Personalized home organization
Entrepreneur, mom, & wife
Over New Years, we spent some time out of town as a family. It was the first “vacation” since having kids that I felt like I could relax. I enjoyed time with my kids rather than thinking about the next thing I needed to do. I realized that I was way more present than I am at home. So, I went about trying to figure out how to become more present.
On vacation, there are lot of things I don’t have to worry about. I am not thinking about laundry, cooking, and other household tasks that I need to do. I am not worried about work or email. I even delete Instagram from my phone when we’re out of town so I’m not focused on social media. When I get a moment to myself on vacation, I read (which feels way more restorative than scrolling Instagram).
However, the second we walked through the door at home, that to do list hit me. I thought about all the things I had to do and planned how to get them done. Then, my husband let me know he needed to work, so I lost my childcare partner. How was I going to get all the things done that I needed to do?
That’s how it is sometimes. Vacation me is great. I am relaxed and patient with my kids. I watch less TV and scroll less Instagram. Home is always running a to do list through my head and thinking about what has to get done. Especially since many things will be waiting for me if I don’t do them now. This takes me away from being present with my kids.
So, I looked at vacation me, looked at home me and figured out what I needed to do to combine the two with the goal of being more relaxed and present with my kids.
I really noticed this on a trip with my kids. My mind was more clear and I enjoyed things that I normally don’t, like my daughter wanting to walk up and down the stairs outside. At home, I would try to get her to play something else. But here, I could let her climb up and down and spot her as needed.
So what was different? The main difference is that to do list that I let go of. I didn’t have loads of laundry to do or dishes that needed to be cleaned. With more adults around (my in-laws were there too), we could all tag team the kids and keep the house tidy enough.
The next big difference was I put my phone down.
Coming home, my goal is now to put my phone down from after school through bedtime. I sometimes will answer a text from my mom or sister, but for the most part, my phone is put away. It also helps that I don’t charge it during the day so sometimes it needs to be charged by that time.
I have noticed when I don’t have my phone to pick up, I am able to be engaged in what my kids are doing. My six year old loves to play guessing games and describe different shapes. My three year old wants to build train tracks and play cars. My one year old enjoys anything repetitive, which I am still working on being present for, even without my phone. But I keep in mind the repetition, like climbing on and off the chair, is good for her and helps her build the skills she needs.
When I do have my phone, I tend to want to do anything on it from checking email to scrolling Instagram to reading random articles. Even when I remove other apps, I am trying to read my book rather than play with them. I try to keep in mind that this is my time to play with them and I will have time to myself later.
I am an extremely introverted introvert. I need time to myself. And I am a mom. Meaning, I need time to myself. I am also a morning person.
One thing that has to happen every day is my morning routine. I wake up about two hours before my kids. This is my time to be present with myself and do something just for me. When I get this time in the morning, I am able to be present and patient. I can remember I got to read for thirty minutes this morning so I don’t need to read while playing with them.
This is my non negotiable. If I don’t get it, like when kids are sick and up all night, I find some time during the day to either workout or read for thirty minutes. Whether it’s when the sick kid is napping or able to watch a show for thirty minutes. This is important for me.
As moms, I know we are told to take time for ourselves. Sometimes, you have to fight for that time. It’s not always going to be easy. But consider the alternative.
When I don’t get that time, I have less patience to handle meltdowns or children fighting. I don’t have the emotional capacity to handle kids’ emotions. As a parent, it is important for me to remain emotionally stable to help my children learn to deal with their emotions. When I have not had my routines that support me, I am not able to do that or be the parent I want to be. I am not able to be present.
I can easily go through a day and not consider to good things that happen. So now, I am working on my gratitude practice. But, I don’t want to add another thing on my to do list. If that’s you, just find a time in your evening routine to think about your day. Run through it in your mind and consider what you can be grateful for.
If you can add a small thing to do, I encourage you to get a sentence a day journal. And in all honesty, I don’t do it every day, but at least every few days. It helps me think back to that day and what I enjoyed about it. The one that I have (THP) has five years in it. I can’t wait to get to 2027 and see what kinds of things my kids will be doing then! And what I’ll be grateful for.
I tend to try to find some gratitude in my motherhood journey. Being a parent is hard. The daily grind of it can be tough. But remembering to be grateful is a great step in enjoying it.
To be able to remain present, I have to get my to dos out of my head. If I have a lot, I do a quick brain dump and pull as much out at once as I can. If it’s one or two things, I toss it on my calendar on my phone for that night, tomorrow or next week (depending on when it needs to get done). If I need it done today, I put it on the calendar for tonight. I glance at my calendar after the kids go to bed and decide what I need to do (if anything) tonight. Most of the time, I don’t have to do it that night.
Many times, I have it on the calendar for tomorrow. I live off of my calendar. That means, any remainders go straight there. If it’s on the calendar for tomorrow, at any time, I will find a way to get it done or push it to later that week. If it’s something that isn’t urgent, I toss it on the calendar for next Monday.
Every Friday, I do a weekly review and set up the next week. This is when I put my tasks in my calendar on when I want to get them done. I do this on my digital calendar so I can move things around (this blog post was moved to be written a day early because I got something else done quickly!). This is the best way to get to dos out of my head and know they’re going to get done another time.
On a regular week when I’m feeling good, I don’t put every little task like making lunches and laundry because I know when those are happening. However, if I’m feeling more stressed and overwhelmed, it helps me to have EVERYTHING on the calendar so I can ensure it gets done. That means, I have put laundry in washer, put laundry in dryer and fold laundry on the calendar. Then, I don’t miss something.
Consider which type works best for you. But, if you notice you’re keeping everything in your head, try tossing it on your calendar or at least on a to do list so it gets out of your head and stops distracting you from being present.
After reading all these and thinking about your own life, do you feel like you are getting time to be present? Or are you constantly running that to do list through your head? Pick one of these that you think will work for you and try it this week. Consider if it helped. If it does, maybe try another in a couple of weeks and work your way to becoming more present with your kids!
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Wildely Organized 2024
Based in Houston, TX, Wildely Organized offers compassionate, professional in-home organization services that empower families to live functional lives in a space they love.
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