I recently wrote about how important it is that we adults find time for self care. With that, I think it’s also important to share a few small ways that I manage to make time for myself and make it easier on myself to run my home.
These are small tips of course because let’s be real, when we are in the trenches of raising small children, it’s so hard to make that time to think about yourself. However, I find that the small things really do make a difference in helping me to relax and keeping me more pleasant to be around.
At some point, I do need a bigger break, and I’m very thankful that my husband is understanding of those moments. During the weekends, he will take Y outside so they can work on construction of our home. It gives the boys some time to bond, and while Natasha naps, I am able to get somethings done or just take a rest.
This article isn’t about those bigger breaks as important as they are. Today, we’ll chat in more depth about the prepared adult and some of the important ways I keep myself calm and ready for the day!
The prepared adult – finding time for you
1. Little moments of self care
Little moments or things that you can do for yourself that make you happy. For me, that involves taking five minutes to throw on some make up and getting dressed.
I really like to feel feminine and beautiful. There are definitely days that I enjoy lounging about in sweats, but I really love feeling put together and attractive when I get dressed, put on some make up, brush my hair, or have a chance to paint my nails.
I know these things aren’t for everyone, but my point is, it only takes me a few minutes to do those things, but they really impact how I feel the whole day.
You should find what that 5 minute routine is for you. Even if it isn’t make up, but it’s reading a book for a few minutes, drinking coffee alone, etc. Find what it is that you enjoy and can do in just a few minutes and do it! Even if you have to get up earlier, it can make a big difference in your day.
2. Find a routine that works for your family
Not every family functions in the same way. Find a routine that works for you, and be sure to work in a little bit of time for you. Easier said than done, right? Not really.
Every morning, I get up before my kids, or at least before my husband. I nurse the baby right before getting up, and then my husband is on kid duty if they wake up while I go to the bathroom, wash my face, and get dressed for the day. I then go downstairs, make coffee, and bring my husband coffee in bed.
See, we figured out something that works for both of us – I get time to get ready for the day without worrying about the kids, or having a little munchkin walk in or pound on the door, asking twenty questions. I get to start the day in quiet. Hubby gets coffee in bed. He’s happy with that, too.
After coffee, we all go downstairs together. After I get Y (4.5 years old) settled for breakfast, I have some tea and breakfast and reflect on what I need to do for the day. It’s a very nice process as Y is still very calm and quiet, and I can take another 5 minutes to jot down a few tasks I want to accomplish. This really helps to keep me from being overwhelmed during the day. This brings me to point number 3…
3. Get organized
Organization, minimalism, and tidiness greatly impact my mental state. If our dinning room table is cluttered, my mind goes into frantic, panic mode. If my living room is messy, I cannot think straight and cannot concentrate on work or my children really. I’m grouchy when our bedroom has clutter.
All of this has really made me very aware of the importance of having a neat living space and minimalizing the amount of stuff we have. Part one of this tip is make sure your home is functional. Get rid of the extra stuff, donate what you don’t need, and set things up so you can enjoy your space. Of course, this is a large project. It’s something that my husband and I are currently working on because neither one of us functions well in clutter. I just cannot think.
This type of project is a continuous one though. It’s something we are always working as our family evolves – thinking about if we need new items, what items are no longer necessary, and we are constantly working at keeping things tidy.
Another big tip I have is to make sure you tidy your space and set yourself up for success. In general, I like to go into the weekend with a clean home. During the weekend, everyone is home so things get messy again. Sunday evenings, I also like to make sure everything is tidy, meal prep is done, and laundry is folded for the start of the week.
We have a rule for all of the members of our home (adults included), before we take the ‘next item’ (toy, craft project for mom), put the one you were just using away. This prevents a stack of toys everywhere, a ton of half laminated printables laying around because I get distracted, or a bunch of materials from my hubby’s projects going all over the place. Everything has a spot and we put things back in their spots. Period.
Having a tidy home, keeps my mind at ease. Because we are constantly cleaning up after ourselves, I don’t need to worry about spending hours tidying up during the week. I also set aside a specific time for getting necessary tasks done. It keeps me calm and works for our home.
I know that this is a big one that a lot of people struggle with. There is a huuuuge announcement coming regarding this particular topic very, very soon! I don’t want to spill the beans with all of our tips, but I promise that this particular topic will get a lot of attention soon!
4. Get out and about
Don’t undervalue the importance of getting outside. I mean this in several ways – going to play outside with the kids. Fresh air is important for you, too!
Go out with friends, even if for a simple coffee run. Get in your adult time. Even at your own house, really. Just go and talk to some adults. Without kids. Your husband or baby sitter will manage, promise.
Go on a date with your spouse/partner. Seriously, do it.
5. Prepare the materials calmly
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I am obsessed with creating new materials for our educational shelves. The entire process, creating the printables, (less so cutting things out), arranging materials on the shelves, it’s just so calming for me. I loooove it, and I hope you do, too!
I try to take joy out of the entire process and work on it slowly and calmly. With some fun music playing, and a cup of nice tea. My husband usually has the children while I do this so I can be stress free. I swap activities during the day so I can make photographs for this blog of course, but otherwise, I also would do it in the evenings after the little ones would be in bed. I used to do that, as well. It’s even more relaxing because I really prefer for the kids not to be around at all when I am swapping activities.
My point is, when preparing materials, figure out a way to do it so you can enjoy yourself. Don’t do it with kids around. Pick a specific time that you can focus on it, too. Try to enjoy this task – it’s really a gift of love that you are giving your child, and respect, too. You are arranging beautiful materials for them so take the time to enjoy and reflect upon what you are doing.
6. Reading and educating yourself
I love to learn, especially about the beauty of Montessori. I really feel like we can never stop learning and working on ourselves. Figure out a way to add some learning time for you into your life! I know not everyone has time to sit and read a book, surely I don’t. In today’s world though, we have many ways to add ‘books’ and self education into our routines, I promise. Consider an audiobook while going for a drive or walk, perhaps even while cooking? This is how I managed to read Dr. Montessori’s Handbook. Free youtube recording? Yeeesss, please!
Also, I like to download books to my phone. While, I love reading actual books, I don’t always have that chance. I do however nurse during the night, and evenings so it’s nice to be able to read a bit during those moments.