Mama Solutions Mamanista

How I Do it All

September 27, 2017

I get messages all the time from people asking me how I do it all or that I make motherhood look easy. Let me start by sharing my secret, I DON’T do it all. If you’re a mom you know that motherhood is far from easy unless you have both sets of retired grandparents living in your neighboorhood and willing to help. Before my mom moved back to Chicago, she used to live less than a mile away from me. She was in better health and able to help me with Peyton quite a bit. I was able to get out to events more or go out with my husband with short notice. Now she’s almost 80 and lives in Chicago. I’m home with two kids while my husband works long hours with no family to help out. It can be overwhelming but I’ve found ways to make being a stay at home mom life easier and manageable.

  1. Meal Plan. I can’t stress this enough, if you cook for your family, you have a plan. I would lose my mind if it was 5 pm and I don’t know what my kids are eating for dinner. You can read my meal planning tips HERE. It’s also ok if you eat out a few times a week. Whole Foods hot bar is BAE.
  2. Plan outfits ahead of time. I know you’re saying, who cares what I’m wearing when I running kids around. That’s one of my secrets to making motherhood “look” easy, I make sure my clothes are washed and planned out. If I have an event, I don’t wait until it’s time to get ready to figure out what I’m going to wear. It also helps to you get out the door faster. I’ll be sharing more details soon on how to curate your mom wardrobe.
  3. Outsource. We underestimate the power of outsourcing help. Apps for house cleaning and food delivery are life-saving. I have a cleaning lady come once a month to do the time-consuming stuff. It doesn’t cost as much as you think and it’s well worth it. It’s like having two of me!
  4. Add everything to your calendar. My phone stays buzzing with alarms and calendar alerts. I use a traditional planner to visualize my weeks, but alerts help me make sure I get it done or on time. Remember that time I forgot that Peyton didn’t have school? It wasn’t on my digital (phone) calendar. I also have my Google calendar connected to my phone. Once I add it there, it’s everywhere.
  5. Use childcare. Since I don’t always have friends and family that can help, I’ve been forced to find childcare. I use childcare apps and drop in daycares. They are lifesavers. Since Peyton is older I feel comfortable leaving them with a babysitter. She knows how to contact me on her own if something isn’t right. Mister and I have been able to finally enjoy more date nights. One of my friends became a Cultural Care Au Pair to help her learn a new language but the jobs she had to do made me realise how useful au pairs are for childcare as she helped cook, clean and picked the kids up so you could also look into that if you have room in your home.
  6. Teach your kids to clean up after themselves. As they get older, they can start to take on some responsibilities. I’ve tried to create organizational systems that the girls understand. Toys in a bin or putting their clothes away. As they get older, they can start to take on some responsibilities. Peyton is in charge of cleaning her room, the family room, and folding towels. Harper is still a work in progress.
  7. Talk to your spouse. Don’t let them off the hook so easily. Our significant others know we need help. Sit down and talk about what they can take off your plate. A few (stress on few) night a week, Mister will handle the bathtime routine. It’s minor but after mommin’ all day, that break is appreciated. This can be an ongoing battle but eventually (or once in a blue moon) something can be marked off the list.
  8. Say No. As much as I want to do everything, I can’t. Even though I’m still a work in progress, I don’t over commit myself as much as I used to. Say no, won’t leave you and others feeling disappointed.
  9. There’s always tomorrow. Instead of trying to finish everything in one day, sometimes, you just need to reset and try again tomorrow. It’s ok. Some days I just want to cuddle with Harper and take a nap. As long as everyone is eating and breathing, the family will be ok. I like my kitchen to be cleaned before going to bed, but sometimes it’s ok to leave it for the next day (or ask your husband).
  10. Have a drink. We need it! This helps the bedtime routine go a bit smoother.

These are just a few tips that have made mom life a bit easier. Being a mother is hard and tiring. We can’t do it all and it’s ok. I operate on the premise of work smarter, not harder. As much as I like to be a go with the flow person, I still get stressed out with the daily mom responsibilities. I always remind myself that doing my best as a mom is good enough. Don’t let social media make you think that someone else is a better mom than you. Trust me, folks are only showing you what they want you to see and it’s that clean corner where they are taking photos.

What do you to make mom life easier? Please share in the comments.

  • Pooja
    September 28, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Love your shared tips. They are all great and well worth it. I am a Mama of 5 and finishing up my doctorate at home so I get outsourcing and getting the kids to do their share. It is an ongoing battle especially since I have boys and sadly the gender differences are kinda true. I am still fighting the battle uphill to get them to be responsible, make their beds, put their dirty clothes in the wash, etc. One day someone will hopefully thank me. One of my favorite tips is to put my phone away. I used to hear of a cousin of mine who did not take calls after 7 p.m. and I thought that was insane but now I get it. Since I have my 4 year old daughter home with me, and I work on the computer, I am always multi-tasking my calls for work, household stuff, school kid stuff, etc. with time alone with her. I have learned to put my phone on vibrate *unless there is an important call coming in , and giving her some dedicated Mommy and Me time. Also, I try to have the snacks for the boys pre-prepared before they get off the bus so I can dedicate time to hearing about their day (another time I put the phone in the other room because all the important people are at home at that point – except my hubby and he can always call on the landline).
    Even with my older two (age 12 and 14 – one in 8th and the other in 9th both boys), I find giving them the attention when they come home while sitting at the kitchen table feeding them hearing about their days or the newest sneaker out or the latest God awful song they like is ‘our’ time and allows me to feel like I am giving the best I can to them with so so much on my plate.

    Hope my little share helps another. Love your posts.

  • Lauren
    September 28, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Love this list!! For me working & having two little ones under 5 is a challenge, but my “Village” is great & I delegate. My husband does 75% of the cooking because he enjoys it, I have a cleaning service come in 1-2x a month & InstaCart & AmazonPrime are BAE! Also, did I mentione wine? Lots of wine! ??

  • Kim B.
    September 28, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Thanks so much for the tips and transparency!! I definitely want those tips on the “momdrobe” as I need to make motherhood look easy with my little one. I always commend mothers with more than one child as I know it’s always a challenge in different areas. It’s encouragement for me to be more productive seeing mothers with multiple children and multiple hats (i.e. student, career woman, active in children’s sports, volunteering, etc.). I always look forward to reading your blog. My tip to keeping my sanity and staying on task is definitely a list (which I use my electronic memo pad on my phone) and my Google calendar, without those 2, I’m not sure I would remember to take a shower… LOL

  • Brittany
    September 29, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Whew! I’m a new mom of a 9 month old and it is an exciting adventure lol. I’m still cracking up about ‘taking pictures in the clean corner’ — that makes me feel so relieved because keeping a neat home is turning into a pipe dream! Your posts are always so fun to read and I’m glad you’re here to keep it real. Looking forward to the mom wardrobe posts too!

  • Shilene
    October 13, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Hey Trina!! ??
    I love that you addressed all these tips to make mom life easier. I’m doing some and others I have a hard time with. I’ve contemplated a cleaning lady and I have one with an awesome reference. The way you put it makes me feel like it’s “ok” and I won’t look lazy for having a cleaning lady. The reality is we can’t do everything!

    I plan our weekly meals and grocery shop based on that. I plan outfits for the week. Children have their chores. So all that helps me a lot. I could do more asking for the hubby to help (I have him pretty spoiled) and letting go sometimes and let it carry over to the next day. Just enjoy the present even if everything isn’t perfect.

  • Sibbonai Carswell
    October 13, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    I totally agree I am not from Georgia and I live here with no family and it is stressful at times finding childcare and also juggling work, a six year old and all her activities . So I have recently hired a cleaning lady to come in once a month and it has been a lifesaver . It has helped sooo much that I don’t mind spending the money . The childcare is harder for me , what apps do you use ?

  • Carissa
    October 14, 2017 at 6:07 am

    Great Tips!!! I plan ahead of time and don’t let my husband off the hook. I take care of a lot but if I have the kids and he is getting off work I text a grocery list! So I’m not trying to stop at the store l, prep them for the next day and just do everything! Teamwork makes the dream work!

  • Nasilele
    October 14, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Love these tips! I definitely need to add a few of these to my daily routine. Thanks Trina!