We’ve made it a week at home with our newborn! We definitely don’t have it all figured out, but I’ve still come up with 10 Rules for a Thriving (Not Just Surviving) Life with Kids (and a Newborn) in this sponsored post with SheSpeaks/Walmart.
Since I’ve had so much time to sit still, while nursing (I forget how often newborns eat… all day long, around the clock!), I’ve been thinking about what our new rhythm as a family of six will look like and what is really a priority. Yes, I am the type of person that tends to cringe at the site of laundry piling up and if it’s been too long since the floors have been vacuumed I get an involuntary tick, so maybe my priorities are a bit different than yours. In the scope of life with kids, those things are still a priority to me, but they aren’t THE important things in our life, in fact they’ve fallen quite a bit lower on the priority list.
So I decided to make a little list. A priority list perhaps. Maybe it’s a list of tips… whatever you want to call it, for now I’ve deemed it ten rules for a thriving life with kids; not just surviving motherhood, but ways to take care of ourselves while we take care of our families and help to find balance in it all. Also, notice I said help to find balance in it all, there is no “10 step program” for being a perfect mom or always having the right balance, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t thrive where we are, planted and blooming, maybe covered in spit up, but blooming none-the-less.
I’m notoriously a breakfast skipper, and not because I don’t want it, it’s actually one of my favorite meals! Sometimes I just get caught up in starting the day, feeding my kids, starting a load of laundry, making the bed, getting dressed (hopefully getting a shower), etc, that I can forget to eat. I know it sounds absurd… but I even had a friend text me recently (after she had her second child) to tell me that she used to think it was crazy that I could ever “forget” to eat, and then her second came, and it would be midway through the day and she’d realize her breakfast was still on the counter, untouched. She was forgetting to eat. It happens, but keeping ourselves nourished and fueled for the day is SO important. I’m working on this one, and getting so much better! (Smoothies are my jam!)
Relax Over the Mess
Yep, I said it. This is a tough one for me, I physically feel more relaxed when there isn’t a mess or clutter around me. So, of course, I still prefer to get up and get my bed made. I like to have a few quick 5 minutes sessions a day where I run through for a quick pickup/cleanup, but with four little ones, I’ve learned to let it go. We all pitch in, we do it together… but life isn’t made up of a cleaned up home, it’s made of moments and memories. What will they remember, what makes us happy as a family? It definitely is a balance because I’m happier with a cleaned up home, but I’m learning that cleaned up doesn’t mean perfection, and that is something I can relax over.
Drink Plenty of Water
Staying hydrated is SO important. It keeps us healthy, curbs headaches, can supply energy (being dehydrated is so draining), and more! So whatever you do, make sure to have a water bottle or cup filled and ready to sip or slurp. And same goes for the kids! Dehydration leads to so many symptoms, including crankiness.
Spend Uninterrupted Time With the Kids
I know I’m not the only one… I say I’m going to play and end up on the floor with phone in hand. Or decide to watch a movie with the kids while folding laundry and picking up the living room. There is nothing wrong with multitasking, and in fact, every mom ends up getting really good at it, but it’s also imperative that we spend real time with our kids each day, even if just for 20-30 minutes. It’ll seem like a lot at first, but those are the moments they really remember. Maybe it’s playing a game or reading a book together, but we can all find ways to avoid the electronics and other distractions and connect with each other for a few minutes each day… and yes, we’ll have to ignore the crumbs on the floor while we’re doing it.
Keep Snack Available (ALWAYS)
I don’t know about your family, but every single person in mine gets hangry, nut just hungry, but hangry. So, whether we’re heading out of the house for the day, or staying in, having protein filled snacks available and on hand is a huge deal, both for myself and for the kids.
Go With Their Flow
I can tend to be task oriented. I know what I need to get done and I plan to relax once it’s completed, but kids have taught me a whole different ebb and flow, like enjoying the process. Am I always up for their flow? Absolutely not. But sometimes I think, why am I in a hurry? Is getting loud and rushing them to find their shoes really going to help? Is telling them to not have any fun while helping me fold laundry going to make them desire to do this task with me again? Yes, chores and responsibilities are necessary, but so is allowing some time to let our speeds and agendas collide (in a good way). Let them pick a weed for you on your way into the store. Let them finish their story before putting on shoes. Let them know they’re important, too.
Tackle Laundry Every Other Day
This is something that for me is so practical, and yet so helpful! With four kids, there is SO much laundry… and waiting for one day a week to do it all (like I used to) is laughable. Then I went to attempting one load a day, which was better, but still felt stressful or like I had to. Now, if I can get a load or two in every other day or so, we stay on top of it. The other great thing? We’ve taught our older kids how to wash their own clothes, so they are now helping with the load (pun intended 😉 ) Maybe staying up on laundry isn’t as important to you, that’s okay! Insert your own list item here instead.
Avoid the Oops
We’ve all had an oops moment (or two, or two thousand), like the time after having my third when I ended up at the store and looked down to realize that my third child had no pants on. Yes, I forgot his pants. Luckily I was at a store where I could purchase a pair, but the realization that I had become the mom that takes her kids out in public in a diaper was a definite “oops” moment for me. Or what about those middle of the night diaper changes when you find out you’re out of diapers and have to find a way to make-shift it!?! Oh that’s just me? My bad. Thankfully we can #avoidtheoops moments and delegate shopping for necessities while stocking up on diapers, wipes, laundry detergent, toilet paper, dish soap and just about any other consumable home necessity with AvoidtheOpps.com at Walmart, at the same low prices and free shipping for orders over $50… which means no more schlepping multiple children through the store (sometimes pants-less) to fill a cart with big boxes of diapers and packages of paper towel to lug home. Now, I only have to schlep as far as my front door to get it all. 😉
Wear Them Out
Find ways, every day, to let them get their wiggles out. You may not need to run laps in order to get to sleep (we already feel like we ran a marathon at the end of every day right?), but our kids have to get it all out. Have a dance party, let them race, go outside, whatever you do, find ways to burn their energy and you’ll be rewarded with an easier nighttime routine.
Ask for Help
This is one that has taken me awhile to allow to happen in my life, and it’s still not something that comes easily or naturally, but I’m getting better at it! My mom has been in town to help (especially since we have a move coming up next month!), and it’s been so great with a newborn, three other kids and packing to have help. I’ve also learned that it’s okay to ask for help from my husband and kids. They are amazing at working together, and sometimes they just don’t know what’s on my mind or what I need until I ask. Have you ever been upset that something wasn’t done… and yet you never asked for help in getting it done in the first place? Our ideas, agendas and goals aren’t always the same, even under the same roof, but if it’s important to you, it’s alright to ask for help in getting it done. This even comes in the form of help from friends, delivery services (again, “avoid the oops” and order it ahead of time), cleaning help, teaching your kids their way around the kitchen (a huge help!), etc. And you know what? The rest… just let it go. Sometimes you do what you can, you call in reinforcements… and sometimes, you let it go and enjoy your family knowing tomorrow will be another day, but they are here for you to love on, breathe in and soak up right now.
Join the Conversation
What about you? If you think about it, what is important to you or what tips do you have to share with us? I encourage you to take a few minutes to write down some ways you can take care of yourself, because as we do, we become better caretakers ourselves. Your list may look a little different than mine, and that’s okay. So, this week, even if it comes before vacuuming or making sure dishes are clean, find some ways to take care of YOU. I know, it’s easier said than done. I hope you do it though, and let me know how it goes! And I know we’ve all had an “oops” moment before… What’s one of yours? I’m not the only one right?!
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