and doesn’t stink. It all adds up, so give yourself less to wash and hang it back up if it’s not dirty!
- Buy darker clothes for your kids. I LOVE white and baby pink. But truly, for us it’s for church days only because it would triple my laundry. I even searched to find clay colored shorts for my boys because thats the color of the dirt in our back yard. It’s awesome!
- Designate some dark clothing as play clothes. My kids have dark colored clothes that they can get dirty and sometimes I’ll even have them wear dirty jeans when they go outside to play rather than dirtying a new pair. Otherwise, they would be changing multiple times a day and tossing it into the laundry basket.
Use a baby monitor to save time & decrease anxiety
Having a video baby monitor allows me to rest better because I know that I can peek on my baby from the couch or kitchen. We bought this one from Summer Infant and had it for 3 years.
I also use this to to watch my kids play in their rooms if I’m not there! Little do they know I’m keeping an eye on them sharing (or not, haha) while chopping onions for dinner…
It has the perfect small screen, and I can see them in the dark. When they got a bit older I used the audio to tell them to “lay down in their cribs” or “it’s not time to wake up yet” which was an awesome feature. I also loved that I could move their camera in their room from the video monitor and see both kids on different sides of the room.
Update Sept 2018: I just bought this exact baby monitor again. I tried a cheaper one that wouldn’t scan the room and returned it. I love how this one lets me see the whole room, especially since we now have all 3 kids sleeping in the same room. I found it on Amazon used and discounted by going to the item, then searching if it was available used from Amazon Warehouse. Try it to save money!
Tell yourself it’s ok to say no to things
I can’t do it all. Adding a baby to the mix is hard! To be less busy as a mom I actually have to cut some things out. I give myself grace to know that I’m not lazy (ok sometimes I am, lol). Opting out of fun activities does not make me a bad mom.
Life will be busy, but there are ways to tackle it and slow down. That may be saying no to volunteering at church for a while, or not heading up that bridal shower if someone else can host. It may be ordering your groceries for pickup (which I want to try!), or batch cooking frozen meals so you cook less often. How do you slow down when you feel overwhelmed? Leave a comment below and share your amazing tips!
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- 3 kids under 4: What it’s like our first month home
- 3 kids under 4: Secrets to getting out the door on time
- One nap schedule: Our experience napping 3 kids in one room
- House cleaning schedule to end the overwhelm now + free printable
- Waiting room with a toddler: tips for long appointments with 3 kids