Hi friends, today I’ve got another amazing guest post for you! I am so excited about this essay! Mary-Cathryn is a gorgeous and inspiring woman who has always made an impact on me in the way she lives her life and gives her all in everything she does – work, marriage, mothering – she does it all and always points back to the One who enables her to do it! I hope all you working moms out there (and others who are juggling lots of responsibilities) find encouragement in her words!
I never thought I would be a working mom. I always pictured myself staying home, baking bread and sewing clothes, cleaning house and folding laundry, and giving myself to all things homemaking.
But here I am, full-time mommy to a wonderful almost two-year-old and working nearly 30 hours a week. Is it hard? Yes, it has it’s own set of challenges. Motherhood in and of itself is a full-time plus job. Add on top of that a marketplace job and my friend, things can be challenging!
Is it possible to be a mother and work and not go crazy? Yes, I believe it is. It takes work and extra discipline to keep a clean house, make healthy meals, and still have time to play with my little one, but it is so worth it.
I don’t pretend to be on top of everything. Some weeks I feel like I barely make it but I have found that if I stick to these ten points, my life is so much better!
1. Daily Time with Jesus
The most important moments of our day are the ones we spend with Jesus and in His word. We cannot continually pour out into others when we have not been filled up ourselves. Well, we can try, but it won’t go well and eventually we will end up burnt out.
I make it a priority every day to spend at least 30 minutes first thing in the morning with Jesus. I read my Bible, pray, and mediate on what His word. It’s so crazy how nearly every single morning, He gives me a scripture that is exactly what I need for that day.
I also love to listen to the audio Bible and Christian podcasts when I’m doing laundry, cooking, driving to and from work. I don’t have the luxury in this season of spending hours in the word or reading books, but I can find little pockets of time throughout my day to spend with him.
2. Meal-Prep, baby!
Ever tried to cook with a toddler at the end of a long day? Yeh, not even close to easy. Planning my meals ahead is how I survive.
Looking at recipes is my hobby, so this comes pretty easy for me. I have growing Pintrest boards and magazines of recipes I want to try. I look at the sale ads for my favorite stores (Sprouts Farmers Market and Aldi), look for recipes that use sale items, and make my grocery list.
On Sunday or Monday evenings, I spend time chopping vegetables, marinating meat, and doing what prep I can do ahead. This way, when I get ready make dinner, all the prep is done and I’m ready to get dinner cooking! This cuts down my time in the kitchen drastically!
I also like to make lunches ahead of time. Two of my recent favorites have been Greek Chicken Salad bowls and Salmon salad with strawberries and feta. I try to plan to make extra at dinner to have for lunch leftovers the next day.
And when I’m really feeling on top of meal-planning, I write out what we will have for breakfast – especially for my toddler.
3. Stay on top of laundry and house cleaning
This sounds hard, but it really isn’t. Even taking 10 minutes a day to clean something in the house will make a huge difference. The more you let go, the more that piles up and the more time it takes later. Staying on top of it saves so much time, plus makes for a less stressful environment than a messy home.
Whenever you have a full load of laundry, wash it right away. The washer and dryer does all the work and when it’s time to fold a load, it really doesn’t take much time. Watch an episode of the Andy Griffith Show and it goes even faster!
4. Say no
Try as I might, I just can’t do everything. It isn’t always easy to say no, but I’ve learned that in this season of being a working mom, I have to prioritize things. First, is my relationship with Jesus. Second, my family and responsibilities toward them and third my job. When things are taking too much time and stress and keeping me from these things, I have to reevaluate whether or not to continue doing them. Sometimes, these things seem like perfectly good things to do and saying no to them doesn’t always make sense, but I have to choose what is best for me and my family.
Okay, so self-care isn’t my strong point. I do too much and don’t rest. But, I am good at working out at least 4 times a week. This is my form of self-care.
As moms, we are constantly pouring into others and basically laying down our lives for them every single minute of the day. We don’t need to forget ourselves and neglect to rest or do something we love. Meet a friend for tea, take a candle light bath, read a new book, bake some cookies – anything that makes your heart feel refreshed.
6. To-do Lists
This sounds silly, but to-do lists are a life safer for me. My husband would tell you, I cannot seem to remember to do anything that is out of my normal schedule. My mind is constantly going in so many directions with work, keeping up with my toddler, and keeping my family clean and well fed that I just can’t possibly remember to update our Amazon subscribe and save (or whatever random thing I need to do). Thus enters to-do lists.
I like to write lists at night and basically write everything I want/need to do the next day. And, I have to be specific (example: instead of saying do laundry, I make 3 different lines- put laundry in washer, put laundry in dryer, fold laundry. Without writing all three steps, inevitably I forget one of them).
Writing lists helps me to see what needs to be done, and takes off the pressure to remember everything. Plus, I feel super cool when I mark things off my list.
7. Always clean the kitchen
The kitchen is the heart of the home. If your kitchen is clean, it makes your entire house look cleaner. Taking the time at night to clean the kitchen is a lot less challenging and quicker than trying to clean it in the morning with a hungry (make that hangry) toddler in tow.
There are days when my workload is heavier or I’m feeling extra tired. Those are the days I don’t try to do everything, but prioritize what is most important. An example of that would be that while I would really love to go to dinner with friends, the better choice for me is to stay home and work to keep from getting even more behind.
9. Own my morning
I understand some mamas can’t get up early, but I have been blessed with a kiddo that loves to sleep 12 hours at night. Getting up before she does gives me time to take care of important things (like my time with Jesus, an hour of work, breakfast and getting ready) and then being able to focus on her when she awakes. Normally, I try to get up between 5:30-6am, depending on my workload. It’s not always easy, but it is worth it.
By the time she is up, I’ve had knocked quite a few things off my to-do list and I’m prepared and ready for the day.
10. Be watchful for time wasters
I love Instagram. LOVE it. And while most everyone I follow is either friends, recipe blogs, or Christian bloggers who are always offering encouraging words, I can quickly find 15-20-30 minutes gone from mindless scrolling. While social media isn’t bad, I could have done a lot in those 15 minutes. Being aware of where my time goes has really helped me to get more out of my day.
To all my fellow working mamas, you are doing amazing. It’s not always easy but the Lord gives grace to whatever season He’s called you to! I’m cheering you on! ❤
Hi, I’m Mary-Cathryn! I’m a southern born girl living in the Midwest with my husband and our almost-two-year-old little girl. I love spending quality time with my family, cooking, and doing all types of fitness – especially long bike rides with my hubby. Writing has been a hobby of mine as long as I can remember. Nearly all of my first writings were silly stories about my cats and dogs. Nowadays, I write about life as a wife, mom, and share pieces of my journey. Come see me over at These Momentary Moments.