September 28, 2020

Motherhood at a Glance: Managing Your Time in the Juggle of Motherhood

Welcome back! It’s been a couple weeks since our last Motherhood at a Glance feature article, mostly because I needed a break and needed to focus on working on other things. But it feels so good to be back for the last couple articles of 2020!

Today’s writer is Audrey Stephens, a friend of mine from San Diego! Audrey has been married to her hubby, Josh, for five years and they have been blessed with two sweet babes under two! After struggling through many years of infertility, they had their first baby through IVF and conceived their second naturally. Audrey loves running, reading and baking! She is a rockstar of a mom and I’m so excited for her to share some her insights on the strength of planning that she has cultivated and nourished during her motherhood journey.

I have always been a planner. My friends know this about me and have helped me grow that into more of a strength. I’m the kind of person that gets excited every year to buy my new planner and gets totally picky about the layout of it. Call me a nerd... but I love it!

During school this came in handy when I had assignments due, lacrosse games, and work. While we were in our college student phase this came in handy when I was working 3 jobs and had to manage my schedule. Then I became a stay at home mom and there wasn’t anything to “pencil in” anymore. I felt kind of lost. Newborns make you so busy in a very different way. It was a hard transition for me! Now, having 2 kids under 2, planning is even more important for me.

I found myself not getting as much done in my days and weeks as I wanted to but at first, I just attributed that to being a new mom. One day it hit me that I was no longer planning ANYTHING out. I wasn’t planning or prioritizing.

I soon learned that I needed to have a game plan.

At this point I started coaching lacrosse in the evenings again so my days became just a little busier. A game plan was necessary. Coaching at night meant I needed to have my daily things done before I left for practice. Cleaning, organizing, preparing dinner, and doing what I could for the baby before I had to leave. How would I be able to do that without a plan? 

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent, and not enough time on what is important” -Steven R. Covey

Now came the fun part. Write. It. Down.

Steven R. Covey has said before that if he could give 1 piece of advice it would be “plan your week”. I needed somewhere to write it all down to keep my thoughts organized. Writing down the times of my games and practices was easy, especially since those rarely varied. What was more difficult for me was spreading out my duties at home in a way that didn’t make me go crazy yet helped me get it all done. 

I got into a habit every Sunday evening of going through the upcoming week with Josh. Letting him know when swim lessons were, any church activities, lacrosse, etc. I asked him if there is anything he needed/wanted me to do for him during the week. Then, I wrote down my game plan. It is also helpful for us to have a shared calendar on our phone where I put things like doctor appointments, swim lessons, or parties. Some things were a weekly task but even week also had its unique to-do list.

It is very easy to make myself overwhelmed with everything that I want to get done. To combat that, I would plan some more strenuous tasks with others that are quick and easy.

“Don’t be busy, be productive”

It is easy to do the things that come every week (like laundry and grocery shopping) but other things are so easy to push aside. I’ll admit, there have been times when I flip through my planner and see the same task 3 weeks in a row that has still not been crossed off… And that is okay! It is all about prioritizing. 

When things are written down in a way that is not intimidating it makes it so much easier to follow through. Everytime I get to cross something off my list I feel like super-mom, and you should too!

I could tell you exactly how I plan out my week to get everything done but that probably wouldn’t work for you. Everybody has different needs, to-do lists, and priorities. It took a little bit of time to find what worked best for me and my family and once I got in my groove I was able to add things to my week to help my family and even pencil in some self care.

That’s right… Schedule yourself some self care!! Put it on your to-do list or in your planner and make sure your partner knows that it’s there.

Through all of this I have learned to not be so hard on myself. As women, we are way too hard on ourselves for no reason at all! My one piece of advice is to figure out what your priority is (singular, not plural) and focus your time there. If your kids need you more today, give them that time. You can do the vacuum tomorrow.

“Women wear many hats, but it is impossible, and unnecessary to wear them all at once. The Spirit helps us determine which work to focus on today.” Joy B Jones

Thank you so much to Audrey for this great take on managing your time as a mama. I know I struggle with this big time, so I’m going to be putting this into action this week! As a recap, her suggestions are:

Write. It. Down. Put your week in writing so you can make the most use of your time

Follow through and find what way works best for you