This post was created in partnership with Kids & Company.
Read part one of this series here.
Creating a routine came out of necessity when I first became a mom. I was a new stay-at-home mom, and the routine-less life was starting to get to me. In fact, there were days that my husband would come home from work and I’d be anxiously pacing the halls.
I truly believe that some people thrive off of constantly switching it up and living life freely. Others need a set routine to feel grounded and happy. I am a routine person, through and through.
So when I was finding myself floundering as a routine-free mom, I knew I needed to make some big changes. Over the years I have found ways to create a routine for myself when a job outside of my home wasn’t doing it for me.
Today I am a full-time, work-at-home mom, which leaves my daily routine’s structure up to me. Having childcare has been a huge game-changer for my routine, as well as some other tricks on how to create a routine I have learned along the way…
1.Set your alarm. This may sound like a no-brainer, but not having a job outside my home makes it very tempting to sleep in and race around just before sending my kids to school and Kids & Company (child care and early learning). Before my kids were in school it was even harder setting an alarm and sticking to it.
The days I actually do set my alarm and stick to it are typically great days. I am able to eat breakfast before my kids, feel more in control of my day and tend to have more patience. When do I wake up? I find 6:00 A.M. is the sweet spot… one hour before my family wakes up.
2. Use an agenda. I don’t know what I’d do without my agenda. I’m talking about an old-school paper and pen agenda. Everything from our four kids’ appointments to work deadlines and weekly meal planning goes in there.
On the days that I feel a little anxious about what is on my plate, just sitting in front my agenda book and planning right down to the detail, makes my stress melt away.
3. Embrace a to-do list. My to-do lists go hand-in-hand with my agenda. What I do is write a list each week full of must-dos and back-burner items (you know, those tasks that aren’t urgent, but hanging over your head), which include deadlines, shopping lists, chores… you name it. Then each week I hack away as best I can.
Some weeks I cross off my entire list and others I am just able to get the mandatory tasks done. On the weeks that I haven’t tackled my back-burner items, I carry them over to the next week and try again.
4. Keep track of how you feel during different times of the day. Something I learned when I first created my own routine was how much more efficient I am in the morning than in the afternoon. In fact, most days I have to stop and have a little rest right after lunch.
Tuning into how I felt each day has helped me manage my energy levels and workload. I tackle big projects, must-dos and deadlines in the morning, and then leave my back-burner items until after lunch. So on those days that I am dragging my heels because I have been up all night with a sick kid, I can take the afternoon off, (well, as “off” as you can when you have a sick child at home).
5. Do laundry on the weekend. Can I tell you a secret? I don’t hate doing laundry. I know, I know, am I even human? Don’t worry, I detest doing dishes. But when it comes to laundry, I always schedule around it on the weekends. Being so protective of my “laundry time” on the weekend has dramatically changed my relationship with this weekly chore.
Every Saturday we (and I say we because my husband helps) wash all of our kids’ laundry and on Sunday afternoons I fold it. Because I have built my laundry-folding marathon into each Sunday afternoon, my kids expect it and I make it as pleasant as possible, while watching a movie on my iPad.
Whether a stay-at-home mom, a work-outside- the-home mom, or a work-at-home mom, routines can not only change your mood and help you complete your to-do list, it can help you complete more each week than you thought possible and even love some weekly tasks more than ever before.
Finding a childcare that not only gives me time to build my career, but that my kids also love, has been such a wonderful aspect to having more of a work/life balance. Kids & Company has the flexibility I need with my schedule, but also the unique programming, learning opportunities, from-scratch meals and sense of community they provide fills me with such confidence in my choice in childcare.
With locations all across Canada, Kids & Company is a high-quality care and early development centre that parents can trust and kids will love. It started under the leadership of two moms (one with 8 children!), who felt there was a need for flexible care options in a setting with amazing teachers, community, proven development programs and an understanding of today’s families.
Whether it’s their Grab ‘n’Go snacks, parent workshops, or their complimentary care for date nights and shopping days outside of regular hours, nothing has been forgotten.
Here’s where it gets exciting… right now Kids and Company is waiving the registration fee (a $150 value) for Nesting Story readers! Just email firstname.lastname@example.org to access this exclusive offer.
One waved registration per family for a newly registering child before December 31, 2018. Subject to availability.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Kids & Company. While compensation was provided, all opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily indicative of the opinions of Kids & Company.