Motherly Collective

When you become a mother, every single day feels like a 24/7 nonstop job. It’s all-consuming and nothing can truly prepare you for the emotional and physical exhaustion that comes with it.

When I was on maternity leave with our second child, I quickly realized that something had to change. I was barely sleeping, my house was a mess and I was struggling to keep up with everything. I wanted to feel like myself again—in control and semi on top of things. I knew the old me could have handled it.

Pre-baby, I was a Naval Logistics Officer. I was organized and mostly had everything under control. Capable of short-notice international deployments, directing helicopters to land on ships and conducting urgent briefings at Parliament House in Australia, I had always prided myself on being able to juggle multiple priorities.

But post-baby, I was overwhelmed just by trying to get out of the house some days, let alone juggle anything else. I was struggling to find a way to be the best mom I could be and still feel like myself. 

It didn’t help that my husband had to travel for his work. .When he was home, I had so much going on in my head that I was struggling to remember it all, let alone try and explain what I needed from him.

It was in that moment  when I remembered a hack I learned during my time in the Navy: the power of the daily orders method, which is the primary method of communicating.

Published daily, it tells everyone exactly what they need to know about the day. When anyone asks what time something is happening, the immediate response is to check the daily orders. 

It’s true what they say about the Navy giving you skills for life.

What if I brought the concept into my home? What if I wrote down everything that needed to be done? Got it out of my head and onto the wall? 

So that’s what I did. 

I sat down and wrote out every single thing that needed to be done. 

 Then I showed my husband—and he loved it. This was his thing. He used to be an operations officer on a warship and would, without fail, use his black notebook to record everything that was happening or needed to happen; from replenishment of food and fuel at sea to aircraft operations and more.

For the first time in months, I saw a glimpse of my old self emerge. 

Instead of my husband constantly saying, “Why didn’t you just ask?” or “Just tell me what you need from me,” he was now seeing everything that I was carrying in my head. 

The act of getting all the mess out of my thoughts onto paper was liberating.

But since keeping track of everything in a notebook seemed inadequate, we created a wall-mounted planner for everyone to see.

Our planner became the hub of communication for our household, decreasing overwhelm, disagreements and confusion. After a few months of using it, my friends and family started saying they wanted one, too. 

And just like that, my business Daily Orders was born. 

The concept has caught on with over 45,000 people using our planners all around the world to help them take back control of their time and lives.

Now, as a busy mom of two older kids, I still use our Daily Orders planners everyday to manage our time, communicate better with my family and keep some semblance of control in our house. It’s been a godsend. Not just for me, but for my whole family and all our customers, too.

So if you’re struggling to find a way to feel like yourself again post-baby, or just want to take back control of your time, I urge you to give the daily orders method a try. It might just be the thing that finally helps you find some balance in this crazy parenting gig.

Tips for getting started and staying organized as a new mom:

1. Write it all down 

Get everything that’s swirling around in your head out onto paper or one of our planners. The ‘mental load’ is often invisible.  This approach finally makes it visible.

2. Get everyone on board 

Show your partner or family member your list and explain how it will help to take some pressure off you. My kids love listing all of their extracurricular activities on the planner. Even little kids love ticking (or scribbling) things off as they’re completed.

3. Find a planning rhythm that works for you 

Since we use a monthly planner, my family sits down together each month and puts all upcoming events and commitments on the planner—including birthdays, weekend activities, work, school activities and more. It prevents so many conflicts!

4. Start with our To Do List planner

Got school-aged kids and getting them out the door is driving you mad? Our To Do List planner is a great start. Use it to document all the things they must do in the morning and after school, like unpacking their lunches or putting their clothes in the laundry. This prevents you having to repeat yourself fifty times a day and beg them to do things. 

I hope this helps you take back control of your time and feel like yourself again, particularly as we enter a new year. Because no one wins when moms are overwhelmed and exhausted. We all do better when mom is at her best.

This story is a part of The Motherly Collective contributor network where we showcase the stories, experiences and advice from brands, writers and experts who want to share their perspective with our community. We believe that there is no single story of motherhood, and that every mother's journey is unique. By amplifying each mother's experience and offering expert-driven content, we can support, inform and inspire each other on this incredible journey. If you're interested in contributing to The Motherly Collective please click here.