How do I manage 3 kids?! In case you are new here, I went from being a mom of 1 to a mom of 3 on September 8, 2020.
Being a mom of 2 newborns and spending a majority of my time remote schooling my 5-yr old, I can tell you it’s been “trial by fire” these last 4 months. Not only because of this major life change but primarily because of COVID.
After birth, there were no hospital visits. When my boys were in the NICU for a month, we had to go through hurdles to see them every day due to security procedures. Then there was me caring for 2 newborns and remote schooling for awhile…
Fast forward to my 2nd week back to work, even though daycare was in place for the littles, my kindergartener had to be remote-schooled again while we waited for someone in her school to be tested for COVID (they were negative, yay!).
It’s been a weird and random rollercoaster, yet some things are working in my life that I feel are worthy of this post to help anyone manage their schedule (or a household).
Let’s look at my top 3 tips to manage 3 kids in the following categories.
Here we go!
Time is such an important resource we often take for granted. I know it’s important for me to manage my time with these tricks, otherwise, I’d be late, burnt out, and not prepared for work or life…
1. Preparation: The night before I get as much as I can be prepared. I have a checklist that goes something like this:
–Daughter: Clothes for school, backpack packed, snacks ready for after school, shoes, and coat ready by the door
–Twins: Bottles ready for daycare, clothes for school, car seats up in the bedroom (I bring extra clothes and diapers to daycare each week so I don’t have to bring anything during the week)
–Me: Outfit ready for next day down to the makeup I’m wearing, work bag packed, pump bag packed (I breastfeed), lunch/snacks ready, dinner ingredients prepped.
If there are activities or other appointments, I have anything needed for those by the door so I do not forget. This is so the next day, I have nothing to think about while I’m at home. Everything’s ready to go before I leave and after I come home.
2. Buffer: I buffer time in my calendar because I know things come up and take longer than expected, like all the time. So when I schedule appointments back to back, I still schedule a 15min buffer in between. This way I have enough time to go to the bathroom, stand up for a dance break, whatever. I also buffer in the mornings. I make sure I’m getting everyone out 10 minutes before we actually need to get out. This is especially important if you have kids or pets…the dog needs to be let out last minute, a kid needs to use the potty, you forgot to put on your eyebrows…buffer!
3. 10-minute Boundaries: I set boundaries with start and end times around everything. For example, when I meet with clients, I remind them we have 10 minutes left so we can start wrapping up. When I’m on the phone with someone who’s a talker, I’ll let them know I have 10 mins left before I need to go. With my daughter, she knows when I give the “10-minute” warning, that means she needs to do whatever she needs to do and get downstairs. I even use this rule with myself if I’m having a bad day. I’ll give myself 10 minutes to vent to someone and then I move on so my energy gets focused on more positive things.
I’m all about systems whether for my home or in my business. Since becoming a mom, I’ve learned that anything that saves me time is worth it! I don’t remember how I lived without digital check deposits, Door Dash, or a smartphone! Here are the top 3 tools I use every day to make my life easier…
- Meistertask: This is a program I use heavily in my home and business. You can upload files, chat, and create to-do lists for various projects. I have my home and business as different projects on my business account. It also integrates with my Google Calendar and is very customizable to different projects, tracking kid activities, etc. If you have a smartwatch, let’s say your partner picks up the bread and checks it off the list, you’ll get an instant notification right away! This is how we keep the ship afloat for my business and home, so that’s why it’s #1. Here’s what it looks like with a school assignment example:
Get more info on Meistertask here, USE CODE: LDBA for a discount!
- Google Calendar/Alarms: My Google calendar is where I keep track of all appointments for my entire family. Each person has their own color. Any outside appointments like medical or errands are a color. Projects and work tasks from Meistertask are another color. For important things I cannot miss, I set a notification that goes right to my apple watch.
- Quick Meals: Besides prepping my meal ingredients the night before, I use my Instant Pot heavily 4/5 weeknights. The Instant Pot literally replaced 4 appliances I used to have: my crockpot, steamer, air fryer, and rice cooker. The best part is if you don’t want to use the slow cook feature, you can pressure cook or sautee like make meals in literally minutes. I literally throw ingredients in and 8-10mins later it’s done after cooking itself. It air-fries frozen foods like chicken nuggets in 8 minutes! Rice in 4 minutes! This has been the best investment in my kitchen to manage dinner. Check it out here.
Managing 3 kids would not be possible without support. My husband and I tag-team every day based on each of our schedules. Sometimes it’s not easy, especially now. We usually talk about the next day the night before to make sure we are on the same page, know each other’s schedule, and who will have the kids. We used to talk about the whole week, but this lovely 2020 that doesn’t end has changed that. It’s important to stay connected as a team so the kids understand what the plan is for the next day. Sometimes they are going to mommy’s office or daddy’s home office and need to know what is expected of them.
- Family/Friends: Having family and family and friends who offer to help without asking is the best! However, when you are trapped, it’s good to know who you can count on! I recommend keeping a list of people who can help with kids last minute or give you some time to yourself or with a special someone.
- Self-Care: This comes 2nd, arguably could be 1st, however when I’m managing kids-my kids come first before me most of the time, so here we are #2…self-care is not hygiene like taking a shower or sitting on the royal throne to leave a royal poop! Self-care is taking care of yourself in a way that brings you joy. Hey, if pooping brings you joy, please…carry on. Whether it’s walking, hanging with friends, or snuggling up to a good book…make the time because you will be, whoever you are…a better manager, a better person, or a parent for it!
- Expectations: Communicating to yourself in others is an important way to support yourself. If you’re leaving your pet or kids with someone, for example, let them know what you expect. If you are coordinating kids carpools, let other parents know expectations like picking up their kid on time or what days will be their days to carpool. Be as specific as possible with any expectations…communicate what you need, what you expect in the most grateful way possible to ensure continued support.
So there you have it! My Tricks, Tools, and Support I use to manage my party of 5 household. I hope these ideas help you effectively manage your family, your life, or just make your day easier.