Welcome to the How to Create a Family Life You Love series! This five-part series is going to help you reduce the overwhelm and eliminate the unessential. It’s going to help you take back control and create a life you don’t want to take a vacation from. I’m going to share with you lots of small and easy-to-follow steps you can take right now to make your family life a little bit less stressful and a whole lot more enjoyable. Follow the steps and you’ll be well on your way to living a family life you love before you know it!
The series lays the foundation for every other blog post that follows so it’s a great place to start if you’re new to the A Simple and Contented Life blog. In the last post I talked about the questions you should ask yourself BEFORE making any changes to your life (you can read it here). This post is part three and all about leading a happier family life. So are you ready?! Let’s dive in!
Part Three: Four Ways to Live a Happier Family Life
Do you love your family? Of course you do! But I bet there are aspects of family life that frustrate you and make it feel like hard work? Moments like when your kids still haven’t cleared up despite you asking them five times already. Moments where dinner and bathtime take forever and then you realise they have homework. You find yourself wishing it was bedtime already because they just won’t stop arguing or answering back. You try to spend time together on the weekends but something always gets in the way.
Sound familiar? As mums our families are our top priority. There is nothing we want more than for our family to be happy and to spend quality time with them. But it can be hard. Life is so busy and there is always something that needs doing, something else that needs our attention. So how do we find the balance? How do we make family life a little bit less stressful? Just how do we switch things up and find the time to spend quality time together? How do we live a happier family life? Here are a few ways you can take back control and begin creating a family life you love right now.
1. Appreciate the family life you already have
Whatever your family situation might be, whatever family life looks like to you, start with appreciating the family life you already have. It matters not whether you are a single mum or whether you are married. Maybe your children are all your own, maybe you have remarried and have stepchildren too. They could be toddlers or teenagers – they could be toddlers AND teenagers! Maybe you only see them on the weekend. Thing is, no two families are the same, everyone’s family is different.
If we’re really honest, family life is often far from perfect. There will be times where the kids fight and times where they just will not do as they’re told. That’s just how it is. You cannot all live under the same roof and expect to get on 24/7. But as frustrating as those times might be, the giggles, the smiles, the hugs, the times where they tell you they love you make it all worthwhile. Whilst they may not always show it, you are their world. They love you unconditionally and in their eyes, you are perfect. So whatever your situation, whatever shape or form it takes for you, pause to appreciate the family life you already have.
2. Use routines to make life run a little smoother
Life never stops. There are always a million and one things that need doing. Mornings are taken up with getting ready for school and cooking and cleaning gets in the way of play time. Weekends are taken up with jobs around the house. So how do you get things done and still find time for one another? By using routines.
Routines make life easier. They make the jobs we have to do become a habit so they take up less time in our thoughts. They make the house run smoother and stay tidier, giving us more time to spend with one another. What routines do you already have? Do they work for you – could you make them better? What other routines could you introduce to make life a little easier? Here are a few to try:
- School morning routine: Make sure everyone has had breakfast, cleaned their teeth, got dressed and made their beds before the TV goes on
- Housework routine: Create a cleaning plan and stick to it – do a load of washing every day, clean the bathrooms on the weekend, have everyone muck in
- Evening routine: Have everyone help clear up after dinner, clear the counters, load the dishwasher, put away toys, get clothes out for the following day, take tomorrow’s dinner out of the freezer
- Bedtime routine: Have a wind-down time and a set bedtime – make a rule that the longer it takes to do teeth and PJ’s, the less story/snuggle time there is
- Sunday planning routine: Take the time to plan out the week ahead, think about what you need to do, write your to do list, do a rough meal plan
3. Make spending time together a priority
We may feel like there is never any time to do anything but we all have the same 24 hours. Whether you work full-time, shifts or are a stay-at-home-mum, I guarantee you there are ways you can carve out more time to spend together. Look at everything you do and how you do it. Are there any little pockets where you can claw back some time? Lead a happier family life by making spending time together a priority. Think about the things you like doing together and make the effort to do them more often.
Here are a few ways you can carve out extra time:
- Get up earlier so you can have breakfast together
- Take five-minute breaks between housework, cooking and cleaning to play together
- Make it all hands on deck after dinner so there’s time to play or read before bedtime
- Limit screen time, use the time to do something together instead
- Make Friday (or Saturday) night family night
- Watch an hour of cartoons together first thing on a Saturday morning before doing anything else
- Encourage your kids to help out in the kitchen
- Let them help you around the home, wash the car, mow the lawn etc
- Be mindful of how you use your time on the weekends
4. Let the little things go
This one has been the toughest for me. Accepting my house doesn’t need to be 100% clean and tidy all the time has been a work in progress. Previously everything had to be perfect before I’d leave the house. The washing up had to be done and there had to be a load of washing in the machine. I’m ashamed to admit that even the sofa cushions had to be straight! It drove my Hubby crazy!
Learning to let the little things go can be tough but if you want to carve out more time with your family and you want life to be less stressful, this one is a must. I’m not saying you should forgo all housework, but it is ok to leave the vacuuming until tomorrow. If you had a choice between ironing or playing with your kids, what do you think they would choose?! It’s all about finding balance and prioritising what really matters. Your kids really don’t care if the ironing basket is overflowing – they just want your attention. So follow their lead, let the little things go and be more present. Trust me when I say that if I can do it, you can too!
A happier family life
Hopefully there is something you can take from this to start living a happier family life right now. Whenever you’re looking to make things less stressful and more enjoyable, try:
- Pausing to appreciate the family life you already have
- Using routines to make life run a little smoother
- Carving out quality time to spend with one another
- Letting the little things go
That’s it for part three. In the next post we’re going to take a look at a few ways you can love the home you live in a little bit more. I can’t wait to see you there! In the meantime don’t forget to download the FREE workbook that accompanies the series so you can start taking action right away.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this make sure you check out the rest of the posts in the series too. Let’s kick-start creating a family life you love right now!
- Part One: How to Love Your Life
- Part Two: Three Questions to Ask Yourself BEFORE Making Changes to Your Life
- Part Three: Four Ways to Live a Happier Family Life
- Part Four: Five Ways to Love the Home You Live In
- Part Five: How to Take Better Care of Yourself
Have you found this useful? What’s your biggest takeaway? What one thing could you action right now to make family life more enjoyable? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time…