So you made it past the pregnancy, L&D, and bringing home baby. The newborn haze has lifted, and you’re ready to start considering life on this side of motherhood. Now what?
Most mothers will tell you that “pregnancy brain” just turns into “mommy brain.” Sleep deprivation does crazy things to people (hey, it’s a form of torture, you know!), and the chaos of living with an infant or toddler or both can leave you feeling less than focused. The thing is, whether you return to the workforce or not after your maternity leave, you’ve got some serious responsibilities, never mind keeping your little one(s) alive! At this stage of the game, a Bullet Journal will be your best friend.
Depending on whether you’re a working mom or a stay-at-home mom, you’ll probably use your BuJo somewhat differently. But let’s start with responsibilities common to all parents.
Are you the type of person who wants to be organized when it comes to meal planning, but just can’t get it together?
How about a spread in your Bullet Journal devoted to a week’s worth of dinners and the corresponding grocery list?
I’ve got a Pinterest board devoted to my favorite recipes and one for recipes I’d like to try. Perusing these offers an endless source of inspiration for dinners, so my family doesn’t end up eating the same thing over and over.
Plus, planning out which meals we’re going to eat over the course of the week and what ingredients I need to purchase to prepare these meals saves us money, because I’m not aimlessly walking through grocery store aisles picking up random things that look good but don’t measure up to a meal.
My BuJo totally got me hooked on meal planning!
Who hasn’t felt completely overwhelmed by the prospect of caring for an entire home inhabited by a family? That’s why your Bullet Journal is a great place to come up with a game plan for keeping your home clean and uncluttered.
Setting up a schedule with certain tasks you complete on a particular day each week might sound a little daunting or even silly, but it really helps break down an entire house’s worth of work into manageable chunks. And even if you miss a task (or an entire day!), you still have a record of what’s been done and what still needs attention.
Your Bullet Journal could also be a place for a little one’s chore chart, either one completed together or on your own. How much more special would it be to have your own chart in mom’s sacred BuJo?
Tracking for Self-Care
Now that you’re done with the newborn phase, it’s time to start insisting on yourself as a priority again. One of the most powerful ways to accomplish this is by tracking what’s important to you in your Bullet Journal. My totally unscientific finding is that if it’s in my BuJo, it’s 1000% more likely to get done!
- Habit tracking: Here are a few ideas for self-care items you might want to track.
- Did you take your vitamins?
- Did you take any prescriptions?
- Did you make time for meditation or prayer?
- Did you keep your resolution to be in bed by 10 pm? 11 pm? (Don’t tell me it’s later than that!)
- Did you squeeze in a girls’ night out this week or month?
- Did you set aside time for reading?
- Did you exercise today?
- Did you drink your 8 glasses of water?
- Weight tracker: If you’re trying to lose weight, mark your progress in your BuJo! Mark off every pound you lose toward your goal weight.
- Food diary: If you have dietary concerns or you’re watching your weight, keeping a food diary can really help you see where you’re succeeding and what’s holding you back.
- Gratitude log: What are you thankful for today or this week? What made you smile? It’s all about perspective.
- Period tracking: When did you start menstruating? How long? What were your symptoms this month? What helped?
I’ve yet to meet at Bullet Journal enthusiasts who doesn’t love a good list! And I’d argue moms have more need for them than anyone. We tend to be the keepers of so much information that our brains get overloaded. Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night because you just remembered you’re almost out of diapers? True story. Put it on a list, and let your weary brain get back to sleep!
Here are some list ideas great for moms:
- Running Target list (or whatever store you seem to find yourself picking up miscellaneous items in each week)
- Waiting on (a list of things you need to keep tabs on but that don’t require any action at this time, like packages you’ve ordered but haven’t received)
- Long-term tasks or goals
- Household maintenance tasks (like changing out those air filters and checking smoke alarm batteries once a month)
- Recipes to try and favorite recipes
- Freezer and pantry inventories (for times when you’re standing in the poultry section wondering if you need more chicken breast)
- Birthdays (who, when, and gift ideas)
- Vacation ideas / places to visit
- Packing list (don’t ever forget that nightlight again!)
- Things to do (kind of a bucket list for your family)
- Baby milestones
- Cute things your child said
- Foods you’ve introduced to baby and his/her responses (especially important for ruling out food allergies)
- Your own wishlist (so the next time your husband asks what you want for your birthday, you’ll remember those cute sunnies!)
- Movies you’d like to watch or books you’d like to read
- Books you’ve already read
- Skills you’d like to learn or topics to explore
- Quotes that inspire you, like one of my favorites: “One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.” —Friedrich Nietzsche
Want to see how other moms are using lists and tracking in their Bullet Journal? Get access to my secret Pinterest board on Bullet Journaling for Moms.
Spreads for Working Moms & Stay-at-Home Moms
For the last six years, I’ve been a SAHM, technically. In that time, I’ve also worked on building a brand, running social media, and writing every day. So I can relate to the routines and lifestyle of SAHMs while also having an appreciation for the juggling act that comes with balancing work and family.
Regardless of how you spend your days, I believe the most valuable Bullet Journal layout for moms is a weekly spread. Some people prefer daily to-do lists in their Bullet Journal, but I’ve found that I do better with a weekly view of things: the kids’ lessons, doctor’s appointments, events, conference calls, household chores… Being able to see the whole week at once helps me figure out:
- How to squeeze everything in;
- Which days are overbooked;
- And what can be moved around.
Now, depending on whether you’re a SAHM or a WM, you might want to format your weekly spreads quite differently.
For SAHMs, I’d recommend a spread like this, with a column for each day plus a section for tasks that I want to accomplish at some point that week and notes or meal planning at the bottom.
For WMs, I like something that breaks each day down into three columns:
Then, I’ve also got room for a column of tasks for the week. Here’s what works well for me:
So, are you Bullet Journaling with an infant or toddler in your life? What works well for you?