I have three kids three and under at home with me during the day Monday – Friday right now. Let me tell you something, it’s no joke. My daughter and niece are just a month apart so combine them with my very loud and energetic three year old my days are extremely busy.
There are a few things that I have HAD to make a part of my life or I would quickly find myself drowning. It took a lot of trial and error to discover exactly what I needed to do to make my life a bit easier, but don’t worry, I am going to share those things with you today.
So, here are my survival tips for being home with tiny children all day.
Routine is your best friend. Just trust me on this one. I know that some of you like to go by the seat of your pants and you think that letting the kids dictate your time makes them happier, but let me just tell you doing it that way means you will never get anything done. Routine is good for kids! It helps them know what is expected of them. Not only that, but I truly believe routine helps your kids know their boundaries and develop an awareness for what needs to be done throughout the day.
Which leads me to number two, don’t do everything for your kids. Gasp! I know, right? Don’t do it all, enlist the help of your kids. Did you know my three year old has his own chore chart? He does! My 18 month old even has her own set of things she knows are expected of her to be done. Mama, you aren’t a maid. You’re a mom! Your job is to teach your kids responsibility, and that can start right there at home with you. Enlist their help, you’ll be happy you did! You can even make it fun!
Stimulate their brains. Sometimes the kids need something that makes them think a little. Even if it is ten minutes doing a puzzle, sorting blocks, reading a book, something that makes them think can make a world of difference in the day. I don’t know what it is or how it’s connected, but when we do some sort of school activity with Jase, his behavior is completely different. Boredom must just create chaos.
Get outside! When all else fails, get out for some fresh air. Sometimes I start to feel like I am going crazy. That’s when I get the kids shoes on, get them dressed appropriately, and kick them out the door…I mean I go with them. But goodness, get some fresh air mama! It’s medicine. So is sunshine. Get outside, run around, go for a walk, let the kids be kids!
Don’t expect yourself to do it all because you can’t. Don’t put this expectation on yourself that can never be reached. I am going to go ahead and tell you something and it’s going to hurt. You can’t keep everyone happy, you can’t be well rested, you can’t always cook healthy meals, your house is never going to be spotless, and someone is probably going to play in the toilet at least once this week….BUT it is okay! You aren’t super woman. You’re a mom and you’re human. Don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself or you will go crazy!
Surviving through those early years with small children doesn’t have to leave you barely above water. You truly can find a way to thrive during those times. Some days you’ll feel like you’re drowning, some days you’ll feel on top of the world, and most days you’ll realize you’re managing better than you thought. Because you are mama, you are doing a great job.
So take a deep breath and realize that you’re pretty awesome.