It’s safe to say that mom life is never boring. Millions of moms around the world battle the everyday struggle of simply finding time to “do it all” — myself included. However, even on those darkest days when you just want to give up and binge on Netflix, there’s a way to balance being a stay-at-home mom and finding time for yourself.
Of course, there’s no secret “key” to being able to balance everything. If there were, we’d have all unlocked that door by now, right? When it comes to finding work-life balance, it takes patience and understanding of your true goals. And if you work from home, and you have little ones in the home during the workday? That combo can add a few extra stresses and hurdles for sure.
I’m happy to share the tidbits of knowledge that I’ve accumulated over the years on how to balance yourself and your kids. What works for me may not work for all — but I can say that if you’re stressed now, any steps forward on a different path can help.
1. Make a real schedule.
I know, I know. Schedules can be tedious and draining… I get it. But, this is where you need to think differently. Make a schedule that actually fits your lifestyle. If you know that you’re going to get sidetracked during the day, create your daily schedule to accommodate that. For me, this is the only way I can manage a home, three kids and running my blog.
Planning on eating lunch at noon? Write that into your schedule. But instead of giving yourself 30 minutes to sit down and eat, pencil in an hour — just in case. If you allow yourself a bit of wiggle room in your schedule, you automatically don’t feel as stressed. And when you don’t feel as stressed, things just tend to go a bit more smoothly. Be sure to pencil in some time for things you enjoy throughout the day — whether that means taking a 30-minute break to watch your favorite show, or making a quick call to your friend while you clean the kitchen. And when your schedule of tasks is over for the day, stop there. Don’t you dare try to clean another thing. Let yourself rest.
2. Use your phone for something other than scrolling through Facebook.
More than likely, your cell phone probably isn’t very far from you this very moment. Most people know where it is at all times, and are constantly grabbing it, playing on it or just scrolling and wasting time.
And while I won’t ask you how much time per day you spend on in Internet searching and scrolling, I will ask you to change your mindset about your phone. Instead of looking at your phone as an escape, look at your phone as a tool to help you stay on track. Phones are helpful in so many ways, and we often tend to forget their true function. Your phone can help you balance everything. It’s crazy simple.
For example, if you know that you need to do one load of laundry every single day, but somehow it never happens, your phone is there to help. Set an alarm to put a load of laundry in at 8 a.m., and another alarm at 9 a.m. to move it to the dryer. Boom. Just like that, you got a friendly reminder from your phone and you’re on track (now, folding… that can be a whole other alarm on its own). Keep setting those alarms throughout the day, and soon enough, you’ll start to notice that your mind will create a routine that you don’t even have to think about. Plus, knowing you got your tasks done during the day means more peace at night when you have time for some TLC. No one wants to think about their dirty dishes during a bubble bath.
3. Outsource, outsource, outsource.
As a mom, you’re always busy. You have a million little and big things to do. The best tip I can give you: If you can afford it, outsource the things that you don’t enjoy doing. For me, that’s grocery shopping. Loading three small kids into the minivan to find the best deals at Aldi was a marathon, to say the least. I would come home utterly exhausted. Since I found InstaCart, a grocery shopping app, I haven’t been in a grocery store in months. It is well worth the small additional fee to save my sanity and time. Remember: Balancing it all doesn’t mean doing it all yourself. Getting rid of some tasks means more time and energy to take care of yourself.
4. Define your physical and mental limits; then, stick to them.
I’m a firm believer that when you’re mentally healthy, it has a direct positive effect on your work-life balance. The longer that you run around and wear yourself out without giving yourself time to rest, the more crazy and chaotic your home life will be. That chaos leaves you with less time to take care of yourself. The moment that you understand your mental and physical limits as a mom, you’ll find a much more effective manner to do everything.
I understand that giving yourself time every day to relax may not be possible if you have a little tribe of children keeping you busy. But try to ask for help when you can — so you can collect yourself and be a strong mom again.
5. Make your happiness a priority.
When it comes to finding balance, you need to remember to factor in your own happiness and personal growth. Our minds are beautiful things, and it’s important to take care of them. No matter when you choose to do so, do something for yourself and your own peace of mind daily, even if you start with only five minutes. You’ll be amazed at how much more energized you feel. More than likely, your work-life balance will start to show improvements as well.
This article originally appeared on Fairygodboss. As the largest career community for women, Fairygodboss provides millions of women with career connections, community advice and hard-to-find intel about how companies treat women.