5 Ways to Make Life Simpler with Littles

"Momma."  Maybe one of the sweetest words my ears hear on a daily basis.  Also, one of the most uttered words in our house in this season of raising littles. I prefer 'Momma' over 'Mom' or 'Mommy' and sometimes I stop when Lily is trying to get my attention, because I know 'Momma' will soon be replaced by 'Mom' and my sentimental self is just not ready for that.

The role of momma comes with responsibility (don't we know it) and adding another babe to our family the last few months has made me revisit our daily routine and think through some ways to make our days less chaotic, less crazy, and a bit simpler.  These are small changes I am implementing to enjoy our hours at home more and be a crazy woman less. 

1.  Take a shower before the crew is awake.

Feeling ready for the day ahead is vital for my sanity.  I know some mommas can shower in the middle of the day (or not at all) and feel great.  That is awesome.  Unfortunately, I feel frazzled and unprepared if I haven't gotten in the shower to start my day before someone else starts it for me.  No matter what it is that helps you feel ready for the day, get up a few minutes early and do it.  This is a game changer in my stay-at-home-momma life.

2.  Plan breakfast and dinner.

Meal planning has always been in my world, but I was only planning dinners. When Jude entered the world, I realized I needed a plan for breakfast every morning because I was trying to nurse, then pump, and do breakfast for my two starving toddlers.  We moms are good at multitasking, but everyone has their limit. 

I needed breakfast thought out beforehand so I could concentrate on feeding my babies and not on what I was going to feed them.  Unlike our dinner plan, I don't do this a week in advance, but set out items the night before so it's ready to go.  Our breakfast options are limited and stay the same except for weekends.  My go-to breakfast items are oatmeal with honey and berries, yogurt and cheerios (when I feel like cleaning up a mess), banana applesauce mini muffins, and Earth's Best mini pancakes and waffles.  Meal planning gives my brain a break when I'm in the middle of juggling babies.

3.  Put the kids to work.

"It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings." -Ann Landers

Luke (4) and Lily (2) are definitely at the age where they can do some things for themselves.  Luke dresses and undresses himself, brushes his teeth (with help), picks up toys, deposits his dishes next to the sink after a meal, will sometimes dust, and puts away his clean clothes.  Lily does a version of all of those things, with lots (and lots and lots) of help.  This is super helpful about half of the time.  The other half it is most definitely more work when they do it themselves.  But, I know the fruits of our labors will come and I will be all about the praise hands when the kitchen is cleaned up after breakfast without me lifting a finger.  #intenyears 

4.  Let some things go.

Type A personality is in my blood, almost to a fault.  At the end of the day there is a running list in my head of things that need to be completed in order to put my feet up and be prepared for the next day with a clean slate.  My friend, Annie, termed this 'ground zero'.  Anything not on the 'ground zero' list at the end of the day, I let go.  If it didn't get done in the hours in my stay-at-home-mom work day, I save it for tomorrow.  Some things on my 'ground zero' list include dishes cleaned, counters wiped, toys picked up, laundry not left in the washer (dryer is allowed), and surfaces free of clutter.  Things not on my running list include projects I am working on, other cleaning, prepping food, and kid chores (see above).  

Everyone needs a break and at the end of the day I have needed to let some things go so I can be recharged for my littles the next day.

On another note, I do not fight every single battle with every single kid.  If Luke wants to wear his John Deere shirt for the fourth day in a row, I let him. If Lily wants to use a 'big girl' fork to try and eat her pieces of hot dog, go for it.  If they both want to run around in their underwear while building and knocking down a fort for a half hour, have at it.  I am trying to say 'yes' more and let things go that really, truly don't matter.  

5.  Buy less, own less.

I know, I know, this isn't what you wanted to hear, but I have found it to be oh so true.  Owning less toys, less clothes, less books, less stuff frees up so much of my time to be present with my babies.  Each kid has a wardrobe of items that can be thrown together at a moment's notice.  90% of their wardrobes can be mixed and matched so it is #dadproof.  We keep a limited amount of toys and books out within reach so clean up time is not overwhelming and rotate these items out of a closet to keep the kids' interest.  We try hard to keep surfaces clear of clutter to leave room for imaginary play with trains or a giant fort construction or an art session with paint and stickers and glue.

Owning less stuff makes life with littles simpler. 

My days with three babes are not perfect.  If you were a fly on the wall on a Monday morning you would know this to be true.  But, these are some simple ways that I keep the crazy from being overwhelming and keep my eyes and heart on the goal of loving and raising my family the best I know how.  How do you make life with littles simpler? 

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