Tips to be productive as a mom when you have three kids. You can organize and manage your day and love motherhood!
I have had several inquiries as to how I get stuff done around the house with three kids.
So here is an updated version of my previous post, which I wrote when I had two children. Many of the same principles apply, so be sure to see How I Get Stuff Done for further details.
How 3 Kids is Different than 2 Kids
Life with three is of course busier than life with two. I don’t find three children more difficult than two children, but I do find that my brain is more stretched as I try to balance all three in my head.
I also, of course, have less time each day to accomplish things that I need to. Every child takes time, and that time comes from somewhere.
Now, it is getting a bit better as the children get older. Brayden (5) has recently started getting ready in the morning 100% by himself. That really frees me up.
Kaitlyn (3) can get dressed by herself, although she is still quite slow about it, so it doesn’t free my time at all.
Of course, as children get older, they do start to add things to your day. Things like sports, music lessons, school (including homework), etc.
So while time can free up in some aspects, that time is typically put right back into the child in another form. That’s parenthood :).
How To Be Productive with 3 Kids
My general tips for being productive remain the same.
Lists are even more of a life saver for me. It makes it more likely that I will balance things in my head. I have several types of lists. I have a whiteboard in my office that has personal things I want done.
I outline which blog posts I will be writing for each blog, I outline the cleaning I plan to do that week, I outline outside tasks that need to be done (like gardening), I outline other various things I need to do on the computer or in the office, and I also outline my craft goals (scrapbooking, sewing, etc.). This helps me not get sucked into the computer and stay productive.
I also have a little 4×6 notebook where I write my daily list of things to do. It is a running list I add to and cross off. Once a page is full, I rip it out and throw it away.
I also have a large calendar my Mom gave me from Flylady. It has plenty of space to write down weekly appointments and places to be.
I also write down significant events (like McKenna’s tooth coming in). That way I don’t have to remember that on top of everything else I am remembering. I am freeing up brainpower :).
Make Manageable Goals
I still work with manageable goals. My lists provide this for me.
I try to not set time deadlines unless one is necessary. I just have a list of things I want done so that when I have time, I can do them.
Let Things Go
I have also had to let some things go. The most prevalent area I see this is in crafting–especially during busy summer months.
Not only is the summer busy with activities, but I have a large yard and garden to care for on top of my house.
At first, this lack of time for crafting was causing me stress because there are so many things I want to make.
But I had to come to accept that I didn’t have time for all of that. I would just have to have my list of things to make and I would make them as I have time.
I have accepted that it is just too hard to get a lot of crafts completed with three children.
Now, I love to do crafts, so I haven’t given them up completely. I still do them–and make an effort to spend some time doing something crafty each day. But I just can’t spend as much time on crafts as I have been able to in the past.
Daily Scripture Study
Another important thing is that I still do my scripture study in the morning before any children are up. If I don’t do this in the morning, I don’t do it at all. It leaves my mind. I am a firm believer in that if you put the Lord first, He will help you do what you need to.
How To Keep Your House Clean with 3 Kids
I still have many of the same policies here. I still try to keep my house presentable–especially the area guest will usually see.
But I want a clean home all around. So I work for a presentable state.
But I can’t follow the kids around all day long–other wise that is all I will do all day. So I have some times things are cleaned up.
I do my daily cleaning task first thing in the morning. I also do any other cleaning I want done first thing in the morning. Some days this is before breakfast and some days after the kids are all ready for the day.
I try to empty the dishwasher each morning so that I can add dishes to the dishwasher after each meal. This isn’t always possible because the dishwasher isn’t always full enough to have ran the night before, but most days this works out.
After each meal, Brayden (5) and Kaitlyn (3) are required to clear their things off the table and help clear everything else off the table.
Now, this is something that requires you to grit your teeth and brace for messes.
Brayden is old enough he rarely has mishaps as he is cleaning up. Kaitlyn is getting much better, but for a while she often spilled milk and other things on the floor as she cleared the table.
You have to remember that it is part of learning and that she will get better and soon be a real contribution to the clean-up process.
I include the children in a daily chore each day. They help sort and fold laundry. They help dust. They help clean the bathrooms. They wash windows, clean running boards, help unload the dishwasher, help empty garbages, etc.
After dinner, my husband usually helps finish loading the dishwasher. We have the kitchen all clean.
Before bed each night, the whole family helps clean up the childrens’ rooms and the family room area. We put everything away. With the whole family helping, it doesn’t take more than 15 minutes.
These simple steps really make everything much easier to manage. Brayden is a big help, and Kaitlyn is at the point to where she is contributing in a helpful way, also. It takes some extra work for a bit, but soon your child will be able to really help.
My current daily cleaning schedule is:
- Monday=laundry day
- Tuesday =dust
- Wednesday=pick up clutter in entire house
- Thursday=clean bathrooms
- Friday=floors (mopping)
- Saturday=floors (vacuuming)/outside work
I also have my Deep Cleaning List I work from to clean as I have time.
I also started a Photo Cleaning room of the day in one of the online groups I am in. Each day, you take a before picture, clean the room, and take an after picture. Then you post your pictures. It motivates you to clean the room really well because you are taking a picture of it.
How To Make Dinner With 3 Kids
Something I didn’t cover in my previous post was anything about cooking or meals.
My husband isn’t home for breakfast or lunch, so those two meals are simple meals. They are meals that require 30 minutes or less of prep. We keep it simple.
For dinner, there are a couple of things I do to make things easier on myself.
One is that I plan out at least 7 meals before I go grocery shopping, along with two quick alternatives. I created a menu planner to help me out with this. Then I have the ingredients and the ideas.
As I plan meals, I choose some that are slowcooker meals. I love those. They make it so I can get dinner ready during nap time.
I also choose some that are simple, and some that are new because I like trying new recipes. I also have some more time consuming meals that we love.
Each morning, I decide what we will have that day. I decide that based on what we are doing that evening and what I feel like doing that day.
I decide in the morning so if I need to start a slowcooker meal, defrost meat, or make roll dough, I can work that into my day.
It is no fun to plan on having rolls with dinner and then get to an hour before dinner time and realize you didn’t make the dough (I have done that before).
My Daily Schedule with 3 Kids
Our schedule is pretty relaxed right now due to summer. In a few months, I will have to do another post because school will require a more consistent schedule. For now, it looks like this.
- 6:30: I get up. I exercise. I read my scriptures. Then I shower. Now, I exercise before reading my scriptures because I dislike exercising, and if I read first I know I will talk myself out of exercising. I have to just get up and do it while groggy.
- 7:10: Brayden gets up about this time. Once I am done reading my scriptures, he and I read an article from a magazine he gets that is published by our church. All but about three of the articles each month are too old for Kaitlyn and McKenna, so that is why we read without them. Brayden then goes to his bathroom and showers and I go to mine and shower. We both get ready.
- 8:00: I each breakfast and check my email. I eat breakfast before the other three because most of the time I am feeding McKenna still.
- 8:30: Children eat breakfast. After McKenna is done with me feeding her, I give her a spoon with some Cheerios in a bowl with milk and she happily eats away. I unload the dishwasher and reload breakfast dishes. I will then clean the kitchen if needed and read the newspaper.
- 9:15ish: We will often do some music time at the piano, though not every day. We get the girls ready. We do chores. We then go for a walk/bike ride most days.
- 10:45 McKenna goes down for a nap. Kaitlyn has independent play. Brayden will do some learning activity things. I will make sure my post published (most days, my post doesn’t publish automatically like it is supposed to), write posts, answer questions, check email, etc. Kaitlyn gets out of independent play around 12:00. Then she and Brayden play together. I am starting to implement a silent reading time where Brayden and I read our own books silently in the same room for about 20 minutes–so we often do this before Kaitlyn gets up.
- 12:30: McKenna gets up and we all have lunch. We then clean lunch up. The three children play for a bit. Then McKenna goes to independent play. Brayden goes to rest time. Kaitlyn goes to nap. I do crafts during this time.
- 2:30ish: McKenna goes to nap. By now, Brayden is usually getting up from rest time and starting his independent play time. I will then do whatever needs to be caught up on. I might have more computer time, more craft time, or more cleaning time. I also will read sometimes. After Brayden is done, he and I will often play a video game together. Then it is time to get dinner ready.
- 5:30ish: eat dinner. Family time.
- 8:00-8:30: All kids are in bed. My husband and I might have some tasks to finish up. We might also just relax. We spend time together.
- 10:30-11:30: I go to bed.
Outside work is thrown in there somewhere, and that varies on the weather. If it is hot, I squeeze it in the morning sometime. If it is not hot, I will do it in the afternoon.
I usually do a large chunk of outside work on Saturday because my husband spends most of the day outside so I can be out with him.
This schedule will definitely change quite a bit in the next few months as Brayden is in school in the mornings and as McKenna should go to one nap sometime soon.
So there you have it. This is my rough outline of each day. Getting stuff done with three kids is definitely doable, but of course there are hard days where it seems nothing goes to plan. Keep at it and try again tomorrow!