Those damn blogs back in the day set me up. All the ethereal lighting on artfully arranged textiles, neatly filled Bento Box sections, and creative clothing/photography situations had me on Pinterest just a-planning and GRINNING about my time with 3 little girls.
Not with my demanding full-time job at the office and this close to an hour in traffic drive home. Not when I hate cooking and the kitchen. Not when I’m nursing one baby and the other 2 have things to get done before their bedtime. Not when I still gotta feed all of these people in my house something somewhat cohesive. Not with a non-functional core from severe diastasis recti aggravated by back-to-back pregnancies and c-sections. Not with the part-time work from home job also. Not when this load hasn’t been washed and I can’t find socks in that other load that needs to be folded. Not when Ruby has to now be at pre-k at 7:30am.
I got tools now though. It’s a work in progress but got dammit there is progress. I thought about putting pics in the post but I don’t want my actual notes on here and the app store ones are pointless so just visualize all of this in your mind palace.
Tool 1: The Ipad with the Apple Pencil has saved my life. I used to love a Paper Planner. I looked forward to lovingly selecting my new one each autumn. Differently colored pages. Maybe a vague but romantic screenprint on the paper. You know I got the fresh pack of colorful pens just waiting to color-code some shit. When Pearl arrived I could not keep up with a paper planner for shit. I NEEDED that information. But I couldn’t do an ugly and not always intuitive electronic calendar/planner either. The Ipad allows me to have the best of both worlds with the Apple Pen letting me write in my own handwriting, in different colors, on a calendar PDF that I saved (through the Notability app). Now I can keep up with everything and it’s nothing to erase and edit things as needed (unlike paper) but in MY handwriting and color-coding which helps the information actually stick in my brain (unlike a standard electronic planner).
Tool (App) 1A: The Notability app on the Ipad. Within this app I also save free PDFs I found online of monthly meal plans and other lists and long-term plans/goals that I use with the Apple Pen to write in my own handwriting.
Tool (App) 2: The Reminders app on the Iphone. This is one of those standard apps that come with the phone. I have broken down tasks to their most elementary, and set an alarm for when I need to remember to do them. I’m talking “Check Ruby’s homework binder (6pm alarm).” “Weekly Amazon order (once a week at noon).” So on. All the little things that can collectively add up and ruin your day if you forget them, I have a little reminder alarm set up for them. What I specifically love about this particular app is the reminder will show up on your lock screen until you go in and clear it. That lets me see immediately what I still have to do without having to unlock the phone and open an app and scroll through a bunch of other b.s., all of which would reduce the likelihood of me actually checking my to-do list.
Those are mandatory for my (and the household’s) sanity on a day-to-day basis. The ones below are not as necessary but have proven to be very helpful.
Tools (Apps) 3a-3c: Sticky Notes, Notes, Wunderlist. I use the Sticky Notes app for philosophies or mantras I want to keep in mind every day. For example, if I find myself getting impatient with one of the girls, I have some brief parenting philosophies to help re-center me. The Notes app is another built-in app on the Iphone. I use this as a catch-all for when I’m on the go and need to quickly jot some thought or something I need to remember to look into later, or if my girls say or do something funny I’ll put it in there to later add to my comprehensive Memories and Quotes books that I am working on for them. I used to use Evernote for this, but it got too glitchy. I use Wunderlist specifically as an event or packing to-do list. Like if we are spending an afternoon at a park, I’ll have a list for everything that needs to be packed for myself, my diabetic husband, and an infant/toddler/pre-k combo. I like this app specifically because I can touch the little box next to each item to “check” the box and the item disappears. That makes it easy to see what I have left so I don’t waste time reading redundant information and it makes it quick to grab what I need.
All these apps, used responsibly (ha) have made what is currently an extremely hectic life, somewhat organized, efficient, and simple. And lately, simplicity is what I crave. I simply do not have the time or energy for things that don’t result in some kind of favorable outcome for myself and my family, be it short or long-term.
In my next post, I will break down how I organize my days. I assign different parts of life maintenance to different days and I know on any given day what I am focusing my energy toward. This has proved invaluable to me and this stuff is transferable to other working moms, stay-at-home moms, or any person with an incredibly packed schedule and seemingly very little free time. Stay tuned.