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Have you ever wondered how to get stuff done with kids at home?
You have a list of things to do that’s a mile long, but you also have children (and they need your attention).
You need to focus so you can pay the bills or finish this one job, but you also have children (and all the chaotic noise that comes with them).
You want a minute to breathe with a cup o’ Joe after being Super Woman all day, but you also have children (and they don’t even let you pee without an audience, let alone sit and enjoy a cup of coffee in peace).
So how on earth are you supposed to accomplish anything?
The Challenge Of Getting Things Done With Kids
It’s pretty hard to clean the house, run all your errands, and keep all the little humans running around happy, fed, safe, and loved. No argument there.
You love your kids, but you also really like to have your bills paid on time, your house clean, your grocery shopping done, and clean underwear when you get dressed in the morning (or afternoon…we’ve all had those days, too).
It can be pretty easy to just shoo them off to watch TV or wish away the days in a frenzy of frustrated productivity. You’re not the only who feels this way…but did you know that you don’t have to live like this?
If you’re not careful, the years of runny noses, sticky fingerprints, and diaper blowouts will quickly melt into tween hormones, fashion debates, and the life-altering decision of which friend to sit next to at lunch.
And those years? They’ll be gobbled up by raging teenage mood swings, slamming doors, and late night chats over a favorite ice cream flavor that melt your heart.
You’ve heard it said that the days are long, but the years short? It’s true, my friend. All too true.
But here’s what you haven’t been told: each and every day in your current season matters because it lays a foundation you will need to stand on in the coming season.
You can’t afford to “just survive” today, sweet mama. You need a To-Do List…just not “any” to-do list.
Don’t tune me out!
I’m not talking your normal, run-of-the-mill list that makes you feel overwhelmed just writing it out.
I’m talking an intentional list that helps you say “no” to the things that try to take over your life and “yes” to the things that really matter.
The kind of To Do List that will make you smile at the end of the night because you took care of what matters and had a good day.
TIP #1: Get Things Done By Staying Focused
When I was in corporate America a lifetime ago, I had a boss who would always tell us “Don’t let the urgent distract you from the important!”
He would have us set our goals for the week and focus on the tasks that made them happen at the start of each day, and after they were done we could focus on all the daily things that popped up and “had to be handled right away.”
As a mom, this is a great mindset shift to adopt.
Stay focused on what really matters, Mama…your purpose (not your chores).
You are a Jesus-loving wife and mama first, and the rest comes after. So what are the tasks and activities that grow your love for God, your husband, and your children?
Those need to happen no matter what else does.
And put your phone away. Uninstall Facebook. Focus on the priorities that really matter. <—– This is the best advice I could ever give you (from experience; the struggle is real)
You’ve got this, my friend. You can do it!
TIP #2: Know When To Say Yes (and No!)
Saying no can be hard. I kinda stink at it, honestly. But I’m learning.
It’s becoming one of my favorite ways to bless my family. True story.
What about you? Do you say no enough, or do you need to get better at it?
Working through your priorities (and your passions) gives you boundaries that create freedom.
Sounds kind of contradictory, doesn’t it? But it’s actually not and when you do it, you’ll be so much happier.
You know that if something comes up, you filter it through your passions (things you enjoy) and your priorities (the things that matter most to you) before saying “yes” to it.
If it’s not a passion and it doesn’t nurture your priorities, chances are that it’s not your purpose.
And if it’s not your purpose? Say ‘no’ to it! <—– That’s right. Just say NO.
TIP #3: Know What Really Matters (and let other things slide)
I’m a Type A perfectionist. I like to do everything well and get everything done. Can you relate?
But I’m a mom and that’s just not realistic. I one time heard another toddler mom say that cleaning the house during the day was like trying to brush your teeth and eat Oreos at the same time: an absolute exercise in futility.
I thought she was ridiculous…but now I know she’s both witty and RIGHT.
So instead of always having a clean home, we pick up before nap time and dinner time each day and I just do another quick run-through before I go to bed at night. The house might be perfect all day long, but we live in it…and laugh in it!
It’s okay to let those in-between times slide. Really.
And some days or nights you might even let those other times slide in favor of a spontaneous heart to heart talk, sweet moment with your husband, or sleep. That’s okay, too.
Letting some things go often gives you the ability to be better at what really matters (there’s those priorities again!). <—– Remember this, okay?
That’s one reason to start using this 5 Minute Foundations Tracker:
TIP #4: Get Things Done With A ‘To Do List’
One way to do this is to have a to do list. But not your average list of 8 million tasks you can never get done each month or even the 37 things you want to get done by lunch time.
That’s just adding stress and setting yourself up for failure. Stop that, Mama!
It’s time to stop that madness. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Especially not you.
You have passions to pursue, a purpose to live out, and priorities to focus on.
You need a planner that lets you focus on those things you want to do and accomplish the things you have to do…and gives you the freedom to say buh-bye to everything else.
When you write down the things that matter, the things that don’t won’t be able to take over your day.
And that’s when the magic happens.
When you’ve written down something like “Read 2 stories this afternoon” or “Send e-mail to hubby telling him he’s sexy and wonderful”, they’ll happen. And if you didn’t get to wipe down the counter in the bathroom or run to the Dollar Store or pluck your eyebrows…it’s okay.
Why? Because you’ve done the things that are necessary instead of just important. <—– Did you catch that?
Mary and Martha learned about that at the feet of Jesus (literally). Martha worried about all the tasks that were urgent today while Mary understood that sometimes those things can wait.
She knew that some things sowed seeds that lasted much longer than that day, and they needed tending first.
Jesus told Martha, “…you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42
Are you choosing the good portion, my friend?
TIP #5: Get Things Done With Your Kids
So you have kids and getting things done with kids at home is hard. You already know this.
But do you also realize what a gift it is? And not just for you…for them, too.
Being at home with you is shaping their worldview, their character, and the habits that will help define their adulthood.
This is the perfect opportunity to teach your children about doing things well, doing them with a good attitude, and how to pick your priorities.
Even if it takes twice as long, include your children in the chores as much as humanly possible. Make it fun time together, time to talk and grow, learn and be silly.
Some of my best conversations with my 7-year-old have happened while we are pairing socks together. And my sweet 3-year-old son begs to help me sweep our front steps.
Our 8-year-old with Down syndrome? She loves washing the table and chairs with a bigger sibling or helping Mommy wipe down the tub each day. Seriously, it makes her feel so special to contribute to her family…and to have that special time.
The older kids can fly solo because of the time they spent helping when they were younger, and when they are out on their own someday they will be ready to care for their space.
If time is limited, it can be hard to want to do this, but it’s so important. And if it doubles as quality time, character training, and chores? It’s really a no-brainer.
BONUS TIP: Reward Yourself With A Timer
If a task is super overwhelming, set a timer. 15 minutes? 25 minutes? You choose. Pick a time, set the timer, and work without distraction until it beeps.
And then walk away.
That’s right, just stop. It’s okay. Sometimes it’s even better. And did you know that stopping a task at a “bad stopping spot” instead of at a logical stopping point actually makes you more likely to get back to it? Science says so.
It’s an easy way to tackle those big projects.
One or two bursts like this a day and they’ll be done way sooner than if you wait for a free day (isn’t that kind of like waiting for a unicorn to show up on your front porch) or a day when all the kids are happy and distracted (go for the unicorn…we all know it’s more likely!).
Get Stuff Done With Kids At Home: It’s Possible!
Sometimes all it takes is a mindset shift, sweet friend.
You can do this. You can be a mom and get all the things done…all the things that actually matter, that is.
P.S. Want to learn more about setting up priorities? CHECK THIS OUT...it’s the system I use and now you can, too!
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