Why Moms Get Nothing Done (And How to Fix it)

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I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like I spend all day running around doing chores and still have nothing to show for it at the end of the day. It’s pretty frustrating, especially when it feels like it happens every day. There are reasons why moms get nothing done during the day – and I’m going to help you fix it.

Why Moms Get Nothing Done (And How to Fix it)

Of course, even if you do everything ‘right’ you’re still going to have those days where the kids make messes faster than you can clean them up. But, trying some of these ideas will seriously help with your SAHM (stay at home mom) productivity.

Trust me, I know parenting is hard. With 5 kids at home I often feel like I’m spinning in a hamster wheel not going anywhere. That’s why I started making changes like this; so I wouldn’t keep feeling burnt out when it seemed like every day was the same.

Reason 1: You don’t finish what you start

This is probably the biggest reason why my house ends up looking the same at the end of the day. I might start doing the laundry, but I leave it unfolded in the basket. Then that laundry basket ends up emptied on the floor as people dig through it, creating more mess and work for me.

Every time you half do a job you create more work for yourself later. Focus on tasks that you can complete and if you get interrupted, prioritize going back later.

Common problems with this include:

  • Not putting away the laundry when it’s finished
  • Half cleaning the kitchen
  • Sweeping only some of the floors
  • Not putting the groceries away properly

Reason 2: You don’t make a list or plan

If you don’t have a plan for how you spend your day it’s easy for time to get away from you. Every day, make a ranked list of your to dos so you can stay on track with what needs to get accomplished.

What’s great about a to do list is it also makes you feel more accomplished with all the invisible work that you do during the day. While it may not look like you did much, once you start checking off all the phonecalls you made, errands you ran, and so on you’ll remember that you actually did get things done.

Reason 3: Wasting time in unfulfilling ways

I don’t consider relaxing, playing with the kids, or self care to be wasted time. But as moms we have a tendency to spend too much time on things that we don’t actually want to be doing. This is one of the biggest reasons, in my opinion, that moms get nothing done during the day.

A great example of this is social media, especially scrolling through stuff that doesn’t actually make our lives better.

Try and keep track of how you spend your time during the day to identify those time wasters. Then seen what changes you can make. Most likely you’ll not only get more done during the day, but you’ll also have more time doing what you actually want to do.

Reason 4: Your house isn’t organized/you don’t use your current systems

Having a disorganized, cluttered house means that we spend more time moving around clutter than we do actually accomplishing things. If this sounds like you, focus on getting the clutter under control.

Once your home is organized you’ll then have to get the whole family in board with keeping it tidy. That means hanging up jackets and bags when you come home, putting dishes in the sink or dishwasher, and returning belongings to their home at the end of the day.

If you spend a lot of time picking up kids’ toys consider a toy rotation or major declutter. Then teach the kids to pick up things themselves.

Reason 5: Your kids take up all your attention

Like I said, I have 5 kids. I know what it’s like to wish you had some extra arms so you can do everything at once. Mealtimes, especially, are chaos in our home. It’s very easy for a stay at home mom to get nothing done because they’re so focused on the kids!

But, it’s also important that your kids spend some time playing alone too. You’re allowed to get things done! And you need to. Set the kids up with independent activities so you can complete tasks. Or have them work with you.

If discipline is an issue, you’ll need to work on that. Most kids should be able to play alone for a while. If you have babies or toddlers in the house, set them up in a playpen or keep them within eyesight.

Reason 6: Multitasking gone wrong

As a mom who works from home, I fall victim to multitasking fails way too often. I’ll be trying to work but my kids interrupt me constantly, while also messing up the house. What happens is that my work isn’t done, my house is a mess, and I’m frustrated.

If you try and do too many things at once, nothing will get done. Or at least done properly. Instead of trying to do everything, focus on one thing at a time during the day and actually accomplish it.

Reason 7: Unrealistic expectations

Sometimes it isn’t a case of moms getting nothing done, but a case of moms thinking they can get too much done. You need to set realistic expectations for your day. If there’s a teething baby in your house, don’t think you can do your spring cleaning. Heck, don’t even think you can do much more than the dishes!

Being a mom means being a mom, not a martyr or a slave. You have to take it one day at a time and really prioritize. Otherwise, you’ll burn out. If you feel like you get nothing done as a stay at home mom, try looking at your list. Is it realistic? Can you actually accomplish it?

Reason 8: Too much time outside the house or with structured activities

This is more than just taking the kids on play dates or occasional trips to the museum. Some moms fill their whole day with activities for the kids, which leaves little time for anything else. That’s fine if your focus is to keep the kids busy – but if you’re a mom who has to work, or wants to accomplish other tasks around the house it can be a huge issue for productivity.

Dial back on the activities. You don’t need to do something every single day with your kids. Find a few activities that you love (our favourite is library story time) and put those in your schedule.

The same goes for structured activities at home. If you want to plan a few, great! But balance it with free play time so things can get done.

Reason 9: You don’t have a routine

Routines are better than to do lists because they work on autopilot. Stick to the routine and usually you can get a lot more done! They’re not just for you, either – get the kids on routines too! Then you can easily predict what will happen on most days.

A huge part of our problem as moms is the mental load we suffer from. Routines help to take at least some of that off of us, too.

Here’s an example: During the summer when we’re out of our routine all my kids want breakfast at different times. This means more interrupting, and less that gets done. So instead of feeding everyone and moving on, it feels like I spend all morning in the kitchen. Then, before I know it, it’s already lunch time and I have to feed the youngest kids again. Sigh.

Reason 10: You’re burnt out, tired, or depressed

Sometimes moms get nothing done because they can’t muster the energy. If you’re dealing with something like postpartum depression or anxiety, or just generally are depressed, then it’s a lot harder to get things accomplished every day.

The same thing happens when you’re tired. As mom, we’re not getting enough sleep. Especially if there’s young kids in the house! Try and get more rest, if you can. Otherwise, understand that this is a season of life and that you will get more done later.

Lastly, mom burnout is a real thing. When you do the same thing every day it get’s a bit tiring. Honestly, it can even be depressing. Especially if you work hard cleaning all day only to have your kids destroy it! Stay at home moms need to focus on self care so they don’t burn out and feel this way.

A summary of tips for moms who feel like they get nothing done

  • Get organized to spend less time moving around clutter. You’ll accomplish more that way.
  • Establish a routine and stick to it. Both for you and the kids.
  • Take control over your kid’s behavior. Stop spending all day occupying or catering to them.
  • Avoid social media and other mindless time sinks.
  • Complete tasks that you start. Don’t leave things half finished.
  • Don’t multitask if you can help it. Try and do just one thing at a time.
  • Stay home at least some of the time.
  • You don’t need to fill your kids’ entire day with planned or scheduled activities. Make time for free play.
  • Keep your expectations of yourself reasonable. You can’t do everything!
  • If you’re burning out or suffering from mental illness, get help! Take breaks, do some self care, or look at professional solutions. You need to put on your own mask before helping others!

Moms do more than people realize

Yes, sometimes we’re guilty of being a lazy mom. But most of the time SAHMs are accomplishing a lot more during the day than they realize. If lack of accomplishment is getting you down, try and focus on what you do get done each day, instead of the incomplete part of your to do list.

There’s plenty of reasons why moms get nothing done during the day that are completely out of their control, too. Just keep doing your best, mama! You’ve got this!