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2017 was a big year for my family and, to a larger extent, a big year for ME. I called it the Year of Jaymi, and I spent the year finding the best ways to relax, to indulge, and to carve out time for myself. I bullet journaled, I drank fancy coffee, I went on trips with my friends, and I took on two side jobs that helped me to put my unique talents to work in a way that brought more joy to my life. And it was AMAZING.
And also? It was busy. Really, really busy.
So how did I fit those extra jobs, side hustles, and self-care into my slam-packed, childcare and housework filled days? It took planning and mindfulness on a daily basis, but I found that “having it all” was easier than I thought once I started my day off with a fresh routine. And the best part is? You can do it, too. Here’s my tips for starting your day with a BANG. Continue reading “Starting Your Day Like A #MomBoss”→
Let’s preface this one by saying- you don’t HAVE to be creative just because you’re a mama. Your parties don’t have to have carefully paper-crafted banners. Your kids’ sandwiches can be sandwich-shaped, your kids water cups don’t have to be personalized with vinyl, you don’t have to make your own home décor, and you CERTAINLY don’t have to sew your daughter thematic skirts for every holiday.
Like a lot of new moms out there, I found myself in a bit of a slump after settling in to life as a mom of two. Not in a clinical sense for me, but in an existential crisis kind of way. Who was I, beyond my life as a mother? What were my goals, what were my individual interests, what did I want for my life? With a baby and a preschooler who decided to give up napping, my life as a stay at home mom had changed drastically. There were no double naps anymore, no break for me during the day, and certainly no time for myself. I was a little bit adrift, and a little bit lost, and I just needed SOMETHING to get me back on track. Enter: The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.
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As followers of the blog know, Christine and I are BIG fans of bullet journaling. We love the organization it provides, we love the pretty trackers and layouts, and we LOVE the supplies. It was everything I wanted from a planner system- until it wasn’t.
The number one question I always got asked about Bullet Journaling was, “But doesn’t that take up a lot of time?” And the short answer is yes, it does. Creating weekly layouts, monthly calendars, elaborate trackers- all of these things take up precious time. And as long as you’re enjoying the time spent making those things, it doesn’t feel like work at all.
But then Lila started elementary school, Abe became a person with his own activities to keep up with, and I got the part-time job of my dreams. There were blogging deadlines and birthdays to remember and things to buy. And spending time making pretty weekly spreads suddenly went WAY down on my priority list. I needed something with better functionality, but that still left room for the things I loved most about bullet journaling.
As I’ve mentioned, I love me some bujo (bullet journaling). And God bless Pinterest for giving me all kinds of awesome inspiration – it’s a FABULOUS resource when you’re looking for monthly or weekly spreads, list ideas and trackers, ALL the trackers! But I have noticed a serious lack of bullet journal spreads for Moms. So today I’ve got some tips for Moms that bujo and a couple page ideas I hope you’ll love!
Pick a weekly spread that is realistic.
I had to go through a few spreads before I found something that was functional for me, and that I could keep up with. Do not give up if you haven’t found yours yet. There is something for everyone – that’s one of the awesome things about bullet journaling.
I started with this. Because it’s beautiful. And it’s got all the detail I could ever want in my life. I was gonna track my steps and my water and what I ate for every meal and snack and the WEATHER and I customized it a little so that I could have a cute little section at the bottom of each day to write something about each kid. Holy overkill, Batman. Check out how much I didn’t finish – and that was just the first three days. I fell off that one FAST.
Then I tried this spread which little less info…I was only tracking one meal a day (better) I added some trackers for housework (for the record I did more than this, just didn’t track it) and health habits and then realized I hate daily trackers. I did like the little To-Do list and I thought it was an attractive layout, but after a few weeks I was over this one too. I still needed to simplify or this wasn’t going to be fun anymore.
Then I went SIMPLE. And I LOVED it. Big ol’ blocks where I could write everything and a bonus space where I could add a family saying, something cute the kids did, etc. In the middle space I would write what I was reading, watching, anything over-arching for the week. I kept this spread up for a couple of months and then only switched it up for something different – but at least I’d found the kind of spread that works for me. Once you do, I promise it will improve your bujo satisfaction by like 500%.
Mom Friendly Pages
With three kids, I have fallen off the baby book bandwagon. Hard. When I had two, I would say, “Cole was born at 10:56 in the morning. Evie was born at night.” With three? It got even worse. I did one of those Line a Day books with Cole that I kept up for like a year. With Evie I had little notes and post its and stuff in my pockets and purse and always was totally going to write them down somewhere permanent. With Izzie, I have just accepted that Facebook memories are going to remember for me. If Facebook shuts down I’m screwed.
Now I do often have a spot in my weekly spread to write a little something about each kid – whether daily or weekly. But it’s very open ended, and I know there are going to be a billion things I wish I remembered! So, inspired by Back to School printables with likes and dislikes and other kid info, I made a simple chart I can fill out for all the kids at the end of the month. Because like with the weekly spread style, I have to find a balance of what’s reasonable for me to commit to – and so far this feels good. I set it up at the beginning of the month so I can fill in as things happen or cram at the end. (Let’s face it – I cram at the end!)
How to Measure Which Kid is Your Favorite
Okay at the risk of tooting my own horn (toot! toot!) this is probably my favorite thing I’ve ever bujo’d. I was in a dark place with my baby’s sleep patterns. She was up. all. night. And then the other ones were getting up so early. (Or at least it felt early at the time). I felt like I had to channel my frustration with her into something tangible.
Enter: Kids Sleeping In Chart. As you can see, Evie, my little lavender dot, was clearly my favorite child that month. It was neck and neck for Cole and Izzie for a while, but Izzie had those God Awful open circles (which means she woke up but I eventually got her back to sleep). It was a silly chart, but the kids and I had fun doing it – every morning they would help get their colors and watch when I put their dots. Evie will still find the page and point to hers and say, “That’s me Mama?” Yep, my lovely little sleeper, that’s. you.
The cruel irony is that when I made that page – I thought the kids were getting up early. But these days they mostly get up in the 5:00 hour…..so I’m thinking it might be time to figure out which one’s my favorite again 😉
What kind of bullet journal spreads would you love to see to help you as a Mom?
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When I was in high school, my 10th grade History teacher made us all take our notes in a spiral notebook – the bane of lefties everywhere, but I digress – and part of our assignment was that we had to make them artistic. Whether it was doodling in the margins, using markers for headings or drawings, or trying different handwriting fonts, we were to do something to enhance our notes. The idea was that it would engage us more and we would retain the information better. There were groans from much of the class but I started to fantasize about the markers I was going to ask my Mom to get for me. I loved making the pages beautiful and making my notes come to life with my drawings – bad as they probably were. I’m no artist, but that wasn’t the point. The point was to connect in an artistic way.
I’m grateful for that teacher that made us make that artistic component a priority. As the years went by, the markers fell by the wayside. There wasn’t much room for doodles in college and grad school. Working life presented even fewer opportunities to play artist. Then came parenthood….I looked forward to getting to bust out thick coloring books with my kids, opening a new box of Crayolas and running my fingers across my old friends. Reality was harsh. My perfect pages were quickly destroyed enhanced by my small assistants. Unhappy to stay on the perfectly good coloring books I gave them, they wanted to “help” me with mine. I soon realized this was not going to be the fantasy I had….I gave up. We made coloring a team project. Crayons went outside the lines, trees were purple, dogs had rainbow stripes, the ocean was orange. And I was going crazy inside.
I needed something for ME.
Enter: Bullet journaling.
Part day planner, part LIFE planner, part coloring, I am living for my bujo (what the cool kids call the bullet journal). I would LOVE to dedicate about an hour a day to making it beautiful, but alas reality is more like carving out 15 minutes to dedicate to it’s pages. Some days I can be more creative other days I just have to get my grocery list down before I forget everything. There’s a TON of info out there about bullet journaling, so we’re going to focus on what has worked for us! You’ll have to play around to find out what works for you ?
So, here are my basics:
I use a Classic Notebook from May Designs. It’s available in a larger size as well, but I like the classic because it’s small enough for me to toss into basically any purse. I use my bujo as a very functional journal that goes everywhere with me, so that’s important for my use. You’ll want to get the dot grid for the inside which will help you draw your calendars, lists, basically anything. I love the May Designs books because there are TONS of seriously stunning prints available for your cover and you can personalize your book with your monogram, family name, at home company, etc. I probably spent about three hours trying to decide what I want my covers to look like, but that’s because (a) Libra and (b) there are just that many cute choices.
I mentioned I am a color junkie, so I go big and use markers. These triplus fineliner Staedtlers have been my favorite so far. I use these basically like pens. I also like to have something with a thicker tip for coloring and decorating, so I use these Duo Tip Staedtlers for that. Now, this FREAKED ME OUT when I started. Because I’m also a little anal about things being perfect. And when you eff up with markers you’re just screwed. So I just decided to be perfect all the time. Wait, no, that is the opposite of what happened. I messed stuff up. Not a lot, but definitely more than I’d like. And for a hot second it stressed me out. But then I was like, who cares? No one else is going to see this! Well, until now.
Yikes. That hurts.
But the beauty is I can get used to it, I can incorporate it into the design, or I can cover that shit up with Washi tape. Yep, there was a big ol’ mistake under there, then wham, bam, apply Washi tape and make it look like that was your plan the whole time! Plus, washi tape is ADORABLE.
Remember how I said I take it everywhere? Well I also like to take most of my pens everywhere. And I actually have a few bujos for different things (one for life, one for my Thirty-One gig, one for Salty Mama stuff). That’s a lot of stuff rolling around in my bag, SO I keep it all in a Swap It Pocket. I love, love, love this product for my bujo because it has two pockets with zippers that fit the classic notebooks PERFECTLY. It keeps them flat and protects the edges from getting bent (which has happened when I just toss them into my purse solo) and I can keep markers and things in the middle section or the other zipper side. If I have the pens in the other zip pouch, I can put my wallet and cell phone in the center. Then when I change purses I just move the whole shebang over. And if you are already bullet journaling or have a planner that works for you and is larger? There’s also a Super Swap It Pocket 😉
SO, that’s what I use daily for my bujo!
Coming soon – I’ll show you some of my most used spreads and layouts and some Mommy specific ways I use my bujo, including the time I used it to measure which kid was my favorite! Can’t wait? Check out our Facebook video where I show off all these products and some of my favorite bujo pages!