When you first have a baby, it is easy to constantly compare yourself with others. Some of that is for trivial reasons ("ugh, that stroller bag is way better than mine!") but mostly us Moms are looking to others in our situation because we are clueless and we look for any hints, cues - any form of guidance! As you develop your own systems + your little one grows, the need to compare drips away. However, there is always room to learn from others, especially when it comes to the dreaded "time management" conversation.
Whether it is your own time, your son's/daughter's time or your partner's time - it can often feel like we just don't have enough of it.
I've asked several local Mamas to share their secrets when it comes to time management. Their answers were really thoughtful and fascinating - each woman has her own system that works for her + her family. How would YOU answer?
In one sentence or less, share with us your best method to manage time.
Becky Allison (Mama of 1 with another little on the way; graphic designer): I live by Google Calendar, which I share with my husband, and try to stay as organized as possible.
Rachel Maniago (Mama of 1; PR consultant): To-do lists, timers, and discipline.
Christy Thiessen (Mama of 1; event planner / small business owner): Created a consistent schedule during the week - I am a lot calmer knowing what our week (ahead) looks like.
Jen Bedrossian (Mama of 2; small business owner): I've found that mapping out my day first thing in the morning is crucial - my top three work-related priorities alongside the daily to-dos (soccer, school, swim, etc.).
How do you best manage work expectations?
Elizabeth Clark (Mama of 2; yoga instructor and doula): I try to get 1-2 things done every day that I can cross off the list and move on from. Whether it's an "official" work task or a household need, I only hold myself responsible for those 1 or 2 bullet points. The exception of course is when I don't have the kids all day and then I try to cram in 42 work tasks (into the day)!
Becky Allison: I make sure to give myself some leeway by setting realistic deadlines and never over promising that I can get something done in a short amount of time. If your clients respect your time and craft, they will be understanding.
Lyndsey Yeomans (Mama of 2; small business owner): This has gotten easier with practice. I think as a new Mama, sometimes we have this innate need to try to carry on as we did before, plus baby, and not skip a beat; then you hit that wall that shakes everything into perspective. You then learn how to set realistic goals and expectations. The key for me is staying real in my work and trying to stay fluid in it, because that "to-do" list never really goes away.
How do you manage carving out time for your own health and wellness?
Meredith Wilson: I've started getting up before the kids (WHICH I HATE) and working out for 30 minutes. It sets the tone for the day and I need that endorphin boost. I also give myself 20-30 minutes to eat my lunch and read a book during the littlest's nap time. It is life giving.
Jen Bedrossian: By working out three times a week and taking 5 minutes every morning and evening to do my skincare routine - I always spend a bit more time in the evening!
Rachel Maniago: In all honestly, I'm still figuring this one out, but I've found that finding an activity/class with a friend that enjoys the same thing and going on a consistent schedule keeps me accountable and adds a layer of social fun as well.
Christy Thiessen: Being a happy mom makes for a happy family. My husband and I both value "me time" to recharge our minds and I feel like it makes us better parents. I try to be social once a week after Edie goes to sleep.
How do you manage family life, in particular when there are multiple littles in the household?
Lyndsey Yeomans: I don't know if I manage so much as I prioritize. My boys come first. They know I work, and sometimes they come along, but I try not to overlap the two... I've never been great at dividing myself at once, either they lose or my work does, so I choose to keep them separate. We have some amazing sitters that allow for a few hours here and there for me to work during the week, but mostly I get the long runs done at night or the weekends, and for now that works for us.
Elizabeth Clark: I have given up on the idea of "balance" and really I'm embracing the idea of seasons (even short ones within a longer one).
Becky Allison: It's been a challenge with my husband working full-time and getting his MBA, but we make sure to fit in fun excursions and outings to look forward to when we are all free. Also, now that I'm working full-time, we get the house cleaned every other week, which has been a total game changer. Before I felt like I was constantly consumed by trying to keep the house clean, which took away time spent with my husband and daughter.
The consensus here is that things can be done and things can be fun - it just takes some maneuvering and acceptance of things that may seem less than perfect. Love hearing all these ladies' tips and methods - thank you all for sharing!