Are you a busy mom who needs to gain back a little control with some simple daily habits?
I mean, we’re all busy moms, right? We’re all running a mile a minute trying to keep up with the kids, the cooking, the cleaning, the family schedule… it’s a LOT.
Back when I used to work full-time (ie pre-kids) I would look at stay-at-home mom friends and think “What do you do all day?” I understood that kids were no walk in the park, but I didn’t understand how all those moms seemed to lack much time for anything other than their young families, when they were literally just at home all day.
Fast forward to current times, and it can sometimes take me 15-20 minutes to chop up a sweet potato while navigating the many disruptions bestowed upon me by own kiddos.
So I get it. Moms are busy. I see that now. And while you can’t reduce the busy-ness of mom life, you can re-structure it in a few key ways.
Creating a set of daily habits is actually one of the most effective and time-efficient methods of self-care for busy moms.
When you think of self-care, do you pass it off as a luxury? Does it feel selfish to you? I believe there are a lot of misnomers about self-care, the biggest one being that it’s all about shutting off the world around you, basking in as much me-time as you can, and putting yourself first over your family, friends and the people you should be serving.
However, self-care is more about creating healthy changes in your life via habits and rituals that nurture you over time and help you find balance.
Which is why having a set of daily habits is a simple, reliable way for moms to engage in self-care and achieve some balance in the chaos.
Like I said, moms are busy. So these habits are less about adding to your schedule, and more about re-structuring, fine-tuning, and working a little more discipline into it. As I always say: every minute is an opportunity!
Are you ready to start creating some healthy daily habits?
Let’s do this!
Daily Habit 1: Get up before your kids
If you have an early riser like I do (Jackson generally wakes between 5am and 5:30am) this sounds super unpleasant. But here are the facts: your child is going to get you up heinously early anyway. So what are a few extra minutes?
Setting your alarm and getting out of bed even just ten minutes before you expect your child to wake gives you the upper hand. It means you’re getting out of bed on your terms, and you have a chance to gather your thoughts, stretch, make a coffee or have a shower before being bombarded with demands for breakfast and play. It’s ten minutes less sleep, but a 100% shift in the way you start your day.
Daily Habit 2: Put on a load of laundry first thing
We all have a ton of laundry. Getting in the routine of doing one load every day creates a habit, making laundry less of a mental hurdle. A daily load of laundry will stop the hampers from over-filling, and will create opportunities to wash towels, sheets and throw blankets on a more regular basis. I even like to load the washing machine the night before, so all I have to do in the morning is add the detergent and start the machine.
Daily Habit 3: Incorporate one vegetable into your breakfast
We can all afford to get more vegetables in. They give us more energy, they help fuel our bodies, and they can help us feel full for longer.
So add a sliced tomato to the side of a savoury breakfast, or a whole orange to the side of a sweet one. Cut up a banana in your cereal or oatmeal. Add frozen cauliflower to your smoothie. Mix some chopped broccoli or corn into your scrambled eggs. The more you consider ways to add vegetables to a meal, the more intuitive it becomes.
Check out my list of over 65 easy breakfast ideas to get some healthy breakfast inspiration.
Daily Habit 4: Complete one big chore per day
Don’t save the big chores for the weekend – free up that time by tackling them one at a time throughout the whole week instead (if you can). Get the kids involved, or do it once they’re asleep. Yes, it’s work, but the pay-off of more downtime on the weekend will be sweet.
Daily Habit 5: Play with your kids
We’re with our kids all day, every day – but how much of that is actually quality time? Any parenting resource will tell you that one-on-one time with your kids is beneficial in about a bajillion ways. So make sure that at least part of your day is dedicated to distraction-free, phone-on-the-charger, zero-disruption one-on-one time with each of your kids.
Spend the time doing something they want to do (with no screens involved). Chat with them, laugh with them, praise them, teach them, touch them and provoke their curiosity. The connection will feed both of your souls.
Daily Habit 6: Clean as you go
You’re going to be doing the work at some point anyway, so be proactive about it and pick up the trail of toys, crayons, uneaten food, clothes and sippy cups as it happens. Our homes can quickly get trashed, which is awfully chaotic for our souls, so get in the habit of picking up after the kids (and teaching them to pick up after themselves, of course!).
It’s a lot of work, but it’s broken up into manageable little fragments and it helps prevent your home from reaching that out-of-control point we’ve all witnessed since becoming parents!
Daily Habit 7: Step outside for a breather
There are a few points throughout every day when everything starts to feel like a lot for me. Maybe you can relate? My mind starts spinning and my coping mechanisms shut down a bit. I’m overstimulated, and I need to get out of that state in order to resume normal function. So I step outside, kid-free, for a two-minute break. I make sure they’re safe (playing with toys, watching TV, eating a snack, etc) and I give myself a moment to clear my head.
Usually I walk through my patio, touching and inspecting the plants (you might as well know now: I’m a crazy plant lady). Or I mindlessly straighten the outdoor furniture. Or I look in the sky to see what the weather is like. It’s never prolonged, it doesn’t take away from the kids or the housework, but it refreshes me and unscrambles my brain every time.
Daily Habit 8: Connect with a friend
It’s always good to remember that there’s life outside the walls of your home, so find the time to connect with a friend each day. Phone calls or FaceTime are ideal when you can’t see someone in person, but even a conversation over text message can do wonders for your sense of connection to the outside world. And on the occasion that you can get out of the house, make time for a coffee or a drink with someone who’s easy to spend time with.
Daily Habit 9: Snatch some me-time
You spend all day living and breathing for your kids, and that can wear a person down! Make sure you recharge each day with a bit of me-time. Avoid picking up your phone (trust me; spending your precious me-time in a social media vortex is totally unfulfilling). Engage in a hobby, watch an episode of something that you enjoy, work on a personal project, have a cup of tea, read, listen to music – just work out what your soul is craving, and make it happen.
It doesn’t need to be a long time commitment – it just needs to be a dedicated little time slot in which you can focus on yourself guilt-free. Even just ten minutes, every day, will help.
Daily Habit 10: Connect with your husband
You live with him, you sleep next to him, you parent with him, and yet in the chaos of child-raising it’s entirely possible to go days without properly connecting with your husband. Chris and I have a couple of shows that we might watch together a couple of nights during the week, I can tell him about my day with the kids and he can talk about his day at work, but all of that isn’t enough to feed a healthy marriage. We need eye contact, we need to focus fully on each other, and we need to talk about more things than the budget and the kids.
I have a friend who ends each day with a cup of tea and a chat with her husband, and I love that! If you’re not sure how to get started, try a marriage challenge – a quick search on Pinterest pulled up this one from the Relational Balance blog, which looks great, but there are plenty of options out there.
Daily Habit 11: Reset the house at night
My friend Tahlia used this phrase once, and it really stuck with me. It’s the idea that you get your home in order before you go to bed, so it’s ready for the next full day of activities. While I used to baulk at the idea of doing a bunch of chores in the evening, I’ve realised how peaceful it feels to turn out the lights on a quiet, tidy home. And it doesn’t take much effort once it’s a part of your routine.
For me, it’s usually a matter of washing the last few dishes of the day, sweeping the floors, tidying the playroom, and straightening the furniture. I make sure our water filter jug is topped up, I make sure the coffee machine has beans and water, I fill the ice cube trays, and I take out any recyclable items that have stacked up on the bench. It can be hard to get started, but the sense of peace I gain from it is worth it!
Daily Habit 12: Reflect on what has made you grateful that day
Gratefulness is an awesome daily habit for moms to get into, as it really helps your overall perspective and reminds you of what’s important. No matter what has happened on any given day, every night I’m bursting with gratefulness for Chris, the kids, and our families. I’m grateful for the roof over my head, the delicious food on our table, the friendships we enjoy, Chris’s job (despite the long days!) and the fact that I get to stay home with my kids each day. I try to reflect on one or two little things that I’m grateful for each day too, but those are my big guns.
Make sure you reflect on the things that you are grateful for each day – it doesn’t need to be a long list, it just needs to help you remember what’s good in your life.
Daily Habit 13: Go to bed at the same time each night
Do you use the bedtime alarm on your phone? You should! Most of us just crawl into bed when our bodies have pretty much given up for the day. Unfortunately, this usually means we’ve reached the point of being overtired, which can affect our ability to fall asleep, as well as the quality of our sleep.
Instead, create a bedtime routine which starts at a set time each night. Even if you begin the routine feeling quite awake, your body will begin to recognise the cues of the routine, and will get in the habit of winding down to sleep, as opposed to crashing into it! And keeping some consistency in the times you fall asleep and wake up is extremely beneficial for your body’s circadian rhythm. Especially if, like me, you’re having to get up once or twice at night to help settle little ones.
So, busy mom, are you ready to start creating some daily habits?
If all of the above seems overwhelming, there’s no reason for you to try and take it all on at once. Pick one or two to chew on, wait until they feel seamless to tackle each day, then move on and tackle the next one. The goal here is to reduce stress, use your minutes more efficiently, and make your life easier, and it certainly doesn’t need to happen entirely overnight.
Be sure to pin this article so you can keep going back to remind yourself of all these daily habits!