Why moms should design their day

Tips to plan your day so you can finally feel on top of your to-do list.

Why moms should design their day

Imagine how you’d feel if every evening when you reflected back on your day, you felt genuinely great about it?

You’d ticked off the most important items from your to-do list. (Whew!) You’d arrived calm and on time to everywhere you needed to be. You felt happy and connected to everyone you were with. You felt grateful for another amazing day – and looked forward to another one tomorrow.

Sounds good, right?

The secret to having this feel-good factor when you fall into bed each night involves a little careful planning at the start of each day. Instead of diving straight in and doing whatever’s in front of your face, it’s time to Design Your Day.


Every since I began doing this a few years ago, life just gets better and better. I’m more focused, waste less time and I feel more mindful as I go about my day to day stuff.

I scrapped my old daily planner (which only overwhelmed me) and created my own.

Print out a copy of the Design My Day Action Sheet. (There’s a color version or you can grab one in black & white so it won’t suck up your printer ink.)

I’ll talk you through each section here:

1. Give gratitude.

There’s a small box here for you to jot a short note about whatever you’re feeling particularly grateful for today. A daily practice of feeling gratitude for what you already have, brings more good stuff into your life. Promise!

2. Choose your feelings.

We spend too much time thinking of what we have to do and not enough on how we want to feel.

You can’t always choose what happens in your day, but you can choose the way you feel about it. Choose a few words that best describe how you’d like to feel today.

If your day ahead is jam packed with a lot of places to be, you might choose to feel: Calm. Peaceful.Mindful. With those desired feelings guiding your day, you’ll get it all done in a better frame of mind.

For a family day at home, you may choose to feel: Connected. Present. Playful.

Husband driving you nuts? You might want to feel: Open. Loving. Kind.

(Danielle La Porte is the queen of getting clear about your desired feelings and you can get her fabulous book The Desire Map here.)

3. Schedule in events and prepare for success.

Refer to your calendar and jot down where do you have to be and when. What can you do to make it all go smoothly? Do you need to take snacks and swimming bags for the lesson, forms to the appointment, retainer to the orthodontist, eco bags to the supermarket? Park it all by the front door so you’re not flying around trying to do it last minute.

Leave some gaps so you can slot in some other things… Could you prep dinner earlier? Run an errand on the way to school? As you Design Your Day, think about these kinds of things too.

4. Identify your 3 most important tasks

Your 3 most important tasks (M.I.T’s) are the tasks you most want or need to get done today. No matter what else you do today, these are the things you will get done. This means doing them early in the day before you get caught up in other easier, more fun tasks. (Or Facebook.) Get into the habit of doing your 3 M.I.T’s first before doing anything else on (or off) your to-do list. This means you can stop beating yourself up for not getting it done again today!

4. Add a few more things from your to-list

Once you’ve done your 3 M.I.T’s, what else would be great to get done today? You might not get to all (or any) of these, but it’s good to have something to aim for. Remember – even if something’s not urgent yet, it’s good to get it done now before it becomes urgent. (Read this if it all feels important and urgent.)

5. Phone calls and emails

Instead of making phone calls throughout the day, note the calls you need to make and do them all at once. Emails can eat huge chunks out of your day if you’re not careful. Stay out of your inbox as much as possible and set a time limit once you do go in. Write down anyone you need to email and send those mails before you get caught up in fresh ones. (I know, easier said than done…)

There’s a nice white space at the bottom for all of those extra thoughts and notes that pop up throughout the day. You can refer to those when designing your next day. You even might want to design your day the evening before.

Important note: A mother’s life is un-pre-dictable. Just when you’re getting started on your first M.I.T, you get a call from the school nurse and have to drop everything. Or you’ve fully prepared for success, but road works make you ridiculously late for the swimming lesson anyway. Try to see unforeseen setbacks as opportunities to model flexibility to your children. The earlier they learn to adapt to changed plans the better. Just do your best and stop beating yourself up for not getting it all done. Never be a slave to your to-do list. Always find some joy in each day and know that what needs to get done will. The most important thing is to feel happy. Cuz when mama’s happy, everybody’s happy!

Take Action: Print out several Design My Day Action Sheets and commit to doing this for one whole week. Then let me know how you’re kicking ass on your productivity!

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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