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Are you a tired overwhelmed mom? You are not alone. Parenting can be hard at times. This simple hack will get you through those crazy busy days and quite possibly save your sanity.
Can I be totally honest with you? There were times when I found parenting utterly exhausting. Life changes drastically after you have kids. I found it became anything, but simple. How about you?
It is astonishing how one newborn (and all the stuff that comes with them) can introduce utter chaos into a home. All of a sudden you find yourself juggling multiple demands and routines. If you are working outside the home you have to figure out how to add that into the mix. A parent’s life is definitely not simple. Most parents probably feel something like this on any given day.
Moving From Overwhelmed Mom to Happy Mom
Many years ago I stumbled upon one of the simplest mom life hacks ever. And it completely changed the way I organized my life.
I was an overwhelmed Mom with a preschooler and a newborn. I was completely out of my depth. My family was thousands of miles away and I had no support. I came home from the hospital with the new baby and somehow managed to get both children down for a nap. Then I sat on a chair in the kitchen and sobbed quietly in despair. I convinced myself that I couldn’t give both my children the care they needed.
One of them would die! I just knew it!
I look back at that moment of desperation and smile about it now, but at the time, I was so overwhelmed I couldn’t see any other outcome.
In those sleep-deprived days of caring for a newborn and preschooler, I stumbled on an easy technique to get me through those insanely busy days. It helped me keep my sanity and I reassured my overwhelmed Mom brain. It turns out I could keep both my boys alive after all!
Want to Know My Secret?
I created a very short list of the things I needed to do in order to keep everyone alive. It was so short I didn’t even write it down.
- Feed everyone.
- Make sure everyone (including myself) was clean.
- Keep up with laundry and dishes.
- Show my love with lots of hugs and cuddles
That was it! Seriously that was it!
This very short list provided me with a minimum standard of care for the day. I figured if I washed, fed, and clothed everyone I was doing really well. The rest of the house might be a disaster, but no-one would die and we could manage. Adding in a bit of loving meant that everything essential was covered. I realized I could do those 4 things.
A few months later, when everything we settled into a routine I added two more things
- Clean the Kitchen
- Clean the Bathroom
As my boys grew my bare essentials list grew to include a few other things. But during those insanely busy years I knew I must keep my list as short as possible.
Over the years I have kept my list of essentials. Yes it has changed and evolved with my circumstances, but it still forms the foundation of my schedule.
Of all the Mom life hacks I’ve ever heard, this simple list was the lifesaver. It was the one that helped me beat the overwhelm.
Why This Simple List Works So Well For An Overwhelmed Mom
It is simple. This list helps you set a short list of priorities. These are the essentials and you get them done before anything else. After the breakfast rush I would make sure I cleaned up the dishes, put on some laundry and do the supper prep. Then I could focus on the love and cuddles part for the rest of the day. This gave me
- Peace of mind. (Everyone was fed, clean and loved).
- Permission to put aside less important things for now.
- Time to focus on what really matters, like spending time with those I love.
Last but not least, it silenced my inner perfectionist (When I’ve done the essentials that inner critic really has nothing to complain about.)
I LOVE SILENCING MY INNER CRITIC!!
How To Beat The Overwhelm
It is my list that keeps things ticking over nicely. Many days I will do more than my essentials, but if I can’t that is okay. I can rest in the knowledge that what I have done is good enough for today.
Sometimes people, deadlines, or commitments demand more of my time. On those days my list makes sure my life, job, writing business continues to run quite smoothly. It gives me peace of mind.
How to Create Your Own List of Essentials
Everyone’s list of essentials differs. My list will not look like your list, because we have different priorities and that is okay. I have some friends who absolutely HAVE to make their bed every day. I don’t care about making my bed, so I walk away without a backward glance. However having a clean bathroom is an absolute must for me!! Making the bed is NOT on my list. Cleaning the bathroom IS on my list.
There are no rules about this. There is no right or wrong way to set your list of essentials.
- Basically, this list represents the bare minimum you need to do in order to keep your life in order and your family alive and healthy. What are those things for you?
- Keep it short. The goal is to be able to complete this list without too much trouble each day/week. Even on the horrible, dreadful terrible days that we all have.
- Make sure you can complete your essentials without too much effort each day.
Remember your list will change and evolve with your circumstances.
Don’t forget that each family member can help with the items on the list. In our house my partner has pretty well taken over cooking. I tend to do quick tidy ups and keep the bathroom wiped down. We both do the laundry and dishes.
Exclusive Bonus For Any Overwhelmed Mom(Free Printable)
To help you I have created this free printable. It only has space for 6 items, so it is prefect for creating your list of essentials. You will notice that the boxes are exactly the right size for 2 x 2 inch sticky notes. You can buy those here or simply cut some larger ones to size. The great thing about using sticky notes is that you can change your mind or even have different lists for different days.
Download a free copy of My Essentials Poster. The library is my gift to subscribers. It contains eBooks, printables, and inspiration to support you in your parenting journey. You’ll find it in the Household and Financial Printables.
Hint: You don’t have to use all the boxes. You cross off boxes like I did, or write an inspiring quote!
What If I Don’t Have Time For My Essentials?
Sometimes my list gets too long and I find I don’t have time to do everything. I know something needs to change when I can’t manage the essentials. It’s warning sign that I need to take a step back and evaluate my life. If I don’t I will quickly become an overwhelmed Mom again. Here are some questions to consider
- Do I need to simplify?
- Cut something out?
- Can I Delegate? (I recently delegated one of my blog tasks to a virtual assistant. It has freed up several hours each week for me.)
- Do I need to stop trying to live up to what I see on Pinterest?
- Can my children do some of the simple tasks on my list?
Do whatever it takes to make that list achievable on an everyday basis.
Your List Will Help You Beat Overwhelm
Your List Will Help You Beat Overwhelm
My list of essentials was a lifesaver in those busy days of caring for baby and newborn. I hope you will find it a helpful technique. There is a great deal of peace in knowing that we don’t have to do everything all the time.
There will be days when the stars align and you have the energy, and time, to tackle those tasks outside your list. Yay go for it!
There may be days when you have loads of energy, the sun is shining and you would much rather go outside and enjoy the day with your family. Go right ahead. Your essentials are covered and besides you have done far more than you think.
Some days we wonder why we even bothered to get out of bed. On those days your list of essentials will be the only things you can accomplish. And that is good enough for today!
Now it’s your turn!
I’d love to know. What is on your list of essentials?