I’ve been a mother for sixteen years now and I’m surprised at how quickly my kids have grown. I’m also surprised at how much I’ve learned as I teach them. I’m glad I’ve had this space to share those lessons and to learn from you. It’s been about eight years since I started sharing useful tidbits to make mama’s life easier here and if I’ve learned anything over these years, it’s that we do far too much to complicate motherhood! If you can relate and you’re looking for solutions, read on for 7 practical ways to make motherhood a heck of a lot easier.
7 Ways to Make Motherhood Easier
Look around you. Does everything have a place? Is almost everything in its place? If not, make some effort to find a place for everything and then start putting things away. It may seem tough to manage, but searching for things when you need them is even tougher and wastes more time. ( I know this from experience!!) You don’t need a Pinterest-worthy organization system, but you do need a system that works for your family. You’ll also want to get the kids in the habit of putting things away. Again, not easy, but necessary and worth it.
Beyond keeping your stuff organized, it also helps to keep your days organized. You need a place for all your to-do’s, appointments and plans. I use a paper planner and my phone’s calendar and reminders. I prefer the paper, but I need those digital reminders and I can share appointments directly with my husband’s calendar. You definitely don’t have to do both, but you should do what’s necessary to keep yourself and your family on schedule and on track. Most years, I pick up a new Erin Condren planner around this time because they’re 50% off. Here’s my referral link for an additional $10 if you’re a new customer: $10 off at Erin Condren. (By the way, once you’re a customer, you’ll get a referral link to share, too.)
Nothing simplifies life quite like getting rid of stuff. I’m no minimalist, but I regularly pack up things that we no longer need, no longer use and no longer fit and we get rid of it. If you need to do this on a large scale, I recommend doing a little at a time. It can be extremely overwhelming to try to tackle a huge decluttering job in one day (or even a few days). I recommend the tried and true method of creating three piles or containers–one for things you’ll keep, one for things you’ll toss and one for things you’ll donate. I used to put our excess things in the trunk to drop off at Goodwill, but honestly, those bags would stay in my car much too long. Now, I opt for the charities with pick-up service or I sell and give things away on Varage Sale (and Facebook Marketplace, sparingly). My kids also know how to put things aside to get rid of. Now, if we could only stop bringing new things in when we get the old things out ;-).
Make wellness a priority.
Historically, I’ve been horrible at this, but it’s my number one goal this year. When I’m feeling well mentally, spiritually and physically, it becomes a lot easier to take care of my crew. Unfortunately, I’m one of those moms who puts more energy into taking care of everyone else than I do into taking care of myself. That’s never a good situation and, like the previous challenges I’ve mentioned, it just makes life more complicated.
So, as I challenge myself in this area, I’ll challenge you as well. Let’s at least drink enough water, take our supplements and add some physical activity into our daily routines. I also encourage you to build a daily habit of journaling, prayer and even sitting quietly if you don’t do these things already. These small steps will go a long way toward simplifying life and motherhood.
Ask for help.
Okay, Super Woman, I know you think you can do it all alone, but you don’t have to. There is no weakness in asking for help. So, ask for help when you need it. Don’t spend time worrying about what the person you’re asking will think of you–it doesn’t make you look bad or incapable to need a helping hand every now and then. Just ask for the help you need and take help when it’s offered. And in those times when you have a little extra time on your hands, do your best to help another mom.
Accept the seasons.
When my son was an infant, I thought he’d never sleep through the night. I was sure we’d never make it past that stressful season, but we did. And now, when I look at my 5’7″ eleven year old, I long for the days when he was small enough to carry. Moral of the story: accept the season you’re in and know that a new one is right around the corner.
As I write this, we’re in the throes of parenting a teenager and I regularly tell myself, “This too shall pass!” But, as much as I want it to pass, I realize that years from now, I may be longing for these moments again. The best I can do is make the most of each season, remembering that they’re all temporary.
Don’t compare yourself.
I get it–we see what other moms are doing and we have our idea of what a “good” mom is. The problems start when we measure ourselves against those other moms and those usually way-too-unrealistic ideals. STOP IT! Know that you are the right mom for the job because you’re the mom God gave the job to. Just keep working hard, keep learning and cut yourself some slack. Feel free to take your cues from what other moms are doing, but never beat yourself up for not being more like some other mom.
Do it with love.
I’ve been practicing a new skill. Rather than complaining about all I have to do for my little clan, I’m learning to do it all with love. I was spending too much time angry and offended because I had to drive somewhere or pick up someone’s trash. But the truth is, I’m blessed to have these people who need me and it’s important that I find joy in that. So, I remind myself to serve and give from a place of love rather than a place of resentment. Life is much easier when I choose to be grateful for the kid who’s making the mess, instead of being frustrated by the mess. When I tell you this is changing the game for me, don’t take it lightly.
And I’ll leave you with that. Before you go though, I’d like to know what you do to make motherhood easier or which of these tips resonates most with you. Let’s chat a bit in the comments or on Twitter or The MamaZone’s Facebook page!