Motherhood

8 Things I’ve Stopped Doing To Be A Less Busy Mom

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.

How I got rid of 10 big boxes of clutter.

My sister in law gave me that 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.

You may also love: How to start a journal for busy moms in two minutes/day

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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8 Things I've stopped doing to be less busy as a mom while taking care of children
I think there is nothing my kids want more than for me to sit and watch them play. Part of being less busy is allowing myself to do that and not do other things. 

Mom holding her baby outside on a red lawn chair and taking care of children

Pinterest image of a mother holding her baby: Tips for taking care of children and being less busy

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34 thoughts on “8 Things I’ve Stopped Doing To Be A Less Busy Mom

  1. I love the bit about leaving your phone on the charger. I am probably on my phone more than I should be sometimes, especially with starting my blog. These are great tips.

    1. Thank you for reading! Ya, it’s especially hard for bloggers because everything we do is computer based. You know! What age are your kiddos? I can remember being aware of my phone out when my first started trying to grab it as a baby.

    1. hi Michelle! Yes, I love staying home and it’s just sometimes easier with little ones. Glad I’m not the only one! Going out is fun, but it seems like sometimes it can be out of guilt to be a fun parent. Home can be fun too, right?!

  2. This is such a great post Liz! You are an awesome mama. I defiantly need to do the leave your phone on the charge for a chunk of the day!🤦🏻‍♀️

  3. I love this! It’s so true and it only took me 10 months after having my son to do most of this! I wish we knew this before hand! Lol but I guess it’s all supposed to be a learning experience as well!

  4. I’m finally winding down from a day of working at a daycare caring for kids and coming home and taking care of my own I’m a single mom and things around my house can get a little crazy with an 8 5 and 3 year old plus maple our Labrador from helping with homework to cooking dinner playing with the kids and getting ready for bed just wears me out but all the love I receive just makes it all worth it reading your blog’s very helpful and I will start to take some of your advice thanks alot for sharing

    1. I’m glad you found it encouraging! I hope some of these tips will make everything with three kids feel a little bit more manageable. You are a rockstar having to do it all on your own, superwoman to me!

  5. These tips are great. And you have really hit the nail on the head for me, with most of them. Tonight I am going to be revamping my schedule and mapping a simple plan for homeschool (based off your homeschool pre-k post). I will be using these pointers to help me be more productive and hands on through out my days. I need all the help I can get right now. Thanks again! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Rhonda! I feel like it’s easier to do a few things well than get spread so thin and feel flustered all the time. I’m glad you liked my preschool post and I can’t wait for you enjoy how simple it can be while still seeing them learn what they need!

  6. Hi, I just found this post and found it very inspiring. My twins are 21 months old and many of your tips ring true (like how exhausting outings are).

    The decluttering tip is also quite true. When you have twins people are generous and give you lots of stuff – lots of it is helpful but lots of things like plushies and dreaded keepsakes add up to clutter. I’m taking your advice and I’ll do my best to donate the things I was holding on to out of guilt.

    1. Hi Jo-Anne,
      You are a rock star, one baby at that age is a lot to follow around and I can’t imagine twins going two directions! Yes, one thing I’ve never written about before is baby clutter. It’s tricky because if you are not done having kids it’s not practical to repurchase some things. One thing I’ve taken to doing is keeping only a few of my favorite items in good shape to save or items that were really expensive that I couldn’t find again, and selling/giving away the rest. (To be specific I once donated 5 clear storage boxes of baby clothes to a thrift store because our apartment was spilling out the closets). I’d been keeping any hand me downs from boy or girl for when would have our third (whether or not I liked them), and it was madness because they don’t even always fit in the right season. I decided to change my thinking to buy only what we would use, when we would use it, even if it had to be used or borrowed. Good luck and you got this!

  7. I love these tips!! And have been slowly integrating them all in my life. I’ve only got one little of my own, but I nanny at my home all through the week and usually have three under three at once! I love the phone tip, and the laundry tip. I’ve also started doing one load of laundry a day. It’s a small one, and usually only takes me ten minutes to fold it and put it away. It seems so much more manageable than taking an hour or more to do one giant load a week. 🙂 Plus, we can cut down on some of our wardrobe. 🙂

    1. Nikki that’s such a good idea. Cutting down your wardrobe seriously helps force you to know what’s dirty and clean because you have to! Less to store, less to put away, less to sit around in dirty hampers, great job getting rid of stuff. But yes, the most productive tip I have, is to put down your phone and see what happens in 20 minutes. It’s sad that our phones do so much for us and yet also steal so much from us because we let them!

  8. I love this! I am so relieved someone else felt like the year after number 3 was a HugE and somehow messy/crazy time. It woke me up to the less busy life and thankfully to minimalize everything including my crazy self expectations! Saying no to extras and to my want to be a Pinterest worthy mom has really set me free from the busy on top of all your tips. Great encouragement! I’d say too, challenge kiddos to try new ways to help…. my daughter randomly decided to make lunches the other day and did as good of a job as me at 6 so now that’s her role to help the fam and she loves it (so do I!)

    1. Kate, yes to continually seeing if kids can help out more. Every time my parents come to visit they ask my kids to do things that I haven’t yet required and I’m usually quite shocked that they are totally capable! Like putting away their own shoes and jackets even at a pretty young age or picking up their own garbage and throwing it away. So awesome your daughter wanted to help with lunch too!

  9. Hey,
    I have been through lots of posts recently but too be honest this one is the best one. I can relate very easily myself to every word of this post, only the difference here is I am having only one kid. And yes suggestions and experiance you have written are very helpful for me.

    Thank you for sharing your experiance 🙂

    1. Thanks! It’s so important to know that with one kid you may be just as busy and tired in many ways. Especially during the baby/toddler years. When you are their only play mate it can be overwhelming at times, especially as your life no longer revolves around you. Great job mama.

  10. Hey Liz,

    Great post and helpful too. You are a great mama. I can very easily relate myself to every situation in the post. And it was really very helpful

  11. I can relate to this post so much! ESP the part about not doing ANYTHING while the kids are napping ! I have 3 kids under five two of them are twins and I follow exactly the same things that you have described here 😅 excellent !

    1. Hey Taruna,
      I’ve always wondered what it would be like having twins! Glad you take the time when they are napping to just sit down for a minute. That’s a rarity in this phase of life for you I bet!

  12. The tips are so true and helpful. I did those.
    Whenever I felt tired of all the house chores, kids, cooking, etc., I just sit down quietly within 15mins, this way I regain so much energy. And coffee really helps me a Lot. Haha!

    1. Hi Ann,
      Glad these were helpful. What a good idea to just sit for a while to decompress. And yes to coffee! I even like decaf in the afternoon, it’s something about the smell that’s relaxing even if I can’t do another cup with caffeine!

  13. I will definitely be using these tips! Thank you.
    I am a stay at home mom, I have two kiddos 13 and 3 but I watch my 1 yr old niece which can be overwhelming at times and have even thought about going back to work just to get away. I know that’s not what I really want because I’m sure that would be even more stressful. Having a checklist will definitely make things go smoother (fingers crossed) 🙂

    1. Hi Melissa,
      Glad these tips helped, and hope you are able to find a better balance watching kids and managing the stress that comes with it. Being a stay at home mom is hard work, so good job mama.

    1. Hi Yolinda, yes the phone is tricky. It gets used for so many different purposes, but I’m definitely in the habit of checking it way too many times a day and get distracted on it. I’m way less busy feeling when I put it down, allow myself to feel bored at times, and use the 10 minutes here and there to do chores or play with my kids. Good luck!

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