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.

Meal Planning

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!

Bullet Journal for Moms Cooking

Housework

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?

Bullet Journal house chores

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!

  1. Habit tracking: Here are a few ideas for self-care items you might want to track.
    1. Did you take your vitamins?
    2. Did you take any prescriptions?
    3. Did you make time for meditation or prayer?
    4. Did you keep your resolution to be in bed by 10 pm? 11 pm? (Don’t tell me it’s later than that!)
    5. Did you squeeze in a girls’ night out this week or month?
    6. Did you set aside time for reading?
    7. Did you exercise today?
    8. Did you drink your 8 glasses of water?
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Gratitude log: What are you thankful for today or this week? What made you smile? It’s all about perspective.
  5. Period tracking: When did you start menstruating? How long? What were your symptoms this month? What helped?

Lists

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)
  • Groceries
  • 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:

  1. How to squeeze everything in;
  2. Which days are overbooked;
  3. 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.

Weekly spread for SAHMs

For WMs, I like something that breaks each day down into three columns:

  1. Home
  2. Work
  3. Meals

Then, I’ve also got room for a column of tasks for the week. Here’s what works well for me:

Bullet Journal for Moms: Tracking

Giveaway

Now it’s your turn! Enter to win an Official Bullet Journal Notebook from Ryder by telling us below how your Bullet Journal has helped save your sanity with an infant or toddler in the house, or which of the suggestions above you’d like to try.

Congratulations to last month’s winner, Sierra Jackson! Good luck with your Bullet Journal journey!!

And stay tuned for the final installment of the Bullet Journal for Moms series on managing life with multiple children.

 

Check out the other parts in this series!

  1. Introduction
  2. For Pregnancy
  3. For Newborns
  4. For Infants and Toddlers
  5. For Older Chidlren

 

About Evie Granville

Evie Granville writes about the personal, controversial, and inspirational at her lifestyle site, EvieandSarah.com.
  • Megan

    I love these additional module ideas! I literally just started my bullet journal and as the mom of a toddler these seem like really helpful ways to make the system even more useful to me.

  • Mariellen Brown

    This is so great! I am just starting to bullet journal, and I love the ideas of self-care, cleaning schedule, and gratitude log. I’m going to try to work them in! 🙂

  • Ben Rule

    My bullet journal is almost entirely for work, with the occasional personal to-do. I have been meaning to start creating a weekly planner on Mondays to make sure I know what’s going on that week, and will aslo use that to meal plan.

  • Cassie

    I am only starting my second month, but so far it has been so great to be able to set up the week how I need to and combine a weekly layout with lots of list space for all those things that are not day specific but need to get done. and now with the oldest going back to school while I still have the little one home, it will be perfect. It is so nice to be able to change it from week to week too! I love it and even started a tracker which has been a huge help!

  • Amanda

    What the heck does this have to do with being a mom of a toddler? I find this article pretty offensive. Keeping the house up is an adult thing, not a mom thing. I’m really disappointed.

    • Abigail W.

      I think she just means that all of the sudden it’s a lot harder and you have to think more about it. I don’t know if have or have ever had toddlers, but it’s amazing how messy they are and how much time and energy they take up. So things that were once second nature now have to be written down. I agree though, meal planning and cleaning are adult things, but as a parent of toddlers you realize if they don’t get written down as a priority they don’t get done and lead to a grumpy mom.

      • Amanda

        My point is not that raising toddlers isn’t hard. Yes, I have a toddler and it is hard. But, we as parents keep house, we as parents meal plan, it is not a *mom* thing. It is a parent thing/adult thing.

        • Abigail W.

          Agreed. My guess is there are many people who didn’t think about or plan those things until they became parents though. And there are few things in life that make you feel more like an “adult” than having a child. (Although paying a mortgage and buying life insurance are up there too!)

        • RA

          I know that my significant other gets lost in the world of “moms”. He has always been the SAH-dad and home adult/parent. I don’t know if your point was to leave the male/female rolls unisex or not. (He can’t understand why there aren’t changing stations in the men’s rooms in many places.) Also, it seems that unless you live in a real city, there aren’t many “daddy and me”/”parent and me” play groups.

  • Jennie McGrath

    So useful!

    I’m just about to start potty training my older boy and I was thinking about a previous comment or blog post that mentioned having separate journals for separate aspects of your life. I bought some of those 88 page journals at Wal-Mart (school supplies section stole my wallet again, and my kids aren’t in school yet!) and I plan to make one for tracking the boys’ hygiene/chores/goals, one for tracking my health (meds/pain levels/allergy issues), and one for household management, because keeping it all in one journal just led to me feeling overwhelmed and I recently let about a week and half just fall off my record-keeping. Regaining ME now that both boys are toddling around is really difficult and keeping my husband up to date on how our goals are progressing (like getting the younger one weaned and sleeping through the night, not the day) so he doesn’t accidentally sabotage what I’ve been working on during the week when he is sweet enough to let me sleep in on Saturdays.

    Plus, I’ve been staying up til 2 am, when the younger one demands his last feeding. (And I do mean demands. No one in the neighborhood will get any sleep until he gets his milk. *sigh*) Gotta get that under control, because the constant sleepiness is keeping me from being the best mom I could be.

  • Ellen

    This is my second month as well. Keeping track after infant twin boys, while working full time takes more planning then when it was ‘just us’. I have been using it to track appointments, tasks at work and home, and meals. Most recently I updated my meal tracker to include perishable foods. I hate throwing away food, really hoping this helps!

    • Nikkie

      Great idea about meal tracker! I could totally use it for leftovers! Thanks!!

  • Abigail W.

    I love these ideas. I still use my phone calendar so my husband can see what is going on, but I like the idea of a weekly layout and so I have a visual reminder. My question is do you still do daily pages? If so, what do you put on them?

    • Nikkie

      I just started BuJo – Aug 9th to be exact! 🙂 but I too share a google calendar with my husband so I don’t duplicate that in the BuJo either. I do LOVE my weekly layout though! On my weekly layout I include my daily tasks. My weekly schedule is in boxes across the top of my page Mon-Sun and then below it I have the bottom half of the page for the daily tasks. Sometimes I merge the tasks and divide that into the days, but some days I’m lazy and just look back at the last day and continue to cross them off. I hope that makes sense!

    • Hi Abigail, I actually don’t do dailies anymore. I found that I really liked being able to see the whole week at once.

  • doree

    My Bujo is beyond. It is the best thing to ever happen to me on paper. I use it for everything, I love Ryder’s new template for his Dailies (gratitude, micro meal tracker, morning pages). So I use the same thing except I do it as a weekly spread, I do that since I limit myself to three tasks a day. I have four children under the age of 4- if I can get three things done in a day, I’m pretty dang proud of life.

  • Elizabeth Copes

    Holy COW! A friend posted a question about bullet journaling and a google search of “What the heck is that?” lead me to this. I need this in my life. As a mom of 2 with ADD who LOVES lists, this seems like a godsend.

  • Brenda Obil Quiala

    There are a couple lists I keep specifically dealing with my 3 year old. One is a list of clothes I have for her in the next size. That way I now what I still need when I hit the clearance sales. Another is a list of gifts she might like for when people ask me at the holidays and her birthday.

    She will be starting preschool next January and I am sure the bullet journal will help me keep track of any special dates for that as well.

    • Jennie McGrath

      Oh my gosh, thank you! I need to do that for my boys. I keep getting so overwhelmed contemplating clothes and my husband keeps buying clearance items that interest him, regardless of size, so I have things put away until they are 8!!!

    • I love the idea of a list of clothes in the next size up! Super smart!!

  • Rachel Savage

    I love those ideas! I have just been bullet journaling since June and love the system. I use mine primarily for a few things as a working mom of an almost 2 year old. I use mine to keep track of birthdays, appointments, baby milestones, places to visit, and the packing lists for trips. Its hard to find time to focus on it, my setups are still pretty minimal but that’s okay for now.

  • Tori

    I have just recently got into the Bullet Journal trend. I really like the idea of a weekly layout so I can see what is in store for the week ahead. I am a very visual person so knowing what is coming will be a huge step. I am not a very organized person so I have high hopes for the bullet journal.

  • Kirstin

    I have always planned meals in a notebook but not in my bullet journal so will give it a go. When I ask my family what they want to eat I don’t get a response so I have started a list of meals in my bullet journal. My sanity over the summer has been saved by a list of activities I put together before the summer – some big ideas and some simple. We have had a fun packed summer which is sometimes hard with a 1 and 9 year old and trying to please them both.

    • I did something similar, with a summer bucket list, Kirstin. It really was great for those days when there was “nothing” to do 🙂

  • Nikkie

    Thank you for your post Evie! I have been using BuJo for just under a month and I LOVE it! I have two toddlers at home and i have been so much more productive since I created it. My weekly calendar with daily tasks on the same page is the key for me. I dont always merge them to the new day unless the list has gotten too long. I also have created a “pray for…” list which is super helpful! I put dates on them and add them into my weekly tasks if it’s a future prayer. I have a Computer Tasks list, Gratitude list, a Birthday Gifts list, and Christmas Gifts list, and more! I also love my Monthly Cleaning Calendar which migrates to my weekly/daily schedule so I stay on top of maintaining the home. It’s been life changing! Thank you Ryder!

  • I’m the mother of a large family and just getting started with a bullet journal. I’m still fooling around with various weekly spread layouts to see what best suits the needs of my family… This was helpful.

  • Anne-Laure

    Thank you for this post. I have been experimenting this past week and I found indeed that the weekly spread was the most useful for me (the month page will now serve to set big goals). It is a great way for me to keep all my lists and ideas in the same spot, without having to find “a system” for each one (like a printable), plus I can take everything with me at all times, unlike a big folder of lists. What I think I will do, is that I will devote three spreads to each week, one with my schedule and the other two with seven big post-it notes. I will put my to-do lists on each post-it note (I like to be able to schedule a task one or two days in advance, in case I have missed the opening hours of something for example). Each day, I will put transfer the to-do list to the cover of my BuJo, where it will be visible at all times and easier to check, then I will “journal” my day in the blank spot it would have left in the weekly spread. I homeschool and I am a stay-at-home-working mom, so I need to keep track of a lot of things, but not my to-do lists 🙂

    • Great adaptation, Anne-Laure! I’ve seen a TON of great uses for Post-It notes in Bullet Journals. Love it!

  • Alison Thompson

    This has inspired me! As a SAHM mum, who is also a full time carer, I love the idea of a Weekly Spread! My biggest issue is the constant shifting of events, like the medical appointment that needs made but that slips from day to day to day because you can’t get through! Or when everything planned for the day goes out the window because of a crisis you could never have planned for!

    I have just diagnosed with ADHD as well and the Bullet Journal helps me to be big picture. I need to have alarms set on my phone for the minutiae of life but choosing what to write down in my Journal is forcing me to prioritise. I had already started doing some of the Self Care ideas you have listed as being a mother to 3 kids (1 Aspergers, 1 Angelman Syndrome & 1 just finally referred to Paediatrics for digestion issues) I have a nasty habit of putting myself last. I *need* to look after myself or everything else falls apart. However you have given me some more ideas of what to track to help myself!

    I’m now going to read the other articles in this series!

  • Bhadra

    After a few months of getting into the bullet journal system, I am starting to find ways that it can help me with being a working mom with a toddler!! I have so many similar spreads to the ones you have recommended. I also recently switched from daily logs to a weekly spread. It is so much easier to plan an entire week and see what’s coming than using the dailies!! The one thing I still struggle with is meal-planning. I created a meal planning spread but have barely used it…. but I think it’s just the way hubby and I think.

  • Bridgette Gregory-O’Connor

    I just started a bullet journal after having my first child. It has been so amazing for me! I love putting pen to paper – which has been almost a meditation for me. I love being able to see my week at a glance. It has also been great for helping me restart little habits like drinking 8 glasses of water or taking my vitamins. Adding little pops of color makes it fun too. Overall the bullet journal has really helped me feel more organized and more like myself while becoming a mom.

  • Victoria Demchak

    I’m newly starting with a bullet journal, and while I can figure out how to use it for work, these spreads are inspiring for the way that time gets malleable (and tasks get put off) when living with a toddler. Thanks for this!

  • LouG

    I’m seriously considering a bullet journal. My main problems being a working, single parent are organising my kids’ schedules. School drop off, pick up and where they are sleeping change each day depending on when their father and grandparents are available. I know the schedule for the next month about 2 weeks in advance and can plan my life around it just about although it can all change at the last minute.
    I also struggle with the concept of monthly spreads. I have fallen foul of normal calendars as just when I think I’m in control I turn the page on the last day of the month and find something that required me to go shopping yesterday.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • Mandy

    I’m new with the bullet journal as well and love reading blogs and getting ideas from everyone. I like using the list and meal plans and check them off once they are done. It keeps me on my toes and make sure I don’t miss anything.

    My challenge is it seems like many people out there make their monthly and weekly spread super fancy and I want to copy it and it takes a very long time to do so :p Wasn’t sure if there is any short cuts in doing this weekly. I love looking at all different designs everyone have created. Haven’t splurged to get myself a fancy notebook and pen yet, would love to win one though!

    • Mandy, don’t let the fancy stuff hold you back!! Grab whatever notebook you have lying around and get going on making the Bullet Journal system functional for you first. Then, as you get comfortable, you might decide to add some flair 🙂 I like to keep my spreads pretty basic. Check out http://www.evieandsarah.com/evies-bullet-journal/ for some of my ideas.

  • Desiree

    Having both a 5-year old and a baby of 3 months, the bulletjournal system is a life-saver, running back and forth between school, home,groceryshopping and doctersappointments stuff easily falls down the cracks. Now i write down all the things i need to do, all the groceries all the questions I have for the docter all the things I want to discuss with my oldest’s teacher,everything..I combine bullet journal with gtd so that everything has its place. Even with a simple composition notebook I keep my life much more organized.

    • I love that you’re using a composition notebook, Desiree! I’ve had so many moms tell me they’re intimated by all the Instagram-worthy Bullet Journal spreads they see, so they don’t ever give the system a try. What a shame! Moms need to be practical and do what works for them!

  • Alex Warren

    I have a two year old and I was definitely struggling with forgetting all the millions of things I needed to do/wanted to do. I started a bullet journal about 2 months ago and I am in love. I definitely still need to work out all of the details on what works and what doesn’t, but right now my weekly spread and meal plan pages are life savers. They have helped me cut back on my grocery store runs from taking all morning and have helped me save money!

    • I’m the same way, Alex: my weekly spread + meal planning/grocery list are the heart of my BuJo!

  • Jenn

    I’m less than a month into my first Bullet Journal, but I already feel like having everything written down in one place is making me way more productive and eases the forgetfullness that comes with taking care of a (distracting) little person. Now when I think of something that needs to get down I jot it down quickly and the next time I can work on something there it is! I don’t have to reference a million apps for tracking different things on my phone plus I don’t feel like I’m attached to my phone constantly (hopefully making it look a little less appealing to my little guy as well). The habit tracker is my biggest focus right now so I can get back to taking better care of me!! I’m so glad I finally figured out what everyone was taking about and started my own journal!

  • Wendy

    This post came at a perfect time!! With a baby, 2 jobs, tons of volunteer work, and lots of hobbies (and then double that if I try to keep track of my husband’s schedule!), I have been in dire need of something to keep me organized!!

  • Heather Lynch

    I have been waiting for this post in this new series. I’m a working mom of a 4yr old and a 20 month old. Life can get crazy. I’ve always loved using a planner but they never fit my needs so I never stuck with it. I’ve been using a bullet journal since June and I love it. I’m still working on different layouts and how to make the most out of this system. I’m just starting a new journal so im going to use this opportunity to try a new layout. I also need a solution for collections. I need a space for them but dont wabt them mixes into my daily/weekly/monthly logs.

  • I wish I had known about the Bullet Journal when my daughter was little, just to keep track of all those follow-up visits. I also would have liked the “Cute things your child said” pages; we have them written down but in various pieces of scrap paper all over the house. Now that she’s started school it’s nice to have a non-electronic version of my calendar handy at all times so I can keep track of events coming up.

  • I’ve been trying to start a bullet journal for months. I need to get me and my baby organized

    I’m hoping a bullet journal will get me on the right track(and maybe remind me to take care of me) Not to mention give me a place for doodles too

  • K Vela

    I discovered bullet journaling last week and have been learning about it via google and Pinterest. The more I looked at other’s examples, the more I noticed most of these people seem to just exercise, blog and have meetings with friends. And maybe go to work or pay an electric bill. No wonder their journals were so beautifully designed! They don’t have kids! They have actual time for themselves! As a working mother of a 2 year old, I barely have time to keep up with the dishes–much less spend time making pretty designs in a journal. I was beginning to think this concept was just for single, child-less folks. Then I googled “Do parents have time for bullet journaling?” part in spite, and partly out of curiosity to see what came up. And this is how I came across this article. I’d just like to give a huge thank you for your solid, down to earth, and practical ideas for mother’s bullet journaling! I can’t wait to sneak in a precious 15 minutes sometime soon and apply what I learned here!

    • Becca

      That’s exactly how I landed on this article, too. 🙂

  • Becca

    I’ve been googling bullet journaling and can’t wait to start! I work full-time, and my Outlook calendar and task list at work have me pretty well covered there. But I think I need a bullet journal for my non-work life – I have an 18-month-old, and I’m so sick of squinting at my phone, toggling from the calendar to the email to the list to the text to the whatsapp apps… I definitely want to keep work out of my brain while I’m at home with my cuties (toddler and husband), so this would be something JUST for personal life. 🙂