These are just a few simple ideas that have helped me at home with juggling mommy duties, household duties, and having a little bit of (very) needed time to myself. This short list is certainly not all inclusive, but are five practical and easy ways to help manage your time and spend more of it with your kids.
1. Have a cleaning schedule. I hated this concept for so. long. Shuddered, really. I don't know what it was about it I didn't like. Maybe it was the idea of having to clean something everyday? Maybe it was that the way my mother did it might have... could have... been somewhat.... right? I'm not really sure about that one. Anyways. Mondays on my cleaning schedule there is nothing written. It's my "flex" day during the week. But if I don't have certain tasks lined up for the rest of the days of the week, then one day I realize that I haven't cleaned something in a long time (or can't remember the last time it was done) and feel like I have to do everything in one day. This is bad for me because a) I'm exhausted by midday b) my kids are cranky because their momma is kinda cranky and c) it's overwhelming. What works for me is cleaning one room each day, with daily small tasks incorporated throughout the day (dishes, picking up toys, etc). This is a great one, and you can definitely modify it for you and your family. Also, get your kids involved. My girls love using the stick vac and a wet rag to "help" clean with mommy :)
2. Take breaks in between doing things. I know that for me personally, if I find myself cleaning, picking up, or cooking for more than 15-20 minutes at a time I start to resent it and get burnt out. I enjoy a job well done and a hot meal (nothing better than a clean bathroom and a roast chicken in the crockpot!) but taking breaks really helps keep me motivated yet not over doing it throughout the day. I play princess dolls, read books or color with my kids. It's not really hard to play :)
3. Give yourself some time to do whatever you want. I need recharging time in the afternoon. If I don't have that, then I am usually not going to do well for the rest of the afternoon/evening. During that time, Piper lays down for her nap and Ruby has quiet boxes (a great resource for those are found here). They are so great for keeping my 3 year old busy while I browse the internet, eat chocolate, or both. This is "my" time that I look forward to every day.
4. Get up a few minutes early. This one is hard for me. Anyone else have this problem? I still get my 7-8 hours, but man. It's hard. Getting up 30 minutes before my kids normally do lets me shower, put on clothes, and makeup. If I do that, I am already ready and don't have an excuse to look (and feel) grungy throughout the day. Putting on clothes (other than sweatpants and a t shirt) and a little makeup go a long way for my self esteem and productivity level. I also am more awake when my kids get up, so I'm not stumbling into their room all groggy and sleepy. I go in singing a happy song and they love it :)
5. Don't be a slave to your schedule. Some days are great and I find that I can zip along doing things and the kids have great attitudes. Other days, notsomuch. This is when I take a deep breath, forget any preplanned activities and focus on my kids. Sometimes this is hard to do. Why would I want to stop doing something I had planned to deal with a disobedient toddler? Other days I just don't WANT to get up early. I tell myself its OK. It's normal and healthy. I don't want to do be so tied down to anything that I am constantly stressing myself and my family out because I didn't wash the windows/vacuum the living room/sweep the kitchen/whatever. It can wait and will be there tomorrow. My kids, however will be a day older. And I won't get today again.