Being a mom is WAY harder than my day job. I have been IN THE FIRE with my kiddos (three kids five and under) at many points in the past several years. Below is a list of survival tips, mantras and life hacks. It has TONS of goodies like links to products and tools that have worked in our household. I’m also offering a LIVE personalized workshop to get this done for you…with you…in your space…all in 90 minutes.
My lifeline and go-to source has been Randi Rubenstein, Parent Coach. She has kept me sane and taught me to ‘master my mind’ in the trenches (because let’s be honest, mastering your mind through hard situations is really 90% of it). And, trite but true, it’s the best job I’ve ever had…
This post is for all career moms, all moms with careers, mamapreneurs, career dads, dads with careers, everyone in between those ‘labels.’ And, here’s the big secret: it actually has everything to do with running a successful business as well. My mom career is making me a better business person, and the professional work I do is teaching me to be a better mom. Both of these jobs are a constant journey…just when I’ve figured one thing out, a million other ‘issues’ get thrown my way. I think it’s the way of keeping us humble…yea, for a lifetime…
This is not an end-all-be-all list…I would love (and feel grateful) to add to it so please email me if you have additions to incorporate. My good friend Lindsey also included a bunch of her hacks below.
Hack #1 – The TOM list
When you’re ‘in the fire,’ keep a TOM list (Top of Mind list) of questions and ‘hot issues’ that arise on your phone notes; then figure out a resource to address that issue.
I just got back from a Jack Canfield seminar, and one of my favorite quotes he used was:
“The difference between successful people and others is that they TAKE ACTION consistently.”
So for example, when a new kiddo issue that arises, I make a note on my phone and then ask for help in my Mastermind Parenting Group. When a new business issue arises, I put it on my TOM list and figure out the best person to help. For me, working alone is lonely. Working with people who make my business or household better is EVERYTHING. One of my favorite mantras is ‘let people do the job they were designed to do.’ When I live that mantra, I see huge results in my personal and professional life. My TOM list is my tool to keep out of ‘overwhelm.’
Hack #2 – Fuel your mind on the go
Get a good pair of HEADPHONES and listen to content/podcasts that fuels your mind on grocery runs or in the car…it’s a fun habit to create! Here are some links to LGs and Apple ear pods that both work well. The Apple pods have better sound quality, but the LGs have fewer pieces to keep up with for on-the-go listening so I prefer those.
Hack #3 – Mantras for moms
Create a list of MANTRAS that really resonate with you and put someplace visible. I keep mine in my closet (aka my sacred space).
Hack #4 – Find ways to make it fun
Gamify the situations that give you gray hair! I was spending a fortune on grocery trips (to Whole Paycheck) until I started shopping much more frequently at HEB and challenged myself to spend only $125 max a week. For about a year, I’ve done this. When the cash register starts showing close to that $125, I start moving the ‘non-critical’ items to the back of the conveyor and ask them to put back whatever doesn’t make the cut. When I have a kid with me, I love that he sees that we stick to a budget and have to make choices.
Hack #5 – Change what’s not working
When there’s a tricky time of the day for you or your kids, write out exactly what is happening and then REVISE THE ROUTINE on paper. Example: morning routines, bath times, etc. Then hold a family meeting to get feedback and talk about whatever change you’re making. Same thing in business…write it out and ‘work it out’ on paper.
Hack #6 – Use positive praise symbols
One of my kids’ favorite things in the world is when we use ‘POSITIVE PRAISE SYMBOLS’ which is basically drawing a letter or symbol on their back when they do something kind or helpful. For example, we use:
‘P’ for Protector (especially when there’s a baby in the house)
A ‘heart’ for a loving act
‘H’ for Helper
Hack #7 – Create a family manifesto
We post what we’re committed to in our house in multiple places. We made this together (when people are a part of the creation process, they feel a vested interest in making it successful).
Hack #8 – Take tech breaks
Being truly present & saying bye to the phone can solve a lot of problems. My tech break is Friday at 5pm to Saturday morning at 9am…small commitment with a huge impact.
Hack #9 – Memory books…the simplified way
Tackle but drastically SIMPLIFY the whole idea of a ‘memory book’ – ditch the idea of the fancy pants scrapbook that you’ll (probably) never keep up. Instead, set up an email address for your kiddo and send him/her emails of funny and special memories. I also like the Penzu app for this kind of thing (but download it on your phone so you can quickly log memories on a whim).
Hack #10 – Declutter your house to declutter your mind
- Less is more; put out very few toys that are all visible
- After we got rid of 75% of the toys, we were able to put in something that was way more used and useful (versus Paw Patrol or whatever else!) We worked with an expert to create a home gym (I have two kids in Occupational Therapy (OT) for sensory issues that benefit from this equipment…but p.s. what kid wouldn’t want this kind of a thing in a house??! If interested in a home gym and/or OT consults, contact Amanda. She’s 110% AWESOME.)
- After we cleaned out the pantry (whole separate blog post on that), all of a sudden I got the idea to put a self-service art cart that has been used DAILY at our house. The best part is that I never have to get out paper and markers again.
- Create spaces for the kids to be messy outside (I’ve learned how important it is for kids to do that but my brain cannot handle it inside the house…it’s all about balancing their needs with mine!) For example, we now have a paint wall outside with huge pads that literally stick on wall. We also allow shaving cream play outside- my kids LOVE this and I can ‘handle’ this because it happens outside.
Hack #11 – Label it!
Buy a label maker: we use it for everything from pantry to camp stuff to art supplies. It literally takes TWO seconds to make a label…promise…I totally resisted this purchase forever because I thought it was for those Pinterest-type moms.
Hack #12 – Simplify meal planning
Grocery list and meal planning- buy a simple white board for the fridge (one side is the weeks’ meals and the other is the grocery list); include the kids and husband in planning and have everyone pick a meal for the week. This is the most simple way to get food on the table and eaten at my house.
Favorite mantras and learning
- Meet people where they are instead of trying to change them into who we think they should be.
- Connect before you correct.
- Everything is solvable /figure-outable.
- Say ‘I love you for who you are’ until you mean it.
- Repeat ‘I am not responsible for other people’s happiness.’
- Kids- and people in general- only behave as good as they feel.
- Outsource things you don’t enjoy.
- Do the things that bring you joy, as often as possible.
- Ditch things that feel like a straightjacket. There is no mom manual that says you have to go to baseball…
- When kids perceive choice, they perceive motivation.
- Guilt serves no purpose…if feels like a straightjacket, just say no.
- A defiant kid is lacking skills, not defiant.
- Model what you want to teach.
- Children lie when they feel they have to.
- Don’t squash negative feelings or try to fix them. Usually it takes about 90 seconds for a negative feeling to pass…if we don’t get in the way.
(yep- works for both kiddos and in business!):
• Help me understanding your thinking.
• Being a human is messy business…we all make mistakes.
• When transitioning, using “It’s time to…” or It’s important to…” are pure genius.
Above all…take action!
If you’ve gotten this far, I can probably read your mind…you’re overwhelmed.
Two choices: 1) stay in overwhelm, or 2) read this post again and then take ONE single action from the list above that would make your life better. Rinse and repeat weekly until your own hacks trump mine. It’s that simple, really.
If you feel stuck, reach out for help. I’m offering a special HANDS-ON session for all of my fellow mamas (or dads). It’s a 90-minute session at your house (could be virtual too) to customize the above suggestions for YOU, and to GET THEM DONE together right on the spot. Here’s what you get:
1- Your space becomes organized and clear in 90 minutes.
2- When you clear the space, you clear your mind.
3- All of a sudden your mind opens to creativity and new opportunities. It’s happened for me, and it can happen for you.
4- The session cost is $349 which you’ll probably recoup in two weeks with your reduced grocery bill. As a bonus, you’ll also then you get a week of post-session-support on Voxer (coolest app ever, you’ll love it).
You can 110% do this stuff on your own over time. I needed an accountability partner to make it happen for me. Click here to schedule if you want to take massive action with a personalized session.
Lastly…if you’ve enjoyed this post, remember to email me your hacks so I can add them!