Recently, someone wrote me a note on facebook, asking: “How do you have time to do everything?”
That got me thinking. I feel like I don’t have time to do anything! Most of my days are spent cooking and running on playgrounds. I, like you, always want to do more! There are crafts to try, homeschool projects to tackle, restaurants to go to with hubby whenever we are not completely exhausted by 8 pm; there is all of this amazing stuff on Pinterest ! I do, however, usually find time to do what I had set out to do. Here’s how:
1. I set my priorities in general and on the daily basis. My priorities are making sure my family is healthy and happy and making sure we fulfill whatever homeschool program I decided on for my preschooler. After that comes a book I am writing, a TV show I am working on and this blog. Talking to friends on the phone for hours does not fit into my priority list. So, they get a quick phone call or an email. Watching movies does not fit into my priority list, so I watch them in the evening, after I finished everything that’s important.
Every morning, there are daily priorities, too. What are we doing today? What are we learning today? How is this plan contributing to our larger plan? I must look at our priorities and set goals in order to accomplish things with a four year old, two year old twins and no nanny.
2. I diligently stick to a schedule. We all eat at the same time, the kids nap at the same time, we do school at the same time. Routine makes calmer kids and I get two free hours a day ( kids’ naptime.) I believe that having multiple small kids nap all at the same time is one of basic life’s necessities for a mother.
3. Work. This blog is fun for me. It’s not a chore, it’s something I do out of love. When you do something you love, it penetrates your whole life. Every recipe you see here, I made. Every craft you see, we did. So, the blog doesn’t take that much time: all I need to do is document the life I already am living. I do that during kids’ naptime.
4. Naptime. My eldest doesn’t nap anymore, so I make him stay in his room and listen to audiobooks for two hours and he loves that. I love it too! Nothing beats a cup of tea, a square of dark chocolate and a healthy portion of Internet. I intend to continue with this tradition for years. Older kids can read, listen to audiobooks, build, draw, craft: anything quiet that gives you two hours to recharge. If you make it into a daily tradition, chances are your kids would stick to it without objection.
5. Exercise. I practice yoga daily. Without it, life is not the same for me. My favorite time for yoga is in the afternoon: I let the kids play outside while I practice yoga and watch them through a glass door. Of course, it’s not as peaceful as practicing yoga without any kids, but you do learn the true meaning of “maintaining inner peace” when two toddlers are fighting over who took whose shovel first and a preschooler trying to take the said shovel away from both of them.
6. Cooking and Shopping. All of my recipes are quick to make. That is because I hate wasting hours in the kitchen! I cook quickly, using fresh ingredients. I go to the store with all my kids. In the store, we learn math ( “How many tomatoes is that?,” ” How much does this bag of apples weigh?”,) so that we don’t have to do math at home.
7. Cleaning. I am very fortunate to have a cleaning lady, but after she leaves, the house turns into a mess right away! Small kids know how to do that every time. So, I spend a lot of time cleaning. Whenever I do laundry or clean, I give my kids something educational to do, like Montessori puzzle or a workbook, so that we don’t have to waste time on that later.
8. TV. I don’t watch TV during the day. I only watch TV in the evening with my husband when the kids are sleeping. I believe I have more time to do what I need to do this way.
9. Preparation. On weekends, I loosely prepare for the week ahead in homeschool. The night before, I spend another 15 minutes preparing for the next day in school.
10. Storage. All of our school materials are organized well and I will soon write a post about it. Having your materials organized helps with getting things done.
11. My kids function as a unit. They help each other, they are always conscious of each other; the older one teaches his little brother and sister. I save a lot of time this way, because if you have to drive one kid to the babysitter and another one to karate, you just wasted half a day. I try to find activities for all kids to do at the same time. I ask my kids to help me with everything I do: cooking, cleaning, picking stuff up, teaching, organizing. They may not do it well, buit they are learning valuable skills this way. My four year old can even pick out clothes for the twins, including hair accessories for his sister!
12. Where do you find all of this energy? Read my recipes. I eat fresh, healthy foods, I do not pollute my body with junk. I exercise and move energy on a regular basis. I don’t drink coffee and consume very little sugar. I go to bed at 10 pm, wake up at 7 ( unless the kids feel like getting up at 5) and don’t take naps.
13. Travel. It’s very easy to make yourself busy traveling between playdates, kids’ classes and activities. Actually, you can make that be a bulk of your life- many of my friends do that. We have one day a week to travel places. We go to zoos, museums, nature centers. Most playdates and friends come to us ( my choice) and I choose activities that all of my kids can do together. For example, I take them all to gymnastics once a week. I also take the eldest to tennis, because they have a playground by the courts. He is taking lessons and the twins are enjoying the playground. I know that when the kids are older, it would be harder to do, but then we will limit the amount of activities per child, because travel is important, but family time is more important, in my opinion.
Do you have any tips on how to “do it all?” Please, share!