A mom’s life is a busy one. We juggle multiple hats trying to keep our lives and our homes in order. I have always been able to handle many things at once, but as my life got busier with multiple children, I also noticed that I started getting frazzled. I was losing things and making mistakes because I had more on my plate than I could handle.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was the month I lost my purse – twice! The first time I was lucky. I had left it at a department store and a kind soul turned it in to customer service untouched. The second time I left it in a shopping cart at the grocery story. Again it was returned, but this time, with all the credit cards missing. Thankfully the thief left my insurance cards, royalty cards and ID information, but the hassle of having to file a police report, cancel all my credit cards and straighten out the mess was enough for me to make some changes in the way I was managing things.
As a mom we can have many things that can make us frazzled in our daily life. Here are 8 tips that have helped me keep it together, even in the midst of stressful, crazy days!
- Simplify your purse and wallet – My biggest problem is that I always felt I had to have “everything” on me, so I carried a diaper bag, backpack or large purse. It was inconvenient to carry into places, so I was always setting it down or pulling my wallet out to run a quick errand and then leaving it somewhere. My sister showed me this great cross body purse and diaper bag that was the perfect solution. It’s easy to wear, allows me to have two free hands, and since its small, it keeps me from packing up half my house so I can find everything I need. Inside I keep my wallet, 2 diapers, some wipes, a bottle of ibuprofen and my cell phone. Everything else (such as spare clothes, coupons, etc) goes into a back pack in my trunk. (For trips I when I really don’t need much, I put one of these little sticky pockets on my phone to tuck in cash, ID and credit card.) Since I started this system I have not left my purse or wallet anywhere! However, in the case I do, I also thinned out my wallet, leaving only 2 credit cards, my ID and insurance cards. In the case of theft, I will have only a few places to call. I also photo copied both sides of the cards inside so it would be easier to report if lost or stolen.
- Make your keys easy to find – I can’t tell you how many times I have been late because I couldn’t find my keys. Most of the time they were buried in my purse, still stuck in the keyhole in my front door or in some random place because I set them down in a hurry. The first step I took was to get a key holder that I hung right beside my garage door. Going in our out, I have an easy place to hang my keys. I also put a carabiner ring on my keychain so I can clip my keys to my purse. No more digging around to find them! For those times I am scatter-brained and set my keys down somewhere, I clipped on a pebblebee tracker that I can ring by using an app on my smartphone and locate them in a snap.
- Take extra care of your cell phone – These handy devices are expensive! I’ve dropped them, lost them, washed them — and one even ended up in the toilet. The first thing I do when I get a new phone is to put on a really heavy-duty case and screen cover. My phone has survived numerous drops thanks to my Otterbox! I also have 4 designated places for my phone – first is a clip on my car vent so I can use my phone as a GPS or handsfree to talk, second is a special pocket in my purse, third is this cute little cell phone holder next to my computer in my kitchen, and finally I keep a duplicate holder in my bedroom. With my phone in one of these 4 places I always know where to look! I also keep a cell phone charging cable in each of these four places so I never run low on battery. Bonus tip: For trips to the pool, I zip it up in a plastic bag to keep it from getting water in it.
- Shut those car doors – I can’t tell you how many times I used to get stopped in parking lots or inside stores with people asking me “Is that your mini-van? The doors are open.” Luckily, I have never had anyone rummage through my stuff, but a friend shared with me an easy way to check is by double clicking the “lock” button on my key fob. Once click locks the doors, and two clicks turns on the alarm and will give me a “honk” from my horn. The doors won’t lock and the alarm won’t go on if there is a door open, so if I click twice and no honk, that means a door is open.
- Grocery Shop with a Friend – Taking kids to the grocery store usually means extra things in the cart that don’t need to be there and things I really need being forgotten! In an effort to have more efficient shopping time, my friend Emily and I meet at the grocery store each week and take turns. One runs into shop (by herself!!) and the other watches the kids in their car or on a blanket in the grass. The kids think they are getting a playdate and the moms get a moment of peace while they shop.
- Papers be gone – Are you buried in papers or having a hard time getting them where they need to be? I downloaded this great scanner app. It saves me time and keeps me organized. When I receive something that needs to be returned to school or work, I can sign, scan and email it out in a flash. Instead of making a copy of a book or paper, I do a quick scan and have it accessible on my phone. Need to keep a receipt for re-imbursement? Scan and save. I’ve lost too many receipts saving in a “special place.” Now I always know where to look!
- Sports/Activity bags – Nothing annoys me more that getting ready to take a kid to practice or class and they can’t find their stuff. Each of my kid has a bag for every activity they are involved in and everything goes into the sports bag. For example, my son has a piano bag for all his music, and separate bags for each sport he plays (baseball, basketball and soccer), which contain his shoes & sports equipment for each sport. For dance/gymnastics each of my girls has a bag with dance shoes, a leotard, tights and hairbrushes. This way when its time to go, they can just grab the bag and be ready to jump in the car.
- Take a Break to Pray – Most importantly, when I am feeling stressed or frazzled, I have learned to pause for even just a moment to pray. If I have a few minutes, my favorites are the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the Rosary. The chant-like repetition can bring me down from frenzy in just a few minutes.
What are you favorite tips for being organized and less frazzled?
Copyright 2016 Michele Faehnle 2016