Sunday, October 28, 2012

37 Tips for Frazzled Moms

I was feeling overwhelmed and discouraged the other day and forced myself to sit down and make a master list of everything I've been meaning to do to help make my life run more smoothly. I don't know how long it's going to take me to tackle the entire list (#29 accidentally became the first "done"), but I hope it's before Pie turns 18 in 2027.

Thanks to all the mom bloggers who provided inspiration for this list. You seriously keep me sane.

37 Things I Think Would Help
  1. Being able to reflect/collect my thoughts first thing in the morning before the whining/demanding starts
  2. Exercising in the morning by myself (treadmill or yoga)
  3. Having designated shower days/times
  4. Having everyone's outfits picked out the night before
  5. Knowing what I was going to make for breakfast
  6. Having "breakfast boxes" on the bottom shelf of the fridge (ideally for the kids to get themselves)
  7. Knowing more quick/healthy breakfast options that the boys will eat
  8. Making a daily to do list (with or without pictures)
  9. Having a more organized shoe/coat situation
  10. Making checklists for the boys with morning routine tasks (potty, get dressed, eat, play, shoes/coat, etc.)
  11. Having a plan to deal with begging for treats throughout the day without having to argue
  12. Planning lunch/snack options in advance
  13. Making the boys do chores (collect dirty dishes, put back pillows/cushions, clean up toys, scrub floors)
  14. Having a chore schedule for myself
  15. Making a daily schedule for myself (with designated laundry/dishes/meal prep times)
  16. Making a weekly schedule for myself for school hours (meal prep, cleaning, phone calls, nap)
  17. Enforcing rest/quiet time for Pie (and myself)
  18. Making a calendar with designated "I get to choose/I get to go first" days for each boy
  19. Having "busy bag" or "file folder"-type activities on hand for when I'm working in the kitchen
  20. Making an "Okay, Mom" reward chart
  21. Figuring out how to teach the boys not to interrupt/take turns speaking
  22. Talking in a quiet voice when I get angry
  23. Extinguishing tantrums the John Rosemond way
  24. Running or kicking a ball around
  25. Going outside more
  26. Playing with/enjoying the boys instead of worrying
  27. Scheduling one-on-one time with each kid
  28. Knowing in advance what was for dinner
  29. Enforcing "The Kitchen Hour" for myself
  30. Feeling less defeated about pleasing everybody at dinner (make what I want instead of worrying about everyone else)
  31. Making rules about daily milk and juice consumption
  32. Making the boys get their own drinks
  33. Serving a bedtime snack/milk every night
  34. Making a tradition/routine of checking the weather with the boys and planning tomorrow's outfit
  35. Having "candle time" (a quiet reflection/meditation time…maybe with the bedtime snack)
  36. Starting bedtime earlier…or prescribe an "end time" with the Time Timer
  37. Making husband do bedtime a couple times a week


  1. This is a great list! I love it! Pretty ambitious, but in small doses, I think it's aweseome :) We do some of these things, more out of necessity, than out of me thinking them out in a list. Because our girls are so close in age, they have just always had to help with dishes, chores, etc. We did implement designated Saturday AM chores when my oldest turned 5. That's been really good.

    You've inspired me to think over a list of things with my husband. I think off the top of my head, I will definitely be taking a few of yours, including "talking in a quiet voice when I'm angry" (is that possible? for real? HA!) and I'm going to have to (re-)research John Rosemond's take on tantrums. I love that guy and should prob reread his book on two year olds, since I have one again!

    Thanks as always Prickly for keeping it real! Love that!

  2. Until I got to about number 27, I was thinking, hey, I do pretty good. I mean I didn't have every item down but most that I didn't were because my children are still too young for that category yet. But you've got me on the end of the list. I can say that before I implemented most of the first part of the list, things were complete chaos but now I am sometimes known as an "overly rigid" parent among friends and relatives. It takes a lot of organization, time and energy to keep it up and it does make daily routines less flexible. I'm not talking about once in a while breaking the routine, which we do with surprisingly little stress. Most people close to me ask me to break the routine regularly and are frustrated when I stick to my "list". On the other hand, this method does make life much healthier, gentler and more joyful, for children and adults.

  3. Thanks for the replies! I'm actually looking for guidance on how to implement some of these...namely 11 and 31. If anyone has an idea, please post!

  4. I could have written practically the whole list. These are what I've wanted myself too. I've noticed that when I am feeling like things are way too crazy around my house, that it's because we've gotten out of our routines. The best thing for our family is schedules. They are life savers.

  5. Love that you have a list! I do the same thing! Just a little note though; Remember that you are a mother of BOYS!!! Any of the goal you set that rely on them developing new habits will be tough to accomplish. Not that you shouldn't try, just be prepared for the level of difficulty. As an example, I am a very organized person (the ONLY one in a household wth 5 males). So, I set up a fantastic shoes & coats strategy about 5 or 6 years ago. The kids have their own closet in the mudroom. There are hooks & hangers in the closet. On the floor of the closet, each boy has his own labled bin & drawer. All they need to do is toss the shoes in the bin, and the hats & gloves in the drawer. Now, ask me how often that has happened. Exactly never. The stuff only gets put away after I find it in the middle of the floor & yell at the culprits. And this has been a daily thing for 6 years. I'm only telling you this so that you do not think you are at fault if a goal doen't work out. You want to feel serene & organized. I totally get it. Boys don't. Clutter does not bother them. Noise does not bother them. Bad smells do not bother them. As a mom of 4 boys, I just want you to be prepared for this. I have spent the past 15 years attempting some of these same goals. some of them have worked out great. Some have not. The ones that rely on your boys to turn over a new leaf (following chore lists, putting away coats) are going to be a tough sell. I use chore lists as well. They do help remind everyone what they are supposed to do, but they generally do half the job, and then I have to track them down or do it myself.I still try, every day. It's just a constant work in progress. The key is, they need to be invested in accomplishing the goal, and for most boys, quiet & clean are just not high on their priority list. That being said, I wish you the best of luck with all of your goals, and if you find them working, PLEASE pass on your secret!!! I'll try anything! LOL!

    1. XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO Tracie! So is your take-away message for me to try to adjust my expectations as a way to preserve my sanity? That seems like a sensible idea.