Once you have kids, you can’t go back to the way life was before they came along. Suddenly, those simple times when all you had to do was take care of yourself don’t look so difficult, do they?
While you can’t go back to those halcyon days (and when you look at those little faces you don’t want to), you can find ways to simplify your life, even with kids in it.
Sure, you can’t just wave a magic wand and make those piles of laundry fold themselves or snap your fingers and get your husband to actually clean up after himself, but there are ways to streamline your life to make it less complicated and more enjoyable.
It’s not impossible to bring more order into your world of organized chaos. These tips will help you simplify your life!
When you were single and on your own, you only had to worry about yourself. But whether you have one child or five children, you’ll need to prioritize. Taking on too much is overwhelming so just stop. Family should always be your top priority. After that, choose a few things that you feel are important and let go of the rest. You’ll feel instantly liberated when you do.
2.Teach your children well
The smaller they are, the needier they are. This much is true. But as your children grow, you can teach them the art of being self-sufficient. Of course, you’ll need to invest time into teaching them and suck it up with the patience, but the rewards are far greater in time when you’ve got little capable people running around your home. And you can use that to your advantage as they will soon do all those minute things you did for them all by themselves, like brush their own teeth or even make their own breakfast AND wash the dishes!
No matter how many kids you have, your family can benefit from a family calendar. On it, you can fill in the activities and commitments everyone has. That way at a glance, you can see that your husband is out of town the week of the 5th or that your daughter has her piano recital on the 28th. Put homework due dates, practices, and everything else on the calendar so everyone can see it. You can even do this electronically so long as everyone is responsible enough to check the calendar.
4.Make clean-up simple
In that self-sufficiency lesson you teach your kids, be sure to show them how to clean up. Even toddlers can do it, and if you keep things simple, you’ll find things stay cleaner longer. Enlist older siblings to set a good example and then get some storage bins. You can try to designate them for different types of toys, but even if they don’t get that organized, as long as all the toys get picked up and put into the bins each day, you’ve simplified your life with kids some more.
5.Prep for the morning in the evening
If your mornings are manic, you need to start incorporating this tip into your life immediately. Starting now, take 10 to 20 minutes in the evening to get everything ready for the morning. Bigger kids can do this themselves, but they’ll need you to help remind them initially until it becomes part of their nightly routine when getting ready for bed.
Get all backpacks loaded up with homework and the things they need for school. Have them get their uniform for the next day, and if you make lunches for your kids, you can even prep those too. That way, you may even have a chance to drink your coffee while it’s still hot.
6.Don’t make so many commitments
Our schedules can all get a little crazy. Whether it’s extracurricular activities or just stuffing weekends full of visits to play places and friend’s homes and water parks, you need to free up some time to do absolutely nothing. Your kids may initially complain they’re bored but children need to learn how to cope with boredom or they will become very unhappy adults some day. You don’t need to have constant entertainment happening in order for your kids to be happy. In fact, reducing your commitments will make the family feel less hurried and in the end, much happier.
7.Make time for each other
When you stop agreeing to every birthday party, every play date and every other time-consuming engagement, you’ll find you have more time for each other. It’s important you spend it doing something simple together. Go for a walk as a family. Take turns with your spouse in spending some one-on-one time with each kid, even if it’s just 10 minutes a week. And don’t forget to spend time with your spouse without the kids. You don’t need to spend a dime to do it either. Get creative with how you spend your time and you’ll find it’s the simple act of being together that is the most enjoyable of all.
And finally, in order to fully simplify your life now that it has kids in it, you’ve got to take the advice from the famed song in Frozen that your children have by now sang to you no less than one million times and just let it go sometimes. Life is messier, noisier and crazier with kids, but most of the time, they’re quite a blessing. But even during those times when they feel more like a curse, taking a deep breath and just letting go of the chaos and stress will set you free.