Staying home with kids isn’t for wimps. It can be really exhausting, even though there are lots of rewards too.
I know it’s important to keep myself functioning at a high level so I can keep up with my energetic little girls. Here are 10 ways I keep things running smoothly for me and my family. Some are big and others are just little things that make a big difference for me:
- Get dressed. Even if it’s just jeans and a t-shirt, the fact that I’m not wearing pajamas makes me feel a million times more like a real person (plus, then I can get in pajamas in the evening and really feel like I’m relaxing).
- Turn on some music. Sometimes, when my kids are just going nuts, turning on some music and dancing together or singing along while we do the dishes, is just what we all need.
- Keep toy storage super simple. Don’t kill yourself alphabetizing your picture books or having labeled separate storage for every single type of toy. Get a toy bin, dump everything in and then you can clean up in three minutes (and your kids can help without ruining the system).
- Paint my nails. On the days when I don’t have time for much makeup or jewelry, having painted nails makes me feel way more pulled together. Plus, doing them in the evenings really relaxes me.
- Exercise. I know it’s hard to squeeze in, but I eat better, feel better, and sleep better when I make it a priority.
- Keep breakfast and lunch very simple. We don’t have a smorgesboard breakfast or lunch; my girls know there aren’t a lot of options and it means I don’t have to spend a lot of time thinking about it or convincing my girls to eat it.
- Read a book. In the evening, it’s so tempting to just veg in front of the TV or computer screen, but reading a book clears my mind and doesn’t make me feel both wired and exhausted afterward (if you’re looking for suggestions, I put together a list of 30 of my favorite books to read this summer).
- Teach your children to entertain themselves. My older daughter does quiet time every day during my younger daughter’s nap, and I also try to sit on the couch and read or work on a project for at least 20 minutes a day or so and let my girls practice playing on their own without my constant supervision. I think this is such an important life skill!
- Keep a (flexible) schedule. I try not to be totally tied to a schedule, but I also keep things running pretty regularly so that my girls know what to expect, get plenty of sleep, and I can plan my days. Children need routines!
- Find friends with similar-aged children. When you stay home, it’s so easy to feel isolated. Make some friends in your neighborhood or through your church or local school.