I’m so excited to welcome my friend and guest expert, Julie Bowman to the blog today! As a working mom of twins, Julie knows how hard it is to get everything done in a day you want to, especially when trying to run a business too. She has given us 5 awesome tips on how to make the most of our time. And be sure to check out her email course coming up at the end of the month that is going to help us Tame our Toy Jungle! I know I need that for sure!
Being a mama is hard work!
I think most people would agree. Each day is chock full of responsibilities, routines, and running around. Some days are a whirlwind and it’s nothing short of a miracle that everyone gets where they need to be. Being a mama and running a business is even harder. Honestly, there is a reason that every mama doesn’t sign up to be an entrepreneur! It’s a constant balance of running your household, running your business, and running short on energy and time. No matter what task we choose to focus on, those feelings of mama guilt creep into our mind. You didn’t finish the blog post that is due to be published in a few hours! You didn’t sit down and finish that puzzle with your child because you were meeting friends for coffee. There was no time for dinner at home this evening because you didn’t plan ahead. It’s a vicious cycle. If we are truly honest with ourselves, there is really no winning in this cycle. We’ve all been there. The cycle continues and you struggle to really feel good about anything you’re doing because you never feel like it’s enough. We are often our own worst critic. We are simply too hard on ourselves. We often don’t give ourselves permission to multitask because we feel that we can’t give our full attention to two tasks at once. Sometimes, we talk ourselves out of multitasking because the “task will take too long” or “Not until I have enough time to give it 100%.” I’m challenging you (and myself) to change our perspective on how we balance and complete tasks for our business, families, and households.
Here are 5 areas where I believe that Mama Multitasking is appropriate and possible:
1.) Daily Exercise
Have you been making excuses about starting an exercise routine? Was it one of your resolutions for this year? Not sure where you can fit it in because you don’t have any time available without your children? Why not include your children? Bringing the children along on your daily walk can be a great way to get your exercise time logged for the day and spend quality time with your children. “Walking and Teaching” can be a win for both of you. Simply put the children in the stroller and start walking. As you’re walking, you can work on teaching your children numbers, letters, colors, and shapes. You can also incorporate games such as I spy and scavenger hunts. All can be educational and fun! If you have older children, let them ride their bikes while you walk so they can enjoy the benefits of exercise as well. Getting some exercise outside isn’t always ideal. Exercising at home is also a great opportunity to get your children involved. There are many home workout options available. You can put in a DVD and let your kids exercise along with you.
2.) Meal preparation
I haven’t met too many mamas that have a never-ending list of meal ideas and never feel in a time crunch to get meals on the table. Preparing meals, whether breakfast, lunch, or dinner is a required job for most mamas. It’s always on our list of daily tasks and can’t be moved to tomorrow’s list. It has to get done. Do you get your children involved in meal preparation? It’s a great way to spend quality time together and to get some fun learning in too. Measuring ingredients is a great “real life” math lesson. Cutting and rolling tasks are great fine motor practice for younger children. Having your children set the table is also a great life skill. When it’s not age-appropriate to include your child in meal preparation, set them up with a play task in the kitchen with you so you can be together. Magnets on the refrigerator can be a great and simple activity. Is including your children in meal preparation ideal for every meal? Of course not, but including them sometimes might give you a little more time with them and reduce those feelings of mama guilt.
This is an area where I struggle. I’ll be the first to admit that I often use my child-free time to get shopping and errands done. Deep down, I know that this is not the best use of my child-free time, but I can get it done so much faster without my children in tow. What if I changed my perspective about shopping solo and included my children? Heading out for errands with my children can be a great way to spend time with them after I’ve been away from them at work all day. It can easily become an adventure for children. You can use games like I Spy or 20 questions as you navigate the store together. My boys love to “help” push the cart and be my lookouts for the next item on our list. Is it my ideal shopping experience? Not really! Does it take longer than if I were shopping alone? Absolutely! Am I spending time with my children and having a good time? Yes, I believe that it can be! Am I telling you to always take your children with you on errands? Of course not, but I’m challenging you (and myself) to change your perspective of taking your children with you sometimes so you can use your child-free time for business tasks.
4.) Screen Time
How many times do you have just one more thing to add to this week’s blog post and you’ve run out of time? You have some business tasks that aren’t quite finished when your children arrive home from school. It’s okay to work WITH your children! If you have older children, have them work on their homework while you finish up that blog post. You are modeling a good work ethic for them and you are getting the blog post finished at the same time. My children aren’t school-aged yet, but they do love to “work” with me. They love to get their markers and crayons out to “work” right beside me. It’s a great time for them to practice writing their names, alphabet letters, and numbers. Is it interruption free work time? No, but you are spending time together. I’m not saying that you should always sit down with your laptop and give your children less of your attention. However, we all have those days or weeks that don’t go as planned and we need just a few more minutes to get something accomplished. We need to learn to give ourselves a break!
5.) Clean up
Scheduling time to clean my house is not my favorite task to tackle. I’m sure I’m not the only one. It’s even more difficult to make cleaning a top priority when you are faced with a business deadline or want to spend time with your children. What if some clean up tasks could involve spending time with your children? I’m a firm believer in getting your children involved in household chores, particularly if the chores involve their belongings. Toy organization in my house always seems to be a daily struggle. Of course, children are children: designed to play and have fun. Picking up toys isn’t always a task that gets done daily or even weekly, if I’m truly honest. It’s the task that is usually on the list, but other tasks always seem to take priority so organizing the toys just doesn’t get done. Getting the toys in order usually seems like a daunting task. It’s often difficult to know where to start. Busy mamas don’t have hours or days to block off on their calendars to reclaim the toy space. However, do you have 15 days and 30 minutes per day? If you struggle with toy organization and are frustrated with the growing mountain of toys in your home, my brand new email course is designed just for you! Taming the Toy Jungle is a course that is delivered to your email inbox for 15 consecutive days. You’ll receive step-by-step support and accountability to purge, sort, and organize the toy space in your home. Before too long, we’ll be celebrating your success together. Don’t enter into the holiday season wishing you had organized the toys in your home. Our toy journey begins October 28, 2014 so sign up today to get started! You can register and learn more about Taming the Toy Jungle here! These 5 areas of mama multitasking will not solve every instance of mama guilt. However, I hope it does get you thinking about changing your perspective a bit. I’ll be the first to admit that mamas need time alone to get things done, but sometimes we use that as a barrier to completing tasks. If we wait for our environment to be just right to get things done, we might be waiting forever! We continually put tasks off and add them to our list to get done without our children. By the time we have child-free time, there is no way we can finish everything we’ve added to our list. I challenge you to take a step back. Look at these 5 areas and see where you might be able to change your perspective about completing your daily tasks. You might find that you feel a bit more productive and connected to your business, yourself, and your family. Julie Bowman is a working mother of four-year-old twin boys. She is the owner and creative visionary behind The Organized Details. She helps busy moms get organized, prepare for the demands in their lives, and encourages them to make time to enjoy their families. When she isn’t playing in the dirt with her little guys, she recharges herself with her favorite latte and a great book. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest. If you’re interested in learning more about Taming the Toy Jungle, you can find out more information here.