Days as a mom are sometimes challenging and long, especially with little ones at home! We always have the mom guilt, thinking: “Have I done enough with my kids today?” or “Dang it. I let my kids watch T.V. all day again.” Let's face it, there are days like that, or even weeks like that, where you just get out of rhythm or simply need a break, and that's ok. I feel like it has taken a year for me to get back into the swing of things after having my fourth baby. Sometimes we can only do what can do. So I don't want this post to be overwhelming or place more mom guilt on you! Haha! I only hope to inspire each of us to do what we can in each of the different seasons of our lives. Sometimes we need to push the reset button and make time for the most important people - our kids.
There is a lot of responsibility that comes with being a mom, and developing trust and friendship with our kids is one them. I am not one of those moms that sits and plays with my kids all day long. I don’t think that is healthy for me or for them. However, I do think it is important to set aside meaningful time with our kids each day.
Meaningful time doesn’t have a set time. It doesn’t have to be a grand event, either. If your child is feeling loved, then you’ve achieved your goal. It could be reading them a book, doing a craft or teaching them something new. With older kids, it could be helping them with their homework or simply giving them your full attention when they tell you about their day. Whatever stage of life you are in with your family, I think these principles still apply and we can answer the question: “Have I done something meaningful with my kids today?”
Of course, meaningful time doesn’t always have to be planned. However, I like to have some time set aside to make sure that I’ve at least done something with them. Then everything else is a bonus! I try to plan an activity around 10:00 each morning with my little kids. Then when my older daughter gets home from school I try to plan something with her around 4:00. This set time each day helps me to remember my goal.
When thinking about planning activities, there are a couple questions that we really need to ask ourselves: “What do I want to teach my kids?”, “What are they interested in?”, “What are my talents?”, and “What can I teach them?”. Each of us has unique talents and gifts and we were given these children to share these talents with them. Using a list of answers to these questions think of a few things that you would like to do with your kids. You can include your kids by asking them what they would like to do with you. After brainstorming, pick the top things that you feel are the most important. Then decide which days you can do those activities.
Here’s an example:
Monday-Spanish or Arts & Crafts
Tuesday- National Geographic Day (Animals & Geography)
Thursday-Outing or Science Experiment
Friday- Music or Dance
Having each day be a different category is wonderful! Instead of feeling like I have to reinvent the wheel every week, I simply go back to my weekly categories that I have already set up. Then come up with a quick idea that would work for that day. I usually plan these activities during my Weekly Planning Session. (Check out the previous blog post) If you don’t have time to do your weekly planning session you at least have a quick reference of what you could do that day.
I would suggest buying a small "Days of the Week" dry erase board and writing out the activities that correlate with that day so you can remember what the categories are each day. I don't know how many times I have set up great goals of things I wanted to do with my kids but completely forget about them by the next day-mostly because they weren't somewhere I could see it! So make sure you do this step and put the calendar in your kitchen or a place that will help you remember.
If you have kids that can't read yet, cut out pictures magazines that represent those activities so the kids will know what activity is on which day. I was really surprised that my kids would get so excited about the activities and would ask me, “What are we doing for our craft day today?”
Tips on what to do on the specific days
Craft-Think of a craft related to the season.
National Geographic-You can watch a YouTube video on a specific animal or place and have the kids draw a picture on what they learned.
Service- Be inspired by the person the kids are going to serve. What do they need?
Outing- Find a group of moms to go to the zoo, museum, or park. Kids need to get out of the house just as much as we do.
Music & Dance- One of our favorite things to do is have dance parties. You could also look up some step by step dance videos for kids to learn some new moves.
Be inspired by the things around you - the time year, the interest of your kids, and things that make you happy to share with them. In my opinion, kids want to learn and do activities, but sometimes just need our help getting started. Also, activities for our kids don't have to be something grand or something some Super Mom posted on Pinterest. Keep it simple!
Good Luck! Start Planning!
With four little kids, I have found that planning and organization has been a tremendous way to feel peace, growth, and satisfaction. As a young mom I felt like all I did every day was clean up after kids, make meals, and do laundry and then it was all undone by the time my husband got home. I felt like each day rolled into the next. The days seemed long, uneventful, and it was hard to see my accomplishments. I was doing something great by taking care of my kids and home, but the lack of planning and goals made it difficult to see.
I bought myself a planner and began to write down all of the things I did each day. I wrote down everything. For example: I read my scriptures, I cleaned up the kitchen, I folded laundry, I served someone, I had a tea party with the girls, we went to the park, and I made dinner. This list was just for me to look at each week, but somehow recording it helped me see that I really was accomplishing something great.
These small, seemingly-insignificant things that we do are important, even if we are fighting a never ending battle with chaos.
Being a GOOD, GREAT, GRAND, WONDERFUL stay at home mom takes a lot of work! We need to start treating it like what it really is - a FULL TIME JOB! If we had a job, I don’t think any of us would go into our work week unprepared, aimlessly going through the motions. In fact, we would probably be fired if we did. Of course as moms, we aren’t really fired, (maybe sometimes we’d like to be Ha Ha), but we are living below our potential when we don’t take the time to plan and set goals.
After a few years of being a mom, I took a proactive approach to start planning out my week ahead of time. Each Sunday I set aside an hour to plan out my week. Yes, an hour! It does seem like a lot of time, but the time I invest in planning is more than recouped by time I save during the upcoming week. Think about how much time we waste looking into the fridge thinking, “What am I going to make for dinner tonight?” or “Wow! That is a really cool idea on Pinterest but I don’t have any of the supplies, it's never gonna happen.” Sometimes I would think, “It would be really nice to have some time for myself, but I haven’t done anything for my kids today” and then the mom-guilt would set in and I would end up wasting the day without doing anything for myself or my kids and then feeling frustrated that nothing happened.
Weekly planning can help you solve these frustrations and allow us to live up to our full potential. We have one of the most important jobs that anyone can have. So let’s not simply go through the motions, let’s really be great at what we do!
What I am giving you today is the framework for weekly planning. Over the next few weeks I will be giving greater detail about each of the sections so that you can make your weekly planning faster and easier!
Good luck at getting your lives organized, you’ll be glad you did!
Weekly Planning Session for Moms
1.Theme of the Week (Usually a quote or scripture)
I use this theme for myself and for my kids. It is usually something to improve or simply remember throughout the week. For example, one time we focused our week on faith and I tried to find different scripture stories about faith that I shared with the kids before school. They loved it and it was easier to remember the lessons shared because it was the same theme the whole week.
2. Rollover previous week’s unfinished “To Do List” tasks
Let's face it, not everything we set out to do in the week get's finished, but it is important to finish the goals we have set.
3. Create a new “To Do List” for the week
I usually have 5 categories:
4. Highlight the most important tasks
5. Mark the tasks with the beginning letter of the day of the week that you want to accomplish them. Ex. (M)(Tu.)
6. Write all of your Fixed Activities into your calendar, then find a time and day for the rest of the “To Do List” in your weekly calendar.
*I am a paper girl and love my handwritten calendar because I like to see it all mapped out in front of me and I figure it’s a way of journaling. But if you really want to get organized, I would recommend using a calendar on your phone, such as Google Calendar, so you always have your plans with you. You can even schedule alerts to remind you of an upcoming task.
7. Write in the activities you want to do with you kids
I like to designate the same time each day if possible so that it makes it easier for me to remember.
(I will be creating a future post on how to do this easily!)
8. Plan time for YOURSELF
This step is so important! If we are constantly giving to our kids, husband, chores and others we will be completely depleted and won’t be able to grow as a person or give our best selves to those around us.
9. Plan my meals for the week
This helps me to put together a grocery list for the week. Some people like to do meal planning 2 weeks in advance and get all that they need from the grocery store for those two weeks. I think this is a good idea too! This saves time and money!
10. Choose a Day for Service
This doesn’t mean that I am only doing service all day, but it’s a day that try to do something special for someone or a family.
11. Scripture Study Plan for the week
Making the scriptures apart of our daily routine is so important. When we make time for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in our lives we are given peace, inspiration for ourselves, our children, and we are able to stay focused on the things that matter most in life. It is easy to get distracted in this world that we live in.
12. Date Night
To keep the love alive my husband & I like to go on dates every Friday night. It is a day I really look forward to in my week. With so much happening with work and family life it is nice to reconnect and showcase my fun date personality with my spouse. Sometimes in the day today tasks we forget that we were once really fun and date night gives us a chance to remember that. This year my husband and I have decided to take turns on whose planning the date each week so it doesn't just fall on one of us to plan.
13. Family Night Plans
Our church has given us great council to set aside time each week to have a family night. Usually a spiritual thought can be shared, a fun activity is planned and if you’re an over achiever you could have dessert together. The kids Look forward to it and I do too!
14. Exercise Plan
Haha! See how this one is last? I am still trying to put one together for this new year, but I think it's important that we plan exercise into our lives. I always feel healthier and happier when I workout.
Now that you have read through some of these weekly planning suggestions I think it is important incorporate something else that we have learned as moms, TO BE FLEXIBLE! Does my family have gourmet breakfast every morning? Of course not. Most days, we're running late and just eat cereal. Do I always do the exact activity that I plan for my kids that day? No. Sometimes something else comes up like a play date with friends. So I will usually do that activity at another free time that week. The point is life happens and sometimes plans have to change, and we can be flexible with those changes. However, I will say having my week mapped out with goals and activities allows me to be more productive than I ever could be without it. When I do stick closer to my schedule I feel peace, balance and accomplishment.
There is a lot of information in this post so I would start by choosing a day and time that you can do your weekly planning session. Next, choose the bullet points that you love the most and add them to your weekly planning. Last Step.... GET STARTED!!!
Quick Weekly Planning Check List