“When did that happen? When did I become a messy-bun-on-top-of-my-head mama?” I wondered as I glanced in the mirror and re-tucked the get-away hair back under the hair band. “When did I actually put this bun up there—have I changed it in a while?”

Just last week, my son asked where we were going when I put on jeans in place of my go-to yoga pants or sweatpants.

While there is nothing wrong with casual attire around the house—or buns in my hair, for that matter—intentionality is a must for me to maintain my sanity and the motivation and positive attitude that makes our homeschool run smoothly.

Here are a few things I’ve found that get my day started on the right foot:

Making my bed

They say successful people make their beds. While I feel I have quite a way to go to label myself a success, I can definitely make my bed.

It takes less than five minutes to straighten the blankets and the pillows before I allow myself to leave the room, and the payoff multiplies every time I pass my room throughout the day and see that simple accomplishment, and in the evening when I crawl into a tidy bed to rest.

Putting on my tiara

Although I am a girlie girl, I don’t always have time for a full face of makeup. Jewelry isn’t always practical. I do enjoy getting dressed up, but I also enjoy comfy casual clothes if we’re staying home all day.

In order not to lose my personal sense of fashion, after I make the bed, I select one “me” appearance item I’m going to invest in.

Sometimes I’ll braid my hair instead of tossing up the comfort bun. Sometimes I’ll put on a little makeup. Sometimes I’ll choose an accessory to wear. And some days—even though we have no place to go--I’ll go all in, do all my makeup and my hair, put on cute clothes and accessorize—just because I’m feeling extra! And to confuse my observant children.

Taking just a minute to invest in my appearance makes me feel valuable and confident as a person and motivates me to give my best to my family.

But first, coffee

After I’ve emerged from my room, sometimes the things on my to-do list for the day are daunting. When I lack the motivation to tackle that first task, I pour a cup of coffee and jot down the to-do list, and then mark which items are of highest priority.

Whether your drink of choice is coffee, hot tea, fruit-infused water, or some other delight, investing in that delicious liquid courage can make that intimidating start of the day something you really look forward to.

For that matter, while it takes intense self-control not to graze and nibble throughout the day, I also keep my favorite munchy snacks in stock—just in case mama needs a pick-me-up to keep my hangry attitude from impacting my children or their education.

Filling my cup

We study the Bible in various aspects of our homeschool curriculum, and I take those lessons to heart as I am teaching my children. But personal time with Jesus is important and refilling my spiritual cup is essential to nurturing and discipling my children.

But sometimes “quiet time” is a fleeting dream that is difficult to actualize. I am a strong advocate for carving out time for Bible and prayer, no matter how crammed your day seems, but I have also found infusing those times throughout the day can make them even more effective—and more likely to be consistent.

Make a practice of singing a worship song while you do certain repetitive tasks you know you’ll regularly encounter such as dishes or laundry.

Play worship music during times that would otherwise be wasted worrying or letting your mind wander, such as during a workout or while you make dinner.

When I take time to sit and read my Bible, I like to take a moment to write down a verse or two on index cards. Before I get back to the rest of my day, I tape those verses where I can easily re-read them throughout the day.

The index card by the kitchen sink will be reviewed as I wash the dishes or cook dinner.

The one in the van I can read before we start the car to run errands or go on field trips, and before we go in the house after we get home.

The verse in the guest bathroom will be seen throughout the day as it is the restroom used most frequently.

The one on my laptop cover or keyboard will encourage me before I sit down to work—or scroll social media.

A verse on the bathroom mirror will be there when I go to brush my teeth.

What better way to apply the Deuteronomy admonition to talk of His law as we walk through the day, as we lie down, and as we rise?

Patting myself on the back

We tend to look at a to-do list as an expectations and responsibilities measurement. But once you’ve crossed things off—those are accomplishments! Don’t forget to take a victory lap at the end of the day to celebrate what has gotten done rather than fretting on what will spill over into tomorrow.

If you hang onto those lists until the end of the week, you will be able to see the massive productivity all the little victories created and feel better about your investments in your housekeeping and your homeschooling.


Not everyone’s self-care priorities will be identical, but prioritizing some low-effort, high-yield ways to pump up your day can really make a difference. As the old saying goes, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”


Photo credit: iStock.