Five pets, a kid and gaining back my sanity. How I juggle it all.

Routine, something you think I'd have down two years after having a baby. 
Well, you'd be so incredibly wrong. 

Life has thrown so much our way since Scout was born, that building a routine is something that has just seemed impossible. People must think we are crazy; we have five animals, our two year old tornado of a toddler, and a pretty big house to look after. 
Just before Scout's first birthday, we moved home. We'd been away from family and anything familiar for four years; and I honestly thought this would be the turning point. Since then, everything has just been a juggling act. We haven't had any routine or structure to our days, and for the past few months it's really started to grind me down. I'm a creature of habit, and I hate change; so when Liam got his new job a few months ago, I set out to gain back some control. 

I first set out our needs and wants into categories - Housework/Chores, Pets, Scout stuff, Date night & Me time. (Child free, man free, off duty mummy time.)

The home hub.

I then wiped clean the white board in the kitchen and got planning. Not everything went on there, but for the most part, I generally know what needs doing when. 
I find this is the easiest way to keep on top of the regular chores. Things like watering the plants and changing bedding have become things that just get forgotten about, but with them being on the board, I get reminded that they actually need doing. The board also helps Liam to see what gets done when. He's often had me nagging at him because I expect him to remember; but in all honesty, he works a Mon-Fri 9-5 job over two hours away from home, so remembering the housework and appointments/lessons isn't exactly a priority for him.

I also have a little cork board hung up in the hallway, as you walk into the house. This is where any forms that need filling/invitations or just general postal reminders go. This boeard gets a bit messy, but a swift tidy up sorts that out in less than five minutes. 

The planner.

My planner is also another thing that I've started using a lot more. I like to track things like my gym visits, doctors appointments and special occasions in there. It makes thing a lot easier to see, and I can just flip through it in the morning and make mental note of what's on that day. 
I also like to keep a list of personal goals in there. It helps to keep my head in the right place, and keep me focussed on the things I'm working on. 
Me time has been a huge thing I have lacked in the past couple of years, and I think that's become obvious through my lack on consistency on here and youtube. With having things written down and planned, I've finally managed to prise back some of that time. I'm spending less time stressed and worried that the house is a mess, or such and such needs doing; and it means that if Scout is at nursery or napping, I can focus on the me stuff. 

The power hour.

This hour is so important. Whilst Liam is putting Scout down for bed, something that he has done religiously since I stopped breast feeding (he's a good egg,) I like to whizz around the house and tidy/pick up toys/fill the dishwasher/sort the dry washing into piles. It's so important that I have this time to finish a couple of the jobs I've not really had time to do during the day, and it makes a massive difference to the amount to crap we have lying around the house. Putting dry washing away is one of my biggest enemies, and this hour means I have absolutely no excuse to get. it. done. 
I don't know about many other mums, but I am so picky about how things are done now, that if Liam does certain things, I feel like I have to go and re-do them. He does try. This hour just means I can get on with it without having people under my feet. Honestly, if there's one thing you want to do to regain a bit of control in a crazy household, it's this. It's been a life saver.

The 'Me' time.

Only in the past few months have I realised how important this is. About seven months ago, we put Scout into nursery for two mornings a week. Mainly for him to have interaction with other children, but also for me to have some alone time. I used to spend that time running around, doing all of things I could do any other time in the week. I'd miss out on very precious time, and still end up stressed. 

A few months ago, I started going to the gym, and I can not tell you how much of a difference it's made to my stress levels. Now, I'm not saying you have to go to the gym; but if you get any kind of alone time, use it. For yourself. Don't worry about the shopping, or the hoovering. They'll wait. Go and grab a coffee, go swimming, go and buy yourself something nice. Just enjoy the peace. I swear to you, the minute I don't use that time for myself, I'm instantly feeling snowed under again. 

All of these things are small, simple changes that I've made. Slowly but surely, I'm starting to feel a little bit less like 'Mum Cinderella House Keeper person', and more like the Sam I love to be. I feel like I now have time to write, and film youtube videos. I'm looking after myself again, as well as everyone else. 

So what are your tips and tricks to a less stressful home life? Leave one in the comment section below, and maybe I'll adopt some of those too. 

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