How to Prep for an Easy Week While Raising Toddlers
I am constantly getting asked all the time by people at work, by my friends, and my family, “How do you do it all?” or I am always told the statement “I don’t know how you do it.” Every time this happens my response is simple. I just plan it out. As a mom of three kiddos, a three year old, and almost twin two year olds, it can get busy, crazy, and sometimes spastic at times when it come to just doing the normal daily things.
My husband and I both work full time. I also run what I call my “side hustle” of online store www.thedashingpearl.com making things and creating lovely monogram personalized things for people, whether it be embroidered items, jewelry pieces, or vinyl letters for a boutique in my town. That little side deal in itself is a like another job, plus I’ve added this blog where I share it all. So with all of that, running the household, side gigs, and all, it does tend to be a little busy. And from time to time its hard to get a date night, or time to myself where I can get a pedicure so my toes aren’t gnarly. Trust, living in Florida is open toe shoe season year round, we wouldn’t anything gnarly happening. So how do it do it ALL?
I PLAN PLAN PLAN it ALLLLL out!
Either in my planner, my head, my iphone, my head again whatever the case may be, the ONE KEY SECRET I have to actually getting it all done with three running toddlers around is that I am always doing what I like to think or call “Forward Thinking”. That’s right, I am always forward thinking what may be next. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am constantly on the go, but I also do get my breaks and relaxing down time. However, when its not the down time, I am always doing that “forward thinking” method that I have created to keep in the “getting it all done” mode. Not every single day is perfect, and I do have to move unfinished items at the end of the day to the next day from time to time, but with my “forward thinking” method it helps in getting 90% of the household little things done when it come to my three tots. And here’s an example of what I mean…
After work everyday, either my husband and I pick up our littles from daycare. Which means, loading three kids in three car seats, buckling them, and wragnling up the caos of being in a parking lot with lunch boxes, blankets, paper paintings and artwork etc flying all around. You get the idea. When the twins were younger, we had a double stroller we could control some of this clutter with at a minimum, but now that they are walking, and too heavy to carry, it is a little more of challenge. But once I get them loaded, and home, the unloading in to the house process begins, and so does that “forward thinking” method.
Whether the kids go play, or watch tv, I get them all unloaded safe and inside. Then “the stuff” bags lunch boxes,papers and what nots all need to be “processed” if you will, for the end of day and prepped for the next day. So keeping with the thought of “forward thinking” my biggest thoughts are what must be needed for tomorrows day to run smoothly? Especially in the morning when everyone is getting ready? And that’s how it begins.
I unload the containers from lunch boxes, put dirty sippys in washer, and clean the lunch boxes. I do this in between dinner prep, and I am thinking of the next task while in the current one. You might be thinking this is common sense, but you’d be surprised, how much more you might get done if you tried this approach, just focusing, and limiting distractions. It is all about the prep. For example, if I am pouring three juices for my kids for dinner, I pour six. This is a task that has to be done for dinner, but also must be done for the next days lunches. And since it’s the same task, I prefer to do it once. Juice keeps in the fridge whether in the main juice container or three sippy cups. So I set out six sippy cups. Three for dinner, three go to the fridge for tomorrow’s lunch boxes. Done. Juice times three is made, and its one less task. Yes its minutes on the hour, but little minutes here and there with three can add up, and before you know its 30 minutes, and then an hour.
As I unload un eaten food, and clean out the lunch containers and boxes, I wipe down or clean them full out if necessary. Sometimes they have to be washed, but if not then once clean, while in between other things I re-pack the items that can be packed for lunches the next day. Since my kiddos are toddlers, this is easy. Either a chip or animal cookies goes into plastic baggies and gets laid out for the next day. If it is fruit or carrots, they get bagged (times three) and put in fridge. The point is to prep and lay out as much as possible for the next day to make getting ready in the morning and loaded up be as seemless and less stressed as much as possible. Some even do meal prep for the whole, depending on space I have been known to do this, but usually, for myself.
Even when dinner is over, and baths are complete, I lay out the k-cups for the mroning, I put the peanut butter on the counter with a paper towel and a clean knife so that all I have to do is grab bread for sandwiches the next morning. My kids are picky and PB&J is their preference, so its easy to prep, but I do have other days where they get different options, and I prep that out as well. One less task in the morning, the better.
In the morning if my husband takes the kids to school, I clean the kitchen from breakfast, but I also prep the kitchen, and the kids bathroom for that night when we come home. I lay out towels for bath, pajamas for that night, and make sure that clothes are ready for the next day. One simple thing I do every Sunday is lay out all the kids clothes for the entire week. This makes dressing them each morning soo much easier. The less decisions that have to be made, the better. Decsision making in the morning can be a time buzz kill, so don’t allow that happen. Simply “think forward” and save your self from headaches by completing as much as you can a head of time. It the little things that add up, that can sometimes be the biggest time save.
Do you do anything to plan or prep you week ahead of time? Please comment and share you tips with me, I’d love to know any exta tid bit for time organization.