A while back I wrote about how the reality of having thee kids was beginning to sink in and how stressful life seemed in our neck of the woods. After coming down off the initial high after Hunter was born I found myself in a state of overwhelm and anxiety. I spoke about how parenting seemed to have lost its joy because in the rush of everyday life and getting everything done we were really just trying to survive.
It was a horrible thing to admit, but I needed to be honest with you. I needed to be honest with myself. I think also, deep down, coming clean meant that I was admitting a certain defeat, I was waving my white flag and asking for help. And let’s be honest, none of us are really good at that. I think it’s sometimes easier to live in denial, because the minute you admit you are struggling, it becomes that much more real. And once you’ve put yourself out there, there’s no real way of taking what you have said back. It’s there. Raw, Exposed. As Light as day. For everyone to see.
But guys there is so much freedom in it too. There is so much freedom in exposing yourself like this and being vulnerable through your struggles. It’s a liberating feeling when you shake off all the pressure to be perfect and have your shit together 24/7. When you become vulnerable a magical thing happens and those around you open up to you too. They too realise that they can let their guard down and ask for help. It’s where deep, beautiful connections and life-long friendships are made. In the moments when you can admit that life sucks a little bit. But that you are there for each other.
More so, you learn to rely on friends and see that people are born to live in community. That having a rough time is okay when you have people you can share your struggles with.
In saying this, there are some things we have done to help with the admin side of things, that we hope will allow us more joyful moments in the demands of life with kids. Some very practical steps that allow me to feel a lit more in control of life so that all the admin doesn’t drown out the good times.
Here’s how we are getting more organised and simplifying life in order to bring the joy back:
- Get organised. I know this can sometimes seem futile and that the more you try to get organised, the more there seems to do. I know for me it feels as though there’s an endless list of to do’s. But planning really is key. We have two calendars in the house that are easy to see (so often our diaires end up clashing because we don’t have a common one where we can all see what’s in it for the week/month). We have an “important documents tray” that keeps all the paper work coming into our home in one place. Things like bills, reply slips for school, importance notices etc… once a week, I throw out what’s no longer needed.
- Get your kids listening first time! For the love of all things good in this world, why oh why can my kids just do what they are asked?? This alone doubles my stress levels because before it’s even 7am I have asked them repeatedly to get dressed, eat their cereal, brush their teeth and pack their lunches! I incorporated star charts a while back and they worked really well and then, well I got lazy. But I’m going to simplify them by downloading weekly ones off Canva (Thanks to my friend Nikki!!) which are easier to manage and more simple to keep track of each task.
- Write down to-do-lists in order of importance and prioritise the urgent stuff. Don’t try fit in every single thing, if some things can wait a day or two. I know for me that trying to fit everything in, only results in me spreading myself thin and getting panicky for no reason.
- Delegate! Give your kids age-appropriate chores and get them to pull their weight. Not only at home with things like tidying up after themselves and getting their clothes ready for school, but for outings too! When we go on family outings, like the beach, I have gotten smart by getting them to take their own backpack. I’m so done carrying their crap around every day of my life, on top of all my own pharphanalia. My new rule : If you want something, carry it yourself. To the car, to the play area, back to the car and back inside.
- Say No. If there is already too much on your plate this week, chances are you are going to have even more next week. Don’t over-commit yourself.
- Focus on one big project at a time. So for instance, I’m needing to sort the boy’s room out (for a blog project I’m going to share with you all soon!) ,have kitchen cupboards made bigger and sort out my garage, which is just becoming a dumping ground! But I have chosen to to tackle to one project at a time, starting with my cupboards which were installed on Friday. One thing to tick off my to-do list before I begin tackling the next. Decide what’s more important and start there.
- Menu planning and meal prep. I’m so good at fixing up last minute meals but I’ve realised that a little menu planning and weekly meal prep really goes a long way. AND you can spend more time with the kids instead of rushing to get food on the stove. Opt for easy, simple dinners that don’t involve too much stove time. Think roast chicken with loads of veg (I throw it all in a roasting pan and take it out after an hour and BAM, no stress!) or pesto pasta, stirfrys or easy-to assemble salads. Anything that has more than two elements and uses three pots is saved for weekends or when we have guests. Family dinners should be healthy, nutritious, but more importantly stress-free. We (And by we I mean I) have even started cutting up fruit to put in freezer bags for our morning smoothies. All we need to do is add water/juice, yoghurt and a handful of kale and we are good to Nutribullet our way to good health.
- Shop online. Sign up for Pick ‘n Pay online shopping and have all your food delivered straight to your door. This helps with meal planning because you can sit and shop and make sure you buy everything for your weekly meals. I’m going to be doing our very first shop this week, I will let you know how it goes!
These things are really great ways to help eliminate the added stress of life with kids. Planning and getting organised is such a vital part of thriving at life and managing your anxiety.
Any other tips you would add? I would love to hear from you xxxx