Habits are those things we do reflexively. Without stopping to think about them or figure out how. Because of that, they don't require much brain power. That makes habits incredibly powerful for helping people get through the day in the most productive way possible. For incredibly busy moms, the more we simplify our days, the better.
I've studied the most successful moms to try to identify ten things that they do as a matter of habit, and have distilled them into the following list. But first it is to important to clarify what I mean by the "most successful moms." They are not moms whose kids are straight A students or those moms who are working full time, raising four kids, living in a spotless home and volunteering 16 hours each week. Rather, these are simply the moms who identify themselves as successful. Moms who feel like they are on top of their game more often than they feel like they are at the bottom of the heap.
Here's what those moms do.
- Go to Bed. Most nights, they get at least seven hours of sleep.
Get Up. They get up before their kids. Why? I believe because it gives a mom a few minutes to transition from the quiet world of her dreams to the hectic world of her reality. Move. While few moms are exercising every day, those who are most successful make some kind of physical activity part of their day at least three times each week. Floss. They floss. (Nope, I'm not kidding; research says they floss.) Cubbies are King. They have a designated place in their house -- usually right by the door where their family comes in -- where shoes, coats, boots and backpacks get deposited when everyone returns home. This cuts down on the clutter and mess, reduces the instances of "mommy, I can't find my shoes" and it gives a sense of control in the chaos. They Don't Go It Alone. The most successful moms prioritize their relationships and spend between one and three hours with their friends each week, while moms who feel they are less successful report spending just an hour or less with friends. Facetime over Facebook. While they are engaged on social media, they spend less time there than their less successful peers -- averaging 1-2 hours each day as compared to 3-4 hours. Sup-Sup-Supertime. They sit down to dinner with their families an average of five times each week and site communication with their kids as one of the keys to parenting success. My Name is ... No. Moms who feel more successful are far more likely to say no when asked to do something they really don't want to do, while moms who feel less successful are more likely to consider themselves "bad at saying no."Just Don't Look Under the Bed. They keep their homes clean but not spotless with the majority reporting "my house is pretty clean but just don't look under the beds" while less successful moms are more likely to report that "more often than not, there are dirty dishes in the sink, dust on the shelves and footprints on the floor."
I know, I know ... you were looking for the one magic bullet -- the one thing you can do to transform the chaos that is the daily life of motherhood. Sadly, the magic bullet doesn't exist. But if you identify two of these habits that are not currently part of your life and add them to your daily routine, you will start to see a shift. And all we can do is try to get better every day, right?