How to Put Yourself First When You’re a Mom

How to Put Yourself First When You’re a Mom

Moms do it all. Supermoms. Take care of everyone and all their needs. There’s just one thing moms aren’t so great at it… it’s learning how to put yourself first when you’re a mom.

How often do you pine for some alone time, but then it never quite pans out how you hoped? You finally get a few minutes alone, but you can’t enjoy it. It’s one thing to say it and another to figure out how to put yourself first when you’re a mom.

Something is nagging at you. It’s the mom guilt. Are the kids ok? Will they be mad at me because I’m spending time away from them? Is that babysitter really responsible enough? Are they missing me?

Tons of thoughts can flash through your mind, and it’s enough to prevent us from even taking rare breaks from momming to care for ourselves.

We also desperately want to figure out how to make sure we do get some time for ourselves. So here are three ways you can get past the momguilt and learn how to put yourself first when you’re a mom. 

1. Remind yourself WHY

Do I need to convince you that you need and deserve time for yourself? That you need to rest, restore, refuel, recharge?

Let’s go back to the oxygen mask theory so many discuss for a hot second.

When you are on an airplane, they instruct you that in case of emergency you should put on your own oxygen mask first before helping anyone else. The logic is simple. If you can’t breathe and end up passing out, you will not be able to help anyone. This is the same for moms.

Let me throw some stats at you now.

Moms on average get 17 minutes of alone time a day. That’s it. 

While there may be some men out there that struggle with getting alone time, it is clear that as moms we are so far in the hole with not getting enough alone time. (If you want to save some time, check out my favorite time saving products for moms here.)

We all know we need to take care of ourselves, but we look at it like it’s a luxury. Like a new car or a bigger house. It would be nice, but it’s not a necessity.

I’m here to tell you, it is. Failing to take care of yourself will have negative consequences for you AND your family. If you do not prioritize self-care and continue to allow yourself to be worn down by always prioritizing the needs of others over you, you will:

Be in poorer health – We know this already, right? If you don’t take care of yourself you’re more likely to be out of shape, eat bad foods, not sleep well, and the list goes on. We want to spend as much time as possible with our kids now, but if we are not taking good care of ourselves then we may not be around when they are older. Don’t we want to be in good shape when our grandkids are here to spoil?  

Be a worse mom – You know when you’re doing it. When your fuse is just so short that if your kid does one more thing you’re gonna flip? Then you inevitably end up yelling at them or your spouse? If you don’t take the time to get your mind right, you’re not good for anyone. Don’t you want to maximize the quality of the time you have with your kids? I’m sure they would prefer a well rested and happy mommy vs. a mombie, right? You know what a mombie is I’m sure, we’ve all experienced. If not, give it a google and peruse the multitude of memes. 

Let’s be real too. We are modeling the behavior we want our children to adopt. Do we want to teach them that it is ok to put yourself last? To always be exhausted and never take the time to enjoy life? To always be holding on by a thread?

No, of course not. We want them to learn to live life to it’s fullest, and that means sometimes you need to make your plate a little less full. 

Lose your sense of self – This is a tough one. You’ve seen all the memes about #momlife. How it’s messy hair, leggings, coffee, and Target? Well, it is totally true (at least for me). But it can cause some monotony in life. All of a sudden you look up and wonder, what happened to that spunky girl who kicked ass at pool and drank I.P.A.’s like they were water?  

So perhaps it’s not pool and beer for you, but I’m sure many of your priorities and habits have changed since having kids. In many ways, that’s a great thing! As a mom, I shouldn’t be out playing pool and drinking beer every night.

However, I do once in a while want to reconnect with the person that I was then. Yes, I am different now. More grown-up. More responsible, and generally an all-around better person. But there is still a piece of me that is a carefree and wild girl. Maybe instead of going out all the time I need to just pick one night of the week where my husband puts the baby to bed and I pour myself a glass of wine and listen to some classic rock on our back porch. 

For each of us, this is going to be different because we are all so unique. But what are a few things that you can do to reconnect with your pre-baby self? Choose them and prioritize them.

Here’s the truth. Don’t you want your kids to know the real you? I certainly do, and if I lose touch with her completely, they never will. 

So figure out YOUR WHY. What is driving you to get your alone time and why it is so important to you. If you can remember the reasons you need to learn how to put yourself first, then you will start being able to do it with more ease.

2. Don’t Fight the Mom Guilt

Feeling your feelings is key to being an emotionally mature and healthy person.

I will tell you that this is not easy and I spent a lot of time in therapy learning how to do it, but it is so important.

How often do we push our feelings down because we don’t have the time or energy to deal with them?

Yes, self-care is partially about physically resting so we can tackle the job of mom, but the most important piece is really your emotional well being.

That means that in an attempt to get alone time and put yourself first, you can’t just stomp down any guilty feelings you have for finally taking a stand for your own well being.

It is totally normal and natural for you to feel some twinges of guilt or even shame when you change things up.

This Friday, my husband and I are planning a night away from the kids, and I already feel these little pangs of guilt for leaving them with their grandmother just for one single night.

Instead of ignoring it, or just distracting myself with other obsessive thoughts, I let myself consider those feelings of guilt. I let myself just feel how it feels to accept the idea that I am guilty of something… then I just kind of let it go and think about whether those feelings are valid or if they’re based on some irrational fears.

At this point, let me take a few moments to tell you that you don’t HAVE to make big plans to leave your kids overnight, or even for long stretches of time.

This isn’t about you following some prescribed notions of what it means to put yourself first. YOU get to determine that, like we said above, this is about YOUR WHY, and what is best for you.

So if your mama bear instincts are truly telling you that you shouldn’t leave your children for some reason, then feel into that and see if it’s true.

But if you ignore your feelings that will only lead to more and more guilt and shame.

3. People can only shame you if you let them

Truth time. Some people are going to give you a hard time because you choose to figure out how to put yourself first.

It’s hard, but you have to find a way to deal with it.

There’s this misconception that in order to be a good mom, your kids need to be your #1 priority every single second of your life, and if it’s not then you’re a terrible person.

The truth is that in order to be a good mom, you need to put yourself first. You need to do your best to rest up to be 100%.

The people who will judge you for taking care of yourself are people who just don’t understand that. So don’t let them get under your skin. Feel pity for them because in terms of parenting they either don’t have kids and don’t get it, or they just haven’t learned this fact yet and are miserable. 

And here’s the thing… if you are sure of your own worth and value, then no one else’s opinion matters all that much. Perhaps your partners, a few close friends, and family members might be go-to people whose opinion you value, but for the most part, who the hell cares what Karen from the kids’ soccer team thinks about you?

You know what else? Although mom-shaming is totally a thing, many times we are preemptively shaming ourselves. Like we make up these stories in our heads about what other moms will say about us and then play that story on repeat until we metaphorically beat the fight out of ourselves.

So stop that.

It’s just like that Eleanor Roosevelt quote, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Well, no one can shame you without your consent, even yourself.

Next time you catch yourself in one of those shame loops. Just stop. Once you start noticing it, you can pull yourself out pretty easily.

It isn’t our nature as moms to put yourself first, but it CAN be done. The most resistance will be from yourself and learning how to put yourself first might not come easily, but you can do it mama!

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3 Simple Ways to Be a Mindful Mom

It is so easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out as a mom, am I right? The easiest way to combat it is to become more present and a more mindful mom to ditch the stress and chill the F out.

What does it even mean to be a mindful mom? Glad you asked. Let’s talk about how learning to practice mindfulness in your life has incredible benefits and it has personally helped me do everything from battle depression to quit smoking to totally rock motherhood.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is basically to be aware of and IN the present moment.

But to get a little deeper, according to the Oxford dictionary, mindfulness is: “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”

Why is mindfulness important?

Mindfulness has been shown to decrease stress, help relationships, increase cognitive function, and be less emotionally reactive.

It’s so easy to get caught inside your own mind, inside negative thinking patterns, and lose touch with what is really going on in your world. Mindfulness helps you to get out of those thought patterns and more in touch with yourself and the world around you.

How mindfulness helps you be a chill mom (instead of angry mom)

You know how those little wildlings will just push that button of yours one too many times until you finally snap and yell at them? (We’ve all been there, many times…)

Practicing mindfulness helps you to control your responses to stress and your emotions. So instead of being ruled by your emotions, and the whims of tiny ones, you are in control.

So let’s dive into 3 simple ways to can be a more mindful mom. These are simple practices I use in my daily life that help me to be in the moment, let go of stress and worry, and be more present with my kids.

1. Slow down and focus on the little things

My kids eat an unbelievable amount of grapes. I think it’s collectively the favorite food in my home, and like any mom paranoid about safety, I quarter the grapes.

This means I spent a lot of my time standing at my kitchen island, quartering grapes.

I used to rush the process, just trying to get that task done so I could move onto something else from my to-do list.

But now, I take my time. I feel the way the squishy grapes feel under my fingers. I try to empty my mind of anything else besides the menial and simple task of cutting up grapes.

For many of us, sitting down and meditating for even a few minutes a day seems daunting or confusing. But just simply focusing completely on one small task that we do regularly is simple enough, right?

Think about one small task that you do daily that you can set as your time to get yourself present and let go of the day’s worries.

2. Use routines with your kids to be more “in the moment”

How often are you playing with your kids, reading them a book, going for a walk, or doing a million other little things with your kids, but your mind is a million miles away. Usually, thinking about all the things you need to get done, right?

Our brains need a break, mama.

I’ve created little pockets of time throughout the day and week for me to just be with my kids without worry about what I “should” be doing. The beauty of it is because I have crafted it into our routines, it IS what I “should” be doing. So it is easier to let go of everything else and just be there fully with them, embracing being a mindful mom.

For example, each morning I do a “circle” time with my kids. It is simple, consisting of singing a couple of little songs and reading some books, maybe a little lesson.

During this time I am doing nothing but completely engaging in these activities WITH my kids. So not only am I getting the benefit of being totally in the moment and present, but my kids are too!

So often we are distracted when our kids are vying for our attention. Creating time in your day/week to just be with them without anything else filling your mind is one of the best things you can do for them.

3. Detox from tech

Ever pick up your phone to check the weather, and 15 minutes later your deep into IG, and you didn’t even open the weather app?

Me too.

It happens.

We get easily distracted. I mean… our phones and the apps on them are specifically designed to distract us and trap us in them for as long as possible.

It’s not you, it’s them.

But there is something you can do about it.

Delete the apps from your phone and block the websites from your browser.

I am not so great at moderation. For me, I sometimes need to go cold turkey and completely abstain from something I am trying to cut back on, at least for a time.

I found that I was getting so caught up in Facebook. Not only was I spending too much time on the site scrolling mindlessly, but I was also letting it get to me psychologically and emotionally.

Of course, there is the comparison to others, but also, I had all these other people’s thoughts and ideas inside of my head, it was hard to discern what was mine and what was their’s from a post I read 5 minutes ago.

So I ditched it all.

I do check in on my blog pages and profiles, but I don’t do the scroll anymore. Feeds are off-limits to me. And I am SO MUCH HAPPIER AND PRESENT.

This is by far the BEST thing I have done to be a more mindful mom and get super present in my daily life.

Do what works for you

These are the three simple things I’ve done in my life to be a more mindful mom, but maybe you have other ideas? I’d love to hear what works for you to get rid of the mom stress, be more present, mindful, and happy.

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6 Types of Self Care Moms Need to Know About

Did you know there are different types of self care? Yeah… me neither. But identifying them is actually REALLY important to understand how to take care of your whole being.

There are 6 types of self-care, in general. Some will claim 5, and some 7, but for me, this list feels intuitively correct. I based this list on my research and just what I’ve found works best for me and my own personal self care practices.

For a long time I thought about self care from a mostly physical perspective. You know, bubbles baths, massages, etc. But as time went on I felt like that didn’t really resonate for me and my needs. At first, I wanted to throw the whole concept of self care away as something shallow and made up even.

But I couldn’t shake the reality that something just wasn’t adding up for me. I just felt bad. Even when life was going well, something just always felt off.

When I put 2+2 together to equal 4, I realized that I had been neglecting entire areas of self care because I really just didn’t even know they existed under the umbrella of self care.

I’ll share more from personal experience on what the types of self care mean in real life, but first let’s start listing and defining them.

1. Physical Self Care

This to me means taking care of your physical needs. Physical self care is all about ensuring that your body is working properly.

It’s similar to the way you take care of your car. Take it to the shop, get the oil changed, rotate the tires, clear out any garbage, wipe down the surfaces, sweep up those crumbs on the floor, and then take it through the car wash. Did I mention making sure it’s properly fueled up?

Your body is your vehicle in this life, and you should take at least as good of care of your body as your car. Physical self care is one of the most obvious and basic types of self care, but so many times is still neglected.

Examples of physical self care:

  • Exercise, like taking a walk, doing yoga, or going to the gym
  • Eating healthy, lots of fruits and veggies, drink lots of water
  • Taking a shower, washing your hair, having a skincare routine

2. Emotional Self Care

To put it basically, this is all about feeling your feelings and honoring them.

Sounds simple, right?

Not so fast. This is something so many people struggle with nowadays because being emotional and being connected to your feelings isn’t really seen as something to cultivate in our society.

Instead, we are many times taught to push our feelings down for many reasons, including survival and trauma. At some point in our life our experiences taught us it was safer to not feel.

Those instincts might have served us once, but now as adults it is usually harmful, leading to depression and anxiety. Of the types of self care, this one can be the hardest to navigate without help.

Examples of Emotional Self Care

  • Therapy (I love BetterHelp for virtual counselling)
  • Learning how to do shadow work
  • Identify ways to help you let your feelings out like watching a sappy movie

3. Social Self Care

As a mom, life can become so isolated. I spend most of my time with tiny humans, and the only person I regularly interact with is my husband.

The internet and social media do allow us to connect more frequently than we would without it, but sometimes that also leads to us replacing real social interaction with a cheap imitation.

Practicing social self care is know yourself and how much social interaction you need to feel whole. Perhaps one outing a month is enough, or maybe you need drinks with the girls every Thursday night.

The key is to know yourself, but also push yourself a little to get out of the funk that can happen when we become too isolated and lonely.

Examples of Social Self Care

  • Going out with friends
  • Meeting up with a new hobby group
  • Have a date night

4. Mental Self Care

Time to exercise your brain. Get creative. Learn something new.

When I was a kid, I loved to try out new skills and hobbies all the time. One thing I did was learn calligraphy, but kind of forgot about it way back in about 1996.

With the trendiness and popularity of hand lettering I figured it was time to pick it back up, and I have to say that just the few days I’ve spent doodling around in a notebook has been incredibly rewarding!

This is about caring for that part of you that is your mind, whether that is about your logical mind or creative mind.

Examples of Mental Self Care

  • Play Sudoku or do a crossword puzzle
  • Pick up a new hobby
  • Paint, draw, sing, take photos, be creative

5. Practical Self Care

This is one of my favorite types of self care to talk about right now!

The reason the idea of practical self care and learning how to master it is fascinating to me because to be honest… I suck at it.

For a wide range of reasons, I am not so great at doing the super practical things I need to ensure that I am happy, healthy, and prosperous. For example, I neglected going to the dentist so long that a simple cavity turned into a root canal.

I’ve been late on paying bills for absolutely no reason and overdrawn bank accounts just because I am missing the gene that makes me awesome at adulting.

BUT, just like any skill, it CAN be learned.

The first step though is just getting it on your radar and making the intention to be more proactive and responsible when it comes to your practical self care as one of the types of self care.

Examples of Self Care

  • Making a doctor appointment
  • Paying your bills
  • Remembering to sign up for health insurance

6. Spiritual Self Care

At first, I wasn’t really sure how this differed from emotional self care, but then I realized what it is.

Emotional self care is about connecting to your own feelings.

Spiritual self care is about connecting to something greater than yourself.

You don’t have to be super religious to include this as one of the types of self care you practice. In fact, you could be an atheist and keep this in your repertoire.

This isn’t about having any specific spiritual practice, but rather figuring out what works best for you to help you feel more connected to God, Goddess, Source, Universe, Nature, Science… whatever you feel helps you feel at peace in a place that connects you to the rest of the world as a whole.

Examples of Spiritual Self Care:

  • Meditation, prayer, ritual
  • Going to church, temple, a walk in the woods
  • Look at the night sky, or stand on the edge of the ocean

Make the types of self care work for you

Each person, including you, is an individual. We all have unique needs and sets of life circumstances. What helps one person might not help the other.

But I would challenge you to look at these areas and determine what they mean to you. How can you create practices and rituals with these types of self care in mind so you can live your best life?

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Been counting down the days the end of pregnancy to finally pop a bottle of your fav rosé and celebrate? But you might be wondering, is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding, we have your answer.

There’s a lot of misinformation about consuming alcohol while breastfeeding that gets moms asking is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding. Most breastfeeding moms wonder:

Can I drink at all? Should I pump and dump? Could it harm my baby? 

Reasonable questions, and I’m here to give you some answers.

The general rule I use and many moms recommend is simple. If you’re sober enough to drive, you’re sober enough to breastfeed. But why?

Let’s dive into the research.

(Just as quick disclaimer that you can always check with your medical providers, though an IBCLC would probably be the most knowledgable on the subject. I am not a doctor and this is just my personal opinion based on my research and experience breastfeeding three babies.)

How much alcohol can transfer to breastmilk?

According to Kelly Mom, less than 2% of alcohol consumed by a mom reaches her bloodstream and her milk. The alcohol enters and leaves your breastmilk at the same rate it enters and leaves your blood.

But even if you’ve been drinking pretty heavily, the concern about breastfeeding while drunk is really more about whether you’re in a proper state to be parenting at the moment vs. the alcohol that you could be passing to your baby. The amount of alcohol that actually gets into your baby’s bloodstream is pretty minute. 

A Slate article breaks down the math for us. They figured if a 150-pound mom drinks 4 glasses of wine and then breastfeeds a 13-pound baby while she is at her drunkest point, her baby’s blood alcohol level would be 0.0038 percent. That equals about the same amount that would be in the mother’s bloodstream if she drank 1.5oz of Bud Light.

They point out that there are actually higher concentrations of alcohol in some fruit juices, due to fermentation than in the breastmilk of a tipsy mom.  

To pump and dump or not?

NO.

The only reason to pump and dump or even pump and save your milk would be for your comfort or to keep up supply while you might be away from the baby.

Because alcohol leaves your milk at the same rate that it leaves your blood, all the milk you produce while you are still feeling the effects of alcohol, or have alcohol in your blood, will still be present in the milk.

But that alcohol will leave the milk as it leaves your bloodstream. So just waiting it out is the only way to ensure there isn’t any alcohol in your milk if you are worried about that.

Reasons to worry about drinking and breastfeeding

A couple of things to keep in mind.

One factor to keep in mind when wondering is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding is the age of your baby. A newborn doesn’t have as mature of a liver and has a harder time breaking down alcohol. So if your baby is teeny or maybe premature and you have reason to believe that could be less tolerant of anything in your breastmilk, you can always be extra cautious and steer clear.

The other thing to think about is basically whether you’re drunk. Are you too drunk to be parenting? If you are, then you should probably steer clear of breastfeeding as well because you just aren’t clear or coherent enough to care for a baby.

That’s the reason most stick to the advice that if you’re sober enough to drive you can breastfeed. If you can drive then you are certainly sober enough to parent and feed your child. Plus, if you do have any lingering concerns over the alcohol transferring to your milk, then sticking to just one or two drinks can help ease your mind.

And just a reminder, if you a pregnant, alcohol goes directly to the baby and isn’t filtered out through the milk. Big difference there. As to whether it is ok for pregnant women to occasionally indulge is another topic, but chugging down four glasses of wine surely wouldn’t be a great idea during pregnancy.  

So, is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding? The conclusion.

The bottom line is, it is ok to indulge moderately and still breastfeed your baby.

If you want to be cautious, just wait until you sober up a bit before nursing. No need to pump and dump unless you’re away from baby and need to for your own comfort.  

Of course, I am not a doctor and always advise moms to do their own research and/or talk to their pediatrician. For me personally, I have drunk alcohol while breastfeeding all three of my babies with no ill effects.

While the recommendations seem a bit mixed based on who you ask, the question of is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding is settled in my mind. The answer is… mostly yes. If you can drive, you can nurse.

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I used to fly by the seat of my pants. No schedule, no rhythm, no routine. But when I switched to a consistent daily routine with kids, my life got so much easier.

Any seasoned mom will tell you a daily routine with kids is really important. I had a somewhat loose routine that I followed when it was just me and my firstborn, but it wasn’t until my twins reached toddlerhood that the need for a consistent daily routine was clear.

The thing is, the routine wasn’t just for the kids, it was actually mostly for me as a way to keep my sanity intact with three wildlings 4 and under running amuck.

I was so stressed out.

I felt like I was untethered. Like I was just being blown about by the winds of parenting without any structure to my life.

We had kind of loose rhythms that we followed. Basically we woke up, napped, and went to bed about the same time every day. But besides that? It was all up in the air.

Sure, the scheduled activities like swim class or ballet class were consistent, but even something as simple as dinnertime varied from day-to-day.

Before having kids, the idea of a schedule or daily routine seemed so confining and boring! I even kind of made fun of the idea in my mind when I first had a kid. I thought those moms who had strict schedules were kind of… well… over the top. It all just seemed so unnecessary.

Whenever I tried to implement a more consistent routine, my daughter, the consummate free spirit, would throw a fit, and I let that deter me. I just went with the flow and the path of least resistance.

Sometimes that works in motherhood, and other times you have to just push through your child’s resistance because on the other side is a much happier life for the entire family.

My current daily routine with kids is still pretty fresh, and I’m still working to flesh out what works the best for us as well as continue to add new pieces to test them. But after some initial rebellion over a more structured day, we have settled into a much more peaceful existence. (As much as that is possible with two 2-year-olds and a 4-year-old. Thoughts and prayers are welcome. lol.)

The Daily Routine with Kids that’s Working for Us Now.

The first thing to note about our daily routine. I do not put times on our routine. This is for a few reasons.

Each day we might have a slightly different schedule due to different activities, appointments or lessons that we have scheduled outside the home. So instead of having different schedules or routines based on what we are doing which day, I just have the daily routine with kids set up in a way that allows us to just cut an element short or skip it entirely if need be.

I think of our routine in three main blocks. The morning, afternoon, and evening. For the most part, each block begins with a meal, except breakfast which begins with the normal waking up tasks like brushing teeth and getting dressed.

My kids love food, and making sure they have full bellies ensures the next parts of the routine go smoothly and aren’t interrupted by too many snack requests.

I also incorporate small circle times and lessons for my kids. We “homeschool.” I put that in quotes because my kids aren’t in school yet. My eldest won’t be in kindergarten until next year, but I wanted to begin to instill the habits we will need for homeschooling now.

Without further ado, here is our daily routine:

  • Wake up
  • Get dressed
  • Brush teeth
  • Have breakfast
  • Daily list of chores/lessons (really basic list for my older child)
  • Circle time, reading time, and any lessons/crafts/projects we are working on
  • Playtime
  • Snack
  • Naptime
  • Lunch
  • Outdoor Play/Walk
  • Snack
  • Playtime
  • Dinner
  • Get ready for bed
  • Relaxing play (no TV’s, quiet time)
  • Small snack if they need it
  • Bedtime for Twins (daughter usually plays for about an hour longer than the twins before going to bed)

3 keys to keep in mind when creating your routine.

Let’s get into the three things that are most important to creating a daily routine with kids that will actually be helpful and not stressful. In the past, I’ve tried to implement routines that just turned into a hot mess, and other times it was like a charm.

These three keys will help you craft and implement a rhythm in your day that gives a sense of calm and peace that is kind of magical if you can nail this daily routine with kids.

1. Follow your child’s/children’s lead

This is so important! The biggest reason for my attempts at having a routine or schedule before this was because I was basically imposing a pseudo-arbitrary routine on my kid/s that didn’t really fit for them.

Whenever I try to force too much onto my kids and pull them outside of their natures it doesn’t work out well.

The ideal way to structure your day is to be super observant of your children. Watch for their cues. Are there times when they get extra cranky? Is it because they are hungry? Tired? Overstimulated?

That is why I focus on creating rhythms and routines instead of schedules.

I try to see what my kids are naturally doing and maybe just nudge them here and there.

I also love following the Waldorf idea of thinking of your day as in and out-breaths. Children (and adults too) need time to be calm, chill, relaxed, introspective, thoughtful, creative, and then time to blow off steam, play, run, jump, sing, and dance.

The daily routines should reflex the natural in and out-breaths of the child/ren, and yourself.

2. Consistency + Flexibility

I can be so tempting to backslide into chaos.

Truly creating new habits and routines can be really hard at first, especially for tiny ones who don’t even really grasp the concept of times and schedules yet.

Being consistent is so important when you first start implementing a daily routine with kids.

As much as kids might be independent and want to do things the way they want without being told by a grown-up, they actually thrive with some amount of structure and routine.

When my daughter asks what day it is and I answer “Friday,” she then asks, “But what does that mean?

She doesn’t yet associate days of the week with specific activities. Instead, she knows that certain activities follow others. So she might not know that she has swim on Mondays, music on Tuesdays, and ballet on Wednesday, but she does know that the day after swim is music and the day after that is ballet.

See what I mean?

This is why routines are so important. They give kids cues about what happens next in their lives so the transition between things on the agenda can be smoother.

Ironically the other aspect of creating your daily routine with kids is to also be flexible.

First, they’re kids. Meltdowns happen, colds happen, shit (literally) happens.

But also you want to give them the space to explore. So if for example, my kids are deep into some amazing playtime then I am more than willing to delay the next step in the routine as long as possible. Or if my kids are just miserable one day and we need a change of pace, I’ll swap playtime for a walk or a trip to the local petting zoo to get some new energy going.

I don’t stick to the routine no matter what just because it’s the routine.

The routine is there to provide some structure, and in general, you want to be consistent, but you also have to look at what it’s happening in front of you at the time and make a game-time decision sometimes.

3. Don’t forget your own needs too

When I crafted my first routine with the kids, it was our morning routine, and I made the decision that I would do it with my own needs in mind first.

So often we put our own self-care on the backburner because well… #momminainteasy. But if you can actually put your self-care into your daily routine with kids, it will ensure that you are taken care of too.

My morning routine (and daily routine) is constantly evolving, but in all iterations, I ensure the first thing I do (assuming there’s not a diaper explosion or sibling fight happening) is something for myself.

For example, when I wake up in the morning now, I get myself dressed, teeth brushed and ready for the day. Then I get all the kids downstairs, take my vitamins, drink a big glass of water, and get water on the stove to make my tea.

Once those basic necessities are done for myself, I then tend to the children barring any emergencies that might come up. Most time though, the kids are happy to play quietly first thing in the morning while I take care of myself.

Before I would spend all day in pajamas and if we needed to leave the house for something I would just throw on clothes quickly and do one of those superfast tooth brushings while dumping some coffee in a to-go mug. If I didn’t take care of myself first, it wouldn’t get done or just barely get done.

I have taken this approach with our entire schedule too.

Within the big routine, I shared above are tiny routines. I used to just throw together something for the kids to eat at mealtimes and let them chow down while I catch up on my email or some other not so important task.

Our new routine is that I actually fix myself a plate and sit down and eat with my kids. Not only does this help them focus on their meals more, but it’s also a real break for me. I get to sit down and have a yummy (and hot!) meal with my kids. It’s super rewarded and nourishing to my soul.

So please please please. Don’t ONLY think of the kids. Make sure you are taking your own needs and priorities into account when crafting your daily routine with kids.

Creating a daily routine with kids can ease a lot of the stress that comes along with momlife, but it should be done in a thoughtful way that works for you and your children.

I’ve seen tons of posts on Pinterest with various moms claiming to have the perfect daily routine for kids that will work every time. But I’m just gonna say I don’t buy it. All kids are different, all families are different, and all moms are different.

Some kids are cranky AF if they don’t get to sleep by 7pm, and others are happy to party all night. Some kids still take two naps a day and some are taking none. Some moms like to go out and extroverted, and some would rather just be homebodies chilling with the kids.

Do what works for your family.

These keys should help you create a daily routine with kids that DOES work for you, and honors the needs of you and your kids too.

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