Productivity tips for stay at home parents

I feel fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom. Time is fleeting and I’ve got a front row seat to every first, not to mention I enjoy a lot of adventurous days and snuggles at home with my little ones. Even if it ain’t roses every minute of the day (which I’m very honest about on instagram if you follow me there), I truly love my life as a SAHM. However, that phrase “my kids are my world” feels pretty true a lot of the time and I’m not ashamed to admit I want a bit of ME in MY world, too. So, I take on projects here and there, squeezing them into the bits of time not fully occupied by the two little humans in my care. And sometimes I take on a bit much. Like this month, for instance. Styling, writing, media... I've only said yes to the really exciting stuff and it's still a lot. It's great to be involved in so many cool projects! It's also a challenge. If you work from home and have kids, or if you just want to be more productive with housework, journaling, or whatever you've got on the go, I’m not claiming I can solve your every stress, but this is a list of what works best for me. Here are my tips on getting things done with kids underfoot:

❤️ Be realistic with what you take on. Saying yes feels good but it's okay to turn down opportunities if they don't work for your real life.  

❤️ Make a to-do list for the next day featuring macro and mini tasks.

❤️ Use reminders in your calendar to give yourself a heads up on deadlines before they are actually upon you.

❤️ Use voice to text! It feels goofy but is WAY faster. It can also make for unexpected conversation starters with your child!

❤️ You can get an easy 15 minutes by setting the kids up with a snack that requires concentration. Pistachios and half-shelled peanuts are my stand-bys alongside a big ol’ peeled carrot. Sounds bizarre but it makes them happy. 

❤️ Set up opportunities for independent play. Puzzles, art supplies, magnet toys, give a Lego design challenge... That kind of thing. My guy is 18 months (and a total monkey) but it's getting more possible.

❤️ Dive into play with your kids phone-free and set a timer for when you have to make a phone call or respond to a couple emails. “That was fun! I’ll join you again in x amount of time, after I do a bit of work.” Then set the timer for yourself. My daughter likes to set the timer with Google Home.

❤️ Speaking of Google Home, audiobooks are awesome. Options are checking them out digitally from the library, finding them on your streaming service, or just asking Google Home (or maybe Siri? let me know if that’s a thing or not) to tell your child one.

❤️ Add more kids. FOR REAL? Yes. If my daughter has a friend over and my baby happens to nap, it is my most productive time: I can listen into the girls play while I finish up a blog.

❤️ Trade off childminding with other moms. My neighbors Jodi and Rochelle each have a girl my daughter’s age and we take turns shipping them off to one house. Then I’ve just got Paris, and IF he naps, I get right to biz.

❤️ Babywear while you’re doing chores and talk about all the stuff you’re doing. That way, you’re being productive AND momming. If you’d like some ideas about getting kids involved in chores, I wrote an entire post about that so check it out.

❤️ Get your kids involved. My 4-year-old, Petra helps with my blog a bit since she’s taken an interest in photography (she took the title pic here) and helps me brainstorm or shop for styling projects.

❤️ Use bribes. I’m not above saying, “Mommy’s got a half hour of work to do. Can you please read to your brother and maybe do some Duplo with him for that time? You can enjoy a marshmallow as a thank-you afterward.” The answer is always yes.

❤️ Work at night or before the kids are up. I choose night. This tip could also be labeled “get less sleep”, or “take a beloved Netflix show off your watch list”… but “make hay while the sun shines” is the optimist’s take. Be an optimist.

❤️ Utilize your support system and treat them well, whoever that is. I’m VERY lucky that my parents are in town and help when I ask (like right now; as I write this, my dad is playing with Paris) but maybe for you, this means building a team of your own. Consider hiring a mother’s helper, nanny, babysitter, or draw on your network of friends via social media. I know one mom without much family in town who will post “do I have a friend who’s able to watch my kids for x amount of time today?” and you know what? Friends come through. And in the future, she’ll reciprocate. Because that’s how community works when you grow it right.

❤️ Be gentle with yourself. Not every day will be very productive and that’s okay. My mantra is “act patient” which helps me to get through those moments where both kids need me the whole day and I haven’t made a dent on my to-do list. It’s the most helpful mantra I’ve ever met. Eventually, the kids sleep and I make short work of everything on that list so I can have my reward glass of wine. ;) 

Is there anything on my list that’s new to you? Or do you have something to add? I’d love to hear your take on getting things done.