As a first time mom of a newborn, I was a well-oiled machine. My diaper bag had the essentials and some emergency items intuitively placed throughout. I had a first aid kit in my car along with a backup diaper bag filled with essentials and a $20.00 bill. I always brought her vaccine card to checkups and I knew exactly when those checkups were to be scheduled. Her baby book was fully updated with accurate information and I went to bed at night feeling like a queen.
As she approached her first birthday I started to slack a bit. Diaper bags sometimes lacked essential components (ahem, diapers). Items used from the backup diaper bag were not replenished and for the first time in my life, I found wearing mismatched socks in public totally acceptable.
Then her sister was born, and with that, the last shred of my organizational skills became a fond memory like bladder control and blow drying my own hair.
I find organized moms fascinating. They know off-hand exactly how many eggs are in their fridge and the date of their last menstrual period. I asked a few of my friends for some insight as to what they do to stay on top of things while juggling tiny humans and here’s what I found:
- List making. List making is quite literally at the top of everyone’s list when it comes to organization and productivity. They make a list every morning, starting with the things that must get done that day, then adding “nice to have” tasks. This way it’s automatically prioritized. Brilliant.
- Plan ahead. My closest friend is a working mom. Her family’s weekday meals are planned the weekend prior. She doubles every recipe and packages the leftovers in single serving containers. She freezes some and leaves the rest in the fridge for easy grab and go lunches.
- To-do app. The Microsoft To-Do application was mentioned to me so I downloaded it. You can make different lists and share them with your spouse. The practical application is having a Target list. If your husband stops at Target for some husbandy items, he can open his To-Do app to see you need a birthday card for Grandma and the kids need multivitamins. With that, he just saved you from shopping with your kids.
- Smartphone calendar. The other techy tool my mom friends use is their smartphone calendar. Apparently you can share your family calendar with your spouse. This way you’re never double-booked and he can no longer feign shock when you remind him you’re having your hair done Saturday and you need him to look after the kids.
My takeaway is that staying organized isn’t about what I do once in a while. Staying organized is about what I do every day. Sadly, this means my semi-annual manic episodes of purging toys and emptying my pantry aren’t really helping me much. Emptying the car completely at the end of the day, starting a load of laundry when the hamper is almost full (instead of overflowing), folding clean laundry, and putting it away: these are all examples of habits I can get myself into that will ultimately make my life easier.