Last Updated on June 14, 2022 by melissanreynolds
When one has four children (under eight years old), a business and chronic health issues (and all of the rest of the details of life) one needs systems. This is the chronically exhausted mamas guide to managing the things.
There are four principles for chronically exhausted mamas here:
- Slow and steady wins the race – get a little bit done at a time, chip away at those big tasks and goals
- Prioritise (ruthlessly) – decide what has to be done by you, what you can get help with and what doesn’t need to be done
- Do what you can most comfortably – factor in your quality of life when you are prioritising
- Let stuff go – what falls off the list is gone, don’t fret and when things don’t turn out great, be like Elsa (and let it go).
So what are the chronically exhausted mamas five systems?
System One: The kids charts
Help is important. Not only are you teaching your children vital skills but you are distributing the load. When they are young this is more of a future investment, but the small helps can add up.
I Googled “age appropriate” chores (these vary) and coupled this with what I know of my kids. We came up with a chart of jobs we can expect my kids to do.
We also have a tick chart for mornings and evenings so they know what is expected of them. It is no longer up to me when/if they get TV time. They tick the list, the 30 minute TV time is theirs.
The morning chart includes getting up at the right time (7am), dressing, breakfast, teeth, sunblock etc.
The evening chart includes showers, tidying up, setting the table etc. We include trouble points on purpose – things that used to cause issues are now simply ticks on the chart to get the reward.
System Two: Your self-care plan
As I share in this post, a self-care plan is a great way to ensure we are looking after ourselves. My habits are so ingrained I don’t have a written list anymore. But my self-care includes Yoga Nidra guided meditation every day. Yoga stretches as needed (to manage pain). Some form of exercise most days. I sit with a cup of coffee at morning tea time. And have a mindful bedtime routine.
Would you like the worksheet bundle to help you create these systems? I created the Ultimate Exhausted Parents Kit you can find here.
System Three: Meal planning
Confession time: I hate cooking, yet these people want to eat every day. It’s also difficult as I tend toward vegetarian and my family are heavy meat eaters. I don’t have a fancy system but I do have a whiteboard with the days of the week written in the corner where I write the daily dinner plans.
My system for choosing meals relies on supermarket specials, what’s in our cupboard/freezer/fridge and my whims. We also have a flexible framework – meat free Monday, Taco Tuesday, big curry Wednesday and so on.
I am also big on double cooking. Utilising the slow cooker and instant pot, I will make at least two meals at once.
At least twice a week we eat leftovers with no cooking required.
System Four: Chore planning
I have tried and failed to create plans for my chores. Dishes and washing must be done daily in order to keep up. But I have found the idea of assigning a room to a day helps me get through the bulk of it.
On a Monday I have the kitchen. But here is the magic – I will do my best, but if we get to the evening and I haven’t done as much as I’d like, I assign portions to my husband and kids. It is a team effort, not mama’s job. Getting more detailed than that just doesn’t help me.
System Five: My own planner
Some people like block planners, some plan in hourly blocks in their calendar etc. I have rhythms. I am a creature of habit and so most mornings and evenings end up on the same time frame. I create a framework from the non-negotiables (kids school schedules, work, meals etc.) and then schedule things around that.
Tell us: Do you already do any of these systems? What would you like to enact today?