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Diary of a Working Mom: Juggling it All

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I’m so excited to kick off my Diary of a Working Mom series! As most of you know, I went back to work this past week. Thankfully, I am only working part time so I still get 4 days a week to hang with Little Man, and the 3 days I’m working he hangs out with my mom or my mother-in-law so I know he’s in good hands and surrounded by family! We were so happy to avoid daycare!

I get stressed out and overwhelmed easily. I knew if I was going to juggle work, a 3 month old, a dog who acts like a 3 month old, bible study, housework, cooking, laundry, grocery shopping, working out, etc. I was going to need one heck of a system, and I needed to be more organized than I’ve ever been before.

And…I did it (huge shocker). I put a strict schedule in place, and for the past 2 weeks, I’ve stuck to it, and things haven’t gotten as out of control as I thought they would. I have a cleaning schedule, calendar with all our events, and a weekly dinner menu all posted on the fridge. It’s easier for Kurtis to help me out if he can visually see exactly what I need done around the house that day, or whose house Sawyer is going to for daycare that day, etc.  I have nicknamed it the FOS (Family Organization System…yes, I’m lame).

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Cleaning

My personal method of cleaning is to do one or two chores per day, rather than trying to tackle everything on my day off. When I was working full time before Sawyer was born, that was how I did it, and because of that, my days off didn’t really feel like days off. They felt like my “housework days”. I’ve found it extremely helpful to do it this way! I give myself a few more tasks, or the more daunting tasks on my days off, and lesser tasks on my work days. I still have a list of things that need to be done daily, which I incorporate into my routine for the day. As well as a small list of things I need to do before I go to bed. It’s important to remind myself to take my wallet out of the diaper bag and put it into my work bag, pack up the breast pump, and Sawyer’s stuff for Grandma’s.

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Schedule

I use just a regular calendar from Target to write out what everyone is doing. It usually has when I work, when Kurtis works, which Grandma Sawyer is going to, events, dr appointments, etc. It’s hung on the fridge where we both can see and access it. This isn’t the where I break down my day and my schedule, I use my planner for that (more on that later). But it’s easy to glance at and see what time my husband should be home, or be reminded that I have a baby shower that weekend.

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Meal Planning

This is something I’m new to. I usually just walk into the grocery store and grab what we needed and what looked good. Then, when I wanted to make a meal, I would run back to the store to grab the ingredients I didn’t have. That got old, fast. So I actually started planning out our dinner every night, and lunches to take to work, looking up the recipes, and buying all the ingredients!

I use pinterest for the most part to find my recipes, and secret boards to store them. I have one board for 2 weeks worth of recipes, and I label all of them with the date I’m going to make them. When the 2 weeks is up, I move them all to another board entitled “used recipes” and find 2 weeks worth of new recipes to add to the meal planning board and so on and so on. I use the “used recipes” board to recycle recipes and use them again in future weeks meal plans!

You have to make your meal plan based on your schedule. For instance, Tuesdays and Fridays for me are always crockpot meals because those are 2 of the days I work. Mondays and Wednesday I cook because I’m off of work, and I also make sure I have a few days off from cooking as well.

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Mama Hack: Days off and yo-yo meals!

It’s important to have a day without chores. For me, its Thursday. It’s not really a day off , because it’s actually my busiest day of the week, which is why I don’t assign myself any cooking or cleaning on that day. On Thursdays I have Bible Study in the mornings, and work in the afternoon. I have about an hour after getting home from Bible Study before I have to leave for work, and I don’t want to spend that hour running around putting dinner in the crockpot or cleaning the bathrooms. I want to spend that hour cuddling my baby before I have to leave for the day. And I do!

Yo-yo meals are something my mom used to do growing up. Yo-yo stands for you’re on you’re own. So, I don’t have a meal planned for that day. I keep things in the house that would be easy to throw together or warm up because I’m not cooking! On yo-yo nights we might quickly make panini’s or spaghetti (something easy), heat up leftovers, or order in. I definitely have these on Thursdays since it’s my busy day, and one or two other days during the week.

Planning is my jam

I love planners and to-do lists. I will add things to my to-do list that I’ve already done, just to have the joy of crossing it off! I currently use a Vera Bradley planner that I bought last year, long before I knew my life would be this hectic. It really really helps me to write things down. That way I can physically see when I need to clean, cook, work out, etc.

Since I have so much more going on, I’ve been looking into getting a more in-depth family planner. With lots of room, extra pages, color coding, all that lame stuff (that I just adore). Right now I’m leaning towards Plum Pages but I’ve been researching other brands as well.

Attempting to juggle it all may be the hardest thing I’ve done so far, but I’m doing all I can to make my life somewhat easy. I haven’t had a complete meltdown yet, and it makes me feel accomplished to know I have things semi-under control. What are your favorite ways to stay organized when life gets hectic?

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8 Comments

  • Reply Joan

    Katie, I was so impressed and I will be stealing your yo yo. I have used Cozi.com (free version) for years. It is app for schedules that can be accessed by family members you enter and they are color coded. Each family member can sign in with password and see what is happening on any given day. They has a paid version with more that you can do. And if access to printer you can print for your fridge. Which I do. I love the menu plan idea and will start incorporating that into my plan also. Thanks for helping me to see I can learn new and helpful things to be a better wife. You bless me.

    September 15, 2015 at 11:09 am
  • Reply Katy Lyle Hood

    When I went back to work it was the hardest thing. My daughter is 2 now but it still is challenging. I agree that staying organized is a must. I would love to know if you find a better planner.

    September 19, 2015 at 1:02 am
  • Reply Tamara Fryer

    Being a working mom is so tough and something ma

    September 19, 2015 at 4:10 pm
  • Reply Tamara Fryer

    Being a working mom is something so many of us struggle through! The hardest in my opinion. What fantastic tips you shared! Thank you!!

    September 19, 2015 at 4:12 pm
  • Reply WholeFoodBellies

    Congrats on starting you new job. And wow with the organisation 🙂 Sounds like you have a great little system going – totally agree with needed to have a day off from cleaning etc! Good luck 🙂

    September 19, 2015 at 11:24 pm
  • Reply Natalie

    I struggle with balancing everything in my life: between blogging, my freelance writing work, spending time with my family, and taking care of myself, it sometimes feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one!

    September 19, 2015 at 11:53 pm
  • Reply Heather with WELLFITandFED

    Fail to plan, plan to fail. Great post!

    September 20, 2015 at 8:45 pm
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