How to Simplify Life as a Working Mom

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Simplifying life. It’s a hard thing to describe.

I sometimes find it easier to think about the opposite of a simplified life - a complicated life.

To me, a complicated life is one where schedules are over-committed, without any sense of rhythm, where life at home is bursting at the seams with stuff, with projects, and activity, and where there’s no real purpose and no rhyme or reason to the way we’re living.

Sounds overwhelming. But to many working moms, it also sounds familiar.

I can remember a time when my evenings and weekends were constantly booked, with work events, with projects, with travel, and activities. When I had so much stuff, I was constantly losing important papers, clothes that I swear I had just worn, and toys that were SO IMPORTANT to my kids. When I was floating from day-to-day, not really sure of what kind of life I wanted to create, or who I was in it.

The idea of simplifying life? That sounded AMAZING. But if it’s hard to define, how could I actually achieve it?

4 Areas of Life

What if the lack of a definition was actually the perfect thing? What if simplifying life could look different for each of us? What if it could meet us where we are and help us move just a foot in that direction?

Looking at the big picture, there are 4 areas of your life that you can consider when thinking about how to simplify that will give you the most impact:

  • You can simplify your environment (aka stuff)

  • You can simplify your schedule

  • You can simplify your relationships (with others, with yourself)

  • You can simplify your expectations

But even having life narrowed down to these 4 areas, there is SO MUCH packed into each and everyday that it’s overwhelming to know where to start.

Where to Begin

One of the first areas I always start with my clients is in doing an audit of a typical day for you. Take any given Monday and jot down everything that you do. Next, we dissect that time log looking for a number of things, but one thing we’re looking for, in particular, is any part of the day that feels challenging. An activity that causes you anxiety, that creates stress or overwhelm, or that leads to tense interactions with those around you.

THAT is where we start.

When I last did this exercise myself, I came up with 3 parts of my days that were extremely challenging and stressful. They were:

  • Getting out the door in the morning

  • Wrapping up my work day

  • Dinner

So I thought about how I could make those things more simple. How could I make my own life easier?

For the morning, I decided to do several things.

I pared down my wardrobe to a simple color palette and fewer pieces of clothing - a uniform if you will. Wearing the same type of outfit significantly reduces decision fatigue and shortens my time for getting ready in the morning. Boring? Maybe to you. But to me, it’s been freeing.

{I’m working on paring down my kids’ wardrobes as well. They already like to wear their “favorite” clothes. Why do they need to dig through everything else to get to what they want?}

I also started packing my lunch the night before and I cut my make-up and hair routine in half.

Wrapping up my Work Day

This came down to resetting my expectations for what I could get done. I started scheduling my tasks into my calendar and cut down my to-do list each day so I’m guaranteed, at a minimum, to accomplish what I set out to do that day. It makes wrapping up my day SO MUCH more enjoyable because I feel good about what I’ve done.

Dinner

Well, dinner has been an ongoing experiment. I’ve tried meal delivery services, ordering take-out more, meal prepping on the weekends, and flying by the seat of my pants. While I continue to fine tune what works for us, I have learned this. I don’t care as much as I thought I did about how nice my meal is. My family just needs to be fed, and we need to all need to sit down together. As long as those things are happening, the actual food doesn’t really matter. Resetting my expectations, and letting myself off the hook has been HUGE in the way of simplifying my life.

The How

Once you’ve identified those problem areas of your day, you get to decide how you’re going to simplify.

You can:

  • Create a routine that automates the thing or makes it go more smoothly.

  • Eliminate it entirely - whether that’s “stuff” or an activity.

  • Change how you think about it.

It can really be that simple. Once you see how much more enjoyable life can be with addressing those particular problem areas of your day, you’ll be inspired to move onto other things. Maybe it’s purging excess “stuff”, maybe it’s scaling back on commitments, maybe it’s letting go of expectations around a particular event. The options are endless, and the process is never-ending. But that’s what makes it so exciting.

I challenge you to do a time audit and pick even JUST ONE area to simplify. Think about how you’re going to do that (automate, eliminate, or change how you think about it) and commit to it for a month.

Want to simplify more than just ONE? I can help. My 1:1 signature coaching process helps busy, working moms take back their time, be more present with their kids, and get back to doing more of the things that they love. Simplifying life is a huge piece of the process. Let me know if you’d like to learn more.