So is this the part I give you the generic, “do it while they’re sleeping”.
I hate that saying because really do it while they’re sleeping? Don’t they also say that’s when I should be sleeping? Which is it? Am I supposed to be productive, or should I be taking a nap?
The advice for parents is all so counterintuitive that you just have to find your own flow. That’s exactly what I did, and today I am going to go over and share exactly what that looks like for me. How I make time to clean the house, cook dinner, work out and find the time to write all with 4 kids. And even find time for myself. In hopes that maybe this will also be helpful to all you moms out there who feel like they just can’t get anything done.
We will break it into specific sections, for those who may be looking for certain ways in which to get things done with their children.
- Getting the house clean
- Working out
- Time for myself
Getting the house clean.
So as I mentioned in, Routine, schedule, repeat. I do clean my house on a schedule. However, there are day to day things I do have to do. I also have to find the time to do it all.
This is my day to day cleaning schedule.
When it comes to things like sweeping I generally do that twice a day, the same with dishes and wiping things down. I’m also constantly picking up toys… Does it ever stop? But I find breaking up into multiple times, it’s quickest compared to saving it all for one time. So you want to know when it comes to having to get things what I do! I use distraction like the same way I would when menting the art of distraction in Surviving a toddler.
When it comes to cleaning up. I set up the babies floor playpen, set the bigger kids up with crayons or play dough or something time consuming. To get whatever cleaning needs to be done that day. What I have to do multiple times in a day I will just get done when they’re randomly distracted throughout the day. And the probably again once they’ve gone to bed.
Things like after dinner clean up. I do while they are having their bed snack, all fresh and clean from the bath winding down and relaxing from the day. Basically, it’s just another time of day that happens at a set time so I use that distraction to get the kitchen and dining area cleaned up.
So there are a couple of ways I go about getting the cooking done. 4 days out of the week my husband’s work schedule makes it so he’s only home and awake, for a couple of hours out of the day when the bigger kids are at school. So, this makes cooking at any point in the day a little difficult.
Obviously I’m a huge advocate for Cooking with your kids. (Considering I have a whole blog post about it) But what happens when I can’t have them cook with me, or I just don’t want extra little hands in the kitchen? Because let’s be honest, sometimes you just don’t want people in your kitchen when you’re trying to cook.
There are many times I will ask the older three kids to help in different ways like; setting the table, five minute tidy up before dinner, making “menues” to pretend we’re eating at a restaurant. This was they still feel involved, and they aren’t all over the kitchen when I’m trying to get a meal made.
Then there’s good old tride and true, can you go play upstairs/in the living room, while Mommy cooks dinner. Yes it’s not the most “fun,” and it’s doesn’t have them helping but sometimes that’s just the way it goes. Also cooking things like your meats ahead of time can cut down on cooking time. Making slower cooker or “set it and forget it” meals also really come in handy for cutting down on time spent cooking.
Working out… Like I said in Losing weight as a mom. Not every mom has the time to go to the gym or the childcare to do so. I know, I don’t.
So a lot of the time they work out with me!
My point is, a lot of the time I will just let them join me. Yes, there are many days I will wake up extra early and go straight to the basement to get a workout in before the kids get up. When that doesn’t go as planned though, I will put a workout from YouTube on the tv and the kids will try and follow along with me. Or do they’re own. (They always have a blast following along.)
Sometimes we will put on Just Dance (the sweat I work up playing that with the kids is unreal some days!) At the end of the day though, working out with your kids being there isn’t an easy task. You either have to learn to let them “workout” too or carve out a hunk of time when they aren’t awake or can be distracted.
Finding the time to write, in the beginning this was a little tricky to say the least. I utilize early mornings and night time after the kids go to bed most days. However there are many days I need to write during the day, or do other things on the computer for the blog and social media accounts attached to it.
So I had to come up with my own schedule and plan to be able to sit down each day and write/work on things. This is where the floor playpen has really come in handy.
As I just mentioned this half hour to an hour a day happens while the older two are at school, and the younger two have independent play. My two year old has the option to colour, play with play dough at the kitchen table or play in her room while the baby’s in her play pen.
This gives me a good amount of time each day to be productive while I have the chance. Now, this doesn’t always go as planned, because life happen and kids get fussy. But on the flip side, if the baby and toddler both happen to take a nap at the same time. (My two-year-old doesn’t nap often anymore, as she will be three this March and has pretty much outgrown her nap) Then I use that extra time to get more work done.
Figuring out how to balance it all was hard in the beginning (I took my own advice stated in There’s no shame in needing help) So I talked to my husband and we made a plan: every other Sunday I lock myself in our bedroom and get a few hours to get work done. He takes care of the kids and the house and I get a few hours of uninterrupted time, I feel much less stressed and unbalanced this way.
Time for myself.
I would love to say I make time for myself every single day. I would love to say I do it multiple times a week even. That’s simply not the case. I have four small kids, a house hold to take care of, and a husband who I want to give my time and attention too.
That being said. Every Monday night I decided to make “my night”. After putting the kids to bed, and the days end tidy up and getting things like lunches ready for the next day. I do nothing, no blog work, or social media planning. Just do what ever I feel like, play on my phone, call a friend, take an extra long hot shower.
I said it in What the hell is even “self-care”? I’ll say it again a shower can be self-care if that’s what you need. My point being I just do what ever I feel I need to do, as a form of self-care for that day.
Even if for the next 18 years, I only get to have one night for me to take extra time for myself. That’s okay, because I know I’m taking that time for myself and it gives me something to look forward to on Mondays.
How I get anything done with 4 kids.
You can really break it down to:
- Bringing them with me
- Getting them to help
- Asking for help
- Finding time without them
I hope this gave you some insight on how I manage to get anything done with my kids. This takes a lot of trial and error to find what works best for us and will change with each family. It will vary from household to household. It can and will even change depending on the number of children you have. Remember to always use the tools and opportunities you have throughout your day to get what you need to done.
All that aside, remember to give yourself some grace. Being a mom is hard, and perfection isn’t needed. If you can’t get something done today because your kids need you don’t sweat it, things can always be done tomorrow. I hope todays post helped, or gave you some sort of direction on where to go from here.
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