Practical tips on making it through the day with toddlers
I may have had three kids under four, but I’ve said before that I’m no parenting expert. I think it’s humorous when people ask my parenting advice cause it’s something like. . . . just be the mom you are, coffee and Jesus, and pair your sweats with red lipstick.
Who is ready for my advice column?!
But, as with the desperation that comes with drowning in the pool of motherhood, I have learned to keep my head above the water (most days. kind of). So, here are some of my Top Mom Sanity Savers that help me make it from sun-up to sun-down each day. . .
1. Every morning out.
Aside from a few mornings of preschool for Levi, I’ve got all three kids home, at all times. Until we get the basement finished it is all of us bobbing around the kitchen and living room, which literally starts to shrink by the hour as the day goes on.
Getting out every morning has been the biggest sanity saver for everyone. Even if it is just a walk, or a drive to the park, or heading to my besties for tea – we have to leave the house.
2. TV time
I know, judge away but we watch TV in this house and we aren’t sorry.
We have an Apple TV so we can watch Netflix, YouTube and this cool channel called Tastemade which is non-stop cooking shows.
Sometimes TV is a well-placed distraction on a cranky day or a way to get us all through a house full of sick kids.
Mostly TV is something we enjoy watching together, a place to learn about stuff like vegan pizza and the alphabet, a place to unwind. Some days it’s a Sesame Street marathon, some days it’s no tv at all. It is a tool in my toolbox, TV saves my mom sanity. And, hey, I watched a butt load of TV growing up and I’m normal! (enough).
3. Autopilot Morning Routine
I laugh at one of my biggest fears when I was becoming a mom of two: when would I shower?! My life is legit scary right?!
Turns out showering is a luxury that is wedged into the quiet of the night or a rush of spray while toddlers chuck toys into the tub at me. One way that I’ve made peace with this haphazard hygiene practice is to wash and do my hair every few days rather than every day. Maybe on day one I look like I’m ready for prom, but it’s worth it to last a few days with one less thing to do in the morning.
This paired with what I learned from getting dressed every day has made getting ready in the mornings take ten minutes. Which helps me start my day ready to take care of everyone else because I feel taken care of.
4. Meal planning
You might not believe we meal plan when I share that some lunches are an array of frozen peas and potato chips, but we do. That combo is a toddler favourite that was either requested or we’ve reached the end of the groceries for the week.
Every week we grocery shop from a list of dinners, snacks, breakfasts, second breakfasts, and lunches. When it comes time to make dinner – instead of using that concoction of culinary ingenuity, Pinterest and rational decision making I can switch to autopilot come 4 pm and make something from the meal list.
I used to have this singular housekeeping goal of keeping my table clear. Ha! Until the kids became toddlers and my table became their land of legos, art, books, snack bowls, more legos, and more legos… and that’s ok because eventually this will all be in the basement and I might even miss it. Maybe.When the kids are restless I tell them to sit at the table and put something in front of them to keep them busy.
It’s not a Pinterest-perfect seasonally-suitable and educational craft. It’s whatever is in the cupboards: paints and a huge paper. The cool sand from Aunty Brady. Playdoh. Stamping books. Glue and scrap paper.
Anything is something when you present it with enthusiasm. This usually keeps the kids busy for an hour and might result in an addition to our elite toddler art gallery.
6. Have a plan
My last tip kinda wraps everything up here. It would be to have a plan.
Once a week I start a new bullet journal page and write out the schedule for the week. Then I add in different outings we could do and craft stuff/games I have on hand to bring out each day. (more detail here)
Having a plan helps me go from being in a reactive mode to being in proactive mode. Way more chill.
AND A BONUS TIP!
I just need to add, that I get through with the help of my friends. A mom bestie (or lady posse if you are opening up your social circle) is really what gets me through the day!