7 Shortcuts That’ll Take You From Stress to Smiles At Home

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For most of our daily routine, we know what to do. We just need to be motivated or encouraged to do it. This post from Elizabeth gives you that shot in the arm to relieve stress and tackle the day with a smile.

small heart brownies

Your heart holds more love than you ever imagined.

Your to-do list grows by the second.

Your purse carries wipes, lipstick, toys, and…wait…what is that at the bottom of your purse?

Motherhood’s a blessing, but it’s also overwhelming, intimidating, and exhausting. Here are 7 shortcuts to make life at home with your family rich and rewarding for everyone  even when things get crazy.

1. Be Realistic

A half-finished to-do list discourages us all. We get annoyed that our ideal day on paper isn’t matching up to our reality. Before you tackle tomorrow, take a breath and think, “How long will it really take everyone to get out the door, make dinner, and get baths before bedtime?”

Being realistic will dramatically change your tone when you talk with your kids. You’ll breathe easier, and feel happier. Everyone wins.

2. Treat Yourself

As a mom, you put everyone’s needs before your own. But sometimes, you need a break. Every now and then, treat yourself. An hour with a good book? A cup of coffee at your favorite café? A night on the town? Go on! You deserve it. It’s a small way to put a pep in your step for the rest of the week.

kids at the beach

3. Explain Yourself

The moments between you and your child are priceless. But having to constantly remind them to do things can really strain your relationship. When you say, “Get ready for your piano lesson tomorrow,” do they know exactly what “getting ready” means?

What seems like a simple request to you might not always be clear to them. Go through, step by step, how to do a chore or task so they know what’s expected of them and how to succeed.

4. Clear Out The Clutter

Clean space, clear mind. Give yourself permission to throw out what you don’t need, want, or use anymore. If a big sweep intimidates you, start with a small space like a drawer or corner of the room that’s collected clutter. Go through a few items one by one and decide if you should toss it, give it away, or reuse it.

You’d be surprised how empowering this can feel!

5. Just Say No

It happens to all of us: feeling frozen by a jumble of overwhelming responsibilities. It’s easy to let the pressure to “do it all” guilt you into saying yes to everyone. But when you can say no, you leave room to say yes to an activity or event that’s even better.

Let your calendar reflect what’s truly important to you and your family. Try sprinkling in a few “want-to’s” between all your daily “have-to’s.”

calendar 2013

6. Work Your System

Swear by your daily planner? Can’t make it without your iCal? Live by the post-it? Get a system in place that’s personalized for your life and work it your way.

Each season of our lives looks a little different so don’t feel guilty changing up a “get it done” system that’s not working for you anymore. Yours doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s.

7. Get a Mom Who Gets You

She knows you better than you know yourself. She’s seen you in the best of times…and the worst. Every mom needs a mom who gets her: someone who understands the ups and downs you’re going through. Don’t forget to rely on her when you need to. It’s much easier to be there for your child when someone’s there for you.

What shortcuts do you use to keep your family running smoothly?

Elizabeth Kane is a music teacher who loves helping parents make their children unstoppable through the power of a great music education. Right now, she’s offering a free guide for parents that shows you what to look for in a music teacher, why kids really hate practicing, and what you can do to lock in success – no “tiger mom” tactics required. Click here to get it.

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  1. I really struggle with the balance between clean space, clear mind, easy clean AND waste not, want not. My grandmothers were definitely part of the waste not want not generation having been young brides during the Depression. My mother’s reaction to her upbringing was to throw everything out. Nothing was kept because it might be useful someday or simply because it might have sentimental value. When it comes to getting the most value for my food dollar, I follow the example set by my grandmother’s. Every leftover vegetable is kept for stock; carcasses and bones are kept for stock; and stale bread is kept for homemade croutons. On the other hand, I have just a handful of keepsakes for my children – baptism outfit, first bible and first pair of booties. Where I go overboard are the boxes of artwork and dozens of photo albums. I also feel compelled to keep the family “heirlooms” even if I personally have no interest in them. Most women would look at my closet and exclaim “where are your clothes.” Like I said, finding the balance has been a lifelong challenge. Maybe I will figure it out someday ;-).

    1. Yes! “Waste not, want not” – one of *my* grandmother’s favorite phrases to say.

      It’s fascinating to me what different people think are worth saving, and worth throwing out – everyone has a different perspective. And on top of THAT the things that were important to us years ago, may not be as important to us now, and vice versa. Our needs and wants change as we change.

      You’re not alone, Janet – I’m still finding the balance too. 🙂