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If keeping up with paperwork was hard before kids, the challenges multiply as your family grows. What’s a mom to do? I took to Instagram for the best organizing tips for moms with ADD.
When it comes to organizing tips for moms with ADD, the common challenges tend to be: laundry, kids’ school stuff and meal planning. A common theme in these tips is the re-framing of their significance and/or the ability to break the task into smaller chunks. The ability to recharge is critical as well.
Organizing Tips for Moms With ADD
- Don’t Fold All The Things
Professional organizer Susan Pinsky tells ADDitude magazine to not waste time folding things like undergarments. She also recommends eliminating as many steps as possible, as laundry is arguably the worst task possible for ADHD’ers. So much so that she goes as far as suggesting outsourcing or delegating. More of Susan’s tips
Full disclosure: I don’t fold anymore. I broke up with folding about a year or so ago, and at first I was just laying clothes out (or leaving them clean in the hamper). Then Marie Kondo came around and I started buying cute little boxes to roll my and my daughter’s stuff … of which we have much less of now. I can’t explain why, but it works. So, the bottom line is do what works for you … and that can be anything from eschewing folding completely or becoming a roller!
- Talk To Yourself & Record It
Dr. John Taylor recommends that you start the day off slowly so that you have time to collect your thoughts or even meditate. From personal experience, even though I don’t have a child in school, this sets me off on the right foot for all the things involved with a toddler. As far as to-do items, Dr. Taylor offers that you could make voice recordings to yourself the night before of what you need to do the next morning. More tips from Dr. Taylor
Other popular methods of accomplishing this include brain dumps or morning pages. Others use bullet journaling to get clear on the day. The method doesn’t matter as much as the action: you are setting the tone of the day by setting intentions. And even if you don’t accomplish those intentions, you have greatly increased your chances by defining them.
- Pay A Little More For Convenience
Refrain from feeling the pressure to cook a gourmet meal from scratch every single night. Make peace with spending a little extra money for a lot more convenience. This could be in the form of pre-prepared produce or curbside pickup. Or it could even mean meal kits or buying family dinners pre-made. There is no shame here as long as your family is eating well most of the time.
It took me a very long time to get good with this tip. Growing up with modest means, it felt frivolous to buy pre-made dinners or even pre-prepped ingredients. Now I am seeing it for what it is: we are allowed to do what it takes to get through momming with ADHD. If spending a little extra for a little peace of mind is the trade-off, I’d much rather than the snowball effect of living in chaos and anxiety every day.
- Take It 15 Minutes At A Time
We can’t talk about home organization without talking about FlyLady. Her secret weapon for organizing the clutter around the home is taking it 15 minutes at a time. This is especially key for de-cluttering. While clutter experts such as Marie Kondo recommend doing your decluttering in one fell swoop, it’s not realistic for many of us with ADHD. More on 15 minutes at a time
I take 15 minutes to the next level and use it for exercise. There is no way I’m going to hit the trail if I know I’ve set myself up to walk 3 miles. However, 90% of the time I am totally up for 15 minutes, which turns to even longer on those rare occasions that I don’t have to be somewhere. It really is an approach you can apply to almost anything.
- Get YOU In Order Before The House
The old oxygen mask cliche is one for a reason: you need to get yourself ready before you can worry about the house and the kids. This means washing up, getting dressed and – yes – taking those meds! For many, this starts with a night-before routine in which everything is set out for the next day. It may even mean going to bed earlier or waking up earlier.
Some people say “don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee”. I’m the same way about my meds; after washing my face and brushing my teeth, they’re at the very top of the list or else there’s hell to pay. I find taking care of myself increasingly important as I navigate the toddler years – I need to be at the top of my game to compete with that level of madness!
- Always Have An Easy Meal In The Freezer
I talk at length about frozen meats and my love affair with the Instant Pot. This is all for good reason: when you’re expending so much headspace on everything else in the world, do you really want to waste any energy on meal planning? More about meal planning with ADHD
Along with frozen meats, I always try to have frozen veggie steamer bags and easy-to-make sides on-hand. And lest you feel guilty about all these shortcuts, you’re saving the money you’d spend and the trans fats you’d consumed if you got drive-thru instead.
- Skip The All Or Nothing Thinking
Back to FlyLady’s 15 minutes at a time trick, this works because she isn’t setting herself up for decluttering her entire house OR failing miserably. By giving yourself little milestones at a time, you can build progress over time instead of crashing and burning. More about all-or-nothing thinking
Fun fact: all-or-nothing thinking is also one of the most common cognitive distortions out there. How many others can you identify in this list? Personally, I’m a pro at catastrophizing and should statements as well as all-or-nothing thinking.
- Do Laundry As You Go
This one’s from my Grandma, and it took years to finally put into practice. Instead of letting laundry collect over the week (or longer), wash clothes as you go throughout the week. It’s less to wash, less to fold, less to put away in little chunks versus doing an entire mountain of laundry over the weekend.
On the flip side, if you do blow it and end up with a mountain of laundry, I have found that going to the laundromat and using industrial-sized washers and dryers can be especially helpful. If you’re going to be stuck doing it all at once, at least this gets you in and out quicker. In fact, if you find a nice and clean one with coffee and wifi, it can be a nice break away from the kid(s) if you can swing it.
- Stack Your Tasks
Don’t waste that Netflix binge! If you’re super busy with a house and kids, make a deal with yourself to fold or exercise during your Netflix binges. Or, if you’re doing dishes, use that time to catch up on your favorite podcast. Also, housekeeping totally counts as exercise – be sure to log that stuff if you’re tracking your activity.
I take it a bit further and stack entertaining my daughter with exercise time. Not that I don’t value time with my kid regardless, but it helps me stay engaged and motivated knowing I’m also getting, for example, the health benefits of moving around outside in addition to watching my daughter on playground equipment. That’s a task that can be sometimes be pretty boring for me, but stacking it with another task can help take some of the monotony out of it.
- Declare Do Nothing Time
On the flip side, you may decide to declare your Netflix time as sacred ground and absolutely do nothing but binge ice cream. This is totally okay! The point is to come up with a plan ahead of time and know your limits. A good, lazy Netflix binge can be quite productive if it lets you return to your regularly scheduled life fully refreshed.
And this is really the most important of them all – if you can’t get in that time to recharge, the rest of your tasks won’t stand a chance. If you’re like me, you’ll quickly fall into overwhelm mode, which can even lead to increased anxiety or depression. By comparison, a little Netflix and ice cream suddenly doesn’t seem so bad.