1 // The Commitment We Should Make
I love this simple piece of advice: Commit to enjoying your children, at whatever age they’re at. We don’t always need to mourn the baby days ending, or dread the “terrible twos,” or worry about our children as teenagers someday… Every developmental stage, every season, has its hard moments AND its very good, beautiful moments. Let’s just commit to always enjoy our children, in every stage along the way. This way, you are becoming a “student” of your child – learning about what makes them tick and how to connect with them and guide them regardless of their current age! It’s hugely beneficial – and important.
2 // My Pre-Meal Snack Strategy!
I love this pre-meal snack strategy: Provide a “crunchy and airy” snack if it’s getting close to mealtime.
There are all kinds of snacks out there. Some are extra dense or sugary, and they can fill you up for quite a while. There’s a time and a place for those, but things can get complicated when you give your children a snack that fills them up before a meal, which can ruin their appetite and prevent them from getting the nutrients they need from the meal you’ve prepared for them! One of my favorite little motherhood hacks that I’ve come up with is the idea of giving your littles something “crunchy and airy” if you’re getting close to mealtime. If your household is anything like mine, then you may find yourself followed around in the afternoon with requests for something to eat! We always have a little snack right when the kids wake up from their afternoon nap, but some days, that doesn’t fully satisfy them and they end up asking for seconds or trying to come up with suggestions of things they could eat. Of course, sometimes the answer is just plain “no,” if mealtime is in a few minutes or for another reason (hooray for parental discretion! you get to make the final decision!).
However, if you do sense that they may benefit from a little something extra, but it’ll be mealtime in under 30-45 minutes, feed them something “crunchy and airy.” Here’s what I mean by that phrase: Some snacks are more crunch than substance – almost more entertaining for our mouths than they are filling. 🙂 Rice cakes and corn puffs are full of air, and they function really well as a snack if your littles are wanting something before supper, and you’re okay with them having a small snack but you don’t want them to get too full. The act of crunching around on something without stuffing themselves can give you a good compromise as you move towards your next meal.
**Of course, I am not advocating for ignoring your children’s needs, and I know that is not your desire as a mom; I just want to encourage you to use the idea of a more “airy or crunchy snack” if you’re determining that it’s a bit too close to mealtime for a heavier snack!
3 // Routine for Conquering the Daily Kitchen Mess
Here’s my nightly routine for conquering the kitchen! I feel most settled on evenings when I leave a clean, tidy kitchen downstairs. I just love glancing back at the freshly wiped countertops, the dish-less sink, and flipping the light off before heading upstairs for the night, knowing all is well and set for the next day. But – I certainly don’t want to spend all evening after work standing in the kitchen! I’m all for efficiency in housekeeping.
Most of these tasks are habitual at this point. Much of keeping a clean home is related to our simple, small, daily habits!
Even if this routine sounds a bit intense or detailed at first, that’s just because it’s comprehensive and step-by-step. Remember that it is just made up of small tasks that soon become habits! At this point, I just move through the motions and tasks, one after another. I hope it helped you to see how I conquer that daily kitchen mess!
4 // How to Make Multitasking Actually Work
I’ve heard that there’s no such thing as multitasking, only task SWITCHING. Task switching is not a guaranteed success, and it usually doesn’t work well from a productivity standpoint. Watching a movie on a TV screen while looking at your computer screen to try to work involves task switching. You’re pausing your attention to one to attend to the other for a few moments, then back and forth you go again.
** But if you do want to do more than one thing at a time, you CAN align tasks on top of each other that complement each other. Aligning tasks like a podcast and walking, or a movie on your laptop and doing the dishes – those involve different senses and can be accomplished at the same time without taking away from the other task!
5 // Use “Subtle Parenting Phrases”
Use subtle parenting phrases when possible! It eliminates that feeling of barking out orders or nagging with direct phrases. There are two magic words: “while” and “you’re.”
Here’s an example: “WHILE YOU’RE taking another bite, think about what animal you want to tell Daddy about from the zoo this morning!” Or “WHILE YOU’RE cleaning up those blocks, I’ll tell you what we’re going to be doing after suppertime today!”
Essentially, you’re using those two magic words to pinpoint for your child what it is they should be doing right now/what is expected of them, and then moving them along to the next task!
6 // If You Only Have 20 Minutes to Clean the House (+ Checklist!)
While longer housecleaning sessions are definitely good (and sometimes necessary!), there are many days you only have a small amount of time to really tidy up the place. As mothers, we can’t necessarily dedicate an entire day to cleaning; that’s why it’s so valuable to learn and implement efficient tidying habits that you can use on a daily basis!
In this video, I’m sharing with you what my 20-minute housecleaning routine looks like. While it’s not deep cleaning, it’s a great routine to use to reset the house – which, in turn, helps you to feel more at peace and more present in your daily life!
BONUS! Let’s Talk About Touch Lamps
This is a favorite tip of mine when it comes to having a newborn or an infant – especially if they are sleeping in your bedroom! When our children were born, we had a bassinet in our master bedroom on my side of the bed (because I breastfed our babies and that was easiest for everyone!). When our firstborn, Sophie, was brand-new, and I would be feeding and changing her at night, the loud “Click!” from my bedside lamp started to bother both Sophie and me! It would click so loudly (at least it seemed to be loud, since it would awaken my baby) and I knew we needed a different, quieter solution. I ended up buying a touch lamp for my nightstand, and it has been a great product for us to have ever since! It was wonderful when Soren was an infant, too.
I like a touch lamp with several different brightness settings. I keep it on the lowest or dimmest setting when I am nursing in the middle of the night, or when I’m trying to soothe a baby back to sleep. But then for reading a book or for a messy diaper change (ha!) I can make the lamp even brighter so I can see what I’m doing! And then you can simply tap the lamp and it silently shuts off, without disturbing anyone!
If you’ve got an infant or a child who you’re up at night a bit with, a touch lamp may be a really helpful solution!
UPDATE: With our third baby, I’ve really been loving this smaller egg-shaped touch light! It has a dim setting and a brighter setting, although even the bright setting isn’t overwhelming – perfect for those overnight nursing sessions! And the battery lasts for a long time!
BONUS! Your Family Personality
Remember that every mom has her own personality, but also, every FAMILY has its own personality, too. Some families just tend to be more loud, or more goofy, or more reserved. This is because of the unique combination of personalities that the parents have, how that turns into their combined parenting style, and what their priorities are for a family.
In some families, humor or storytelling is prized, while in other families, maybe having really reserved manners is held high as an esteemed goal for everyone to have. In some families, fitness is super important. Anyway, know that every family has its own family personality due to many factors; therefore, yours is going to look different from the one you grew up in, and also different from the family your friends are raising…and that’s okay. It’s refreshing and freeing to realize that you can still be a respectful, productive, fun, and God-honoring family even if your family’s overall personality is different from other families!