As Phyllis Diller once said, “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.”
“It’s like shoveling the path before it stops snowing to clean your house while your kids are still growing.” Phyllis Diller Phyllis Diller Phyllis Diller
You made the choice to be a stay-at-home mom. However, you’ve picked up the responsibilities of full-time housekeeper, errand boy, secretary, chef, and hostess somewhere along the road. You go to bed dreaming of a sunny picnic in the park with your kids, only to wake up in the middle of the morning feeling burdened by a never-ending list of duties. It can feel like you’re digging a hole in the sand at times, with new activities constantly filling in the gaps left by finished ones. While you soothe them with, your children are spending more and more time in front of the television “I’ll be there right away. All I have to do is….”
You can rest easy knowing you’re not the first person to fall into this trap. Many of us who have opted to raise our children at home have fallen into the trap of believing that we must do everything ourselves. Recognizing what is vital and letting go of the rest is the difference between feeling overwhelmed and finding satisfaction as a stay-at-home mother.
If you wish to find time to do the important things in life, such as activities with your children or other hobbies, you must learn to do less while developing more effective ways to achieve what is really necessary. A certain level of organization in our lives makes most of us feel better. Your days will feel less like a never-ending list of duties once your home is arranged. Having domestic duties “under control” offers you a sense of accomplishment as well. But how are you going to do it?
“Knowing what to overlook is part of the art of being wise.” William James (William James)
Identify your priorities
These are the years when you have to consider how much housework you truly need to do. Is it more vital to spend time with your children or to clean the house from top to bottom every week? You have the option of vacuuming every day or taking the kids to the park. Which is more likely to make your youngster feel loved? If keeping your house in immaculate order is still important to you once the kids have grown, you’ll have plenty of time after they’ve grown. Give yourself permission to do less for the time being, and then accept it.
It’s also critical to put your children’s time first. Ballet lessons, soccer practice, and art courses at the nearby museum may sound like excellent options for your multi-talented children, but do you really want to spend your entire carpooling? It’s tempting to get caught up in the excitement of enrolling your children in every available activity. We don’t want Susie, who has been taking tennis lessons since she was three, to leave our kids behind. Children, on the other hand, require some downtime. Isn’t a free afternoon spent delving into the secrets of life over milk and cookies equally beneficial to your children?
You will feel more accomplished if you work toward short- and long-term goals. It allows you to concentrate on what you have accomplished rather than what has to be accomplished. It’s possible that your long-term objective is to finish all of your Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving. It could also be that you’ll have put away your summer clothes by then.
Short-term objectives could include scheduling dental appointments for everyone in the family or picking up dry cleaning on your way to the post office after dropping the kids off at preschool. Make a note of your goals each day so you may enjoy the sublime satisfaction of crossing them off your list.
Make a schedule for your family’s activities. Following a schedule improves efficiency and cuts down on time spent. It is more efficient to plan which tasks will be completed when rather than rushing from room to room, attempting to complete everything at once.
If you know you’ll be vacuuming on Tuesday, you won’t spent Monday obsessing over the fact that you didn’t get it done. Always remember to remain adaptable and make space in your schedule for the unexpected. Two-year-olds are geniuses at predicting when the grape juice will drop.
“There are three ways to get something done. Do it yourself, employ someone, or forbid your children to do it.” –Monta Crane
Fostering reliance on your children is not a sign of love for them. Keep in mind that your long-term goal is to create self-sufficient adults. Assign or let your kids pick duties that are appropriate for their age.
Toddlers may help by putting their toys away each night in their toy box. Dusting is a favorite pastime of preschoolers. Older children can become quite adept at vacuuming, car washing, and even meal planning and preparation. Rotate chores on a biweekly or monthly basis, if possible.
Allow and insist on everyone in the family doing as much as they can for themselves. Remember to add your husband or partner. Seeing Dad assist sets a fantastic example for your children and makes you feel less like the family maid.
Have a laundry basket available for each member of the family
On wash day, each person is responsible for placing dirty clothes in it and transporting it to the washing room. We don’t wash clothes that don’t make it to the basket. That beloved blouse behind the door will eventually be missed and will end up in the basket.
Fold the garments, place them in their designated laundry basket, and return them to their rightful owner once the laundry is finished. If the clothing never make it out of the basket and into the closet, don’t give up. At the very least, they’re clean, folded neatly, and out of the family home.
Make a month’s worth of menus and reuse them every month. Plan a weekly plan and go grocery shopping all at once. You should be able to minimize your grocery shopping to once a week as a result. You save money on those extras that always seem to attract your attention when you eliminate those time-consuming extra journeys for one or two things.
Make a list of the groceries you buy on a regular basis, in the order of the aisles in your grocery shop. Make copies of the list and keep them somewhere you can simply circle items when they are needed. You may save time and money by coordinating other shopping with weekly grocery shopping with careful planning.
Hire a baby-sitter while you run errands to save time and frustration
Money spent on a sitter will be significantly less than money spent on rushed purchases and extra sweets promised to pacify your irritable children. Going to the grocery store alone was one of life’s greatest luxuries when my children were small.
I’d take a leisurely cruise down the aisles for an hour, reading labels, checking coupons, and even browsing magazines. If you don’t want to pay for a sitter, trade time with another mother. The luxury of running alone errands will outweigh your time spent watching her children. Consider how many stops you can make if you don’t have to deal with car seats or strollers.
Plan the night before for the following day
Make a to-do list for yourself. This will assist you in organizing your day and prevent you from staying up all night trying to remember what you told yourself you wouldn’t forget. Make sure your kids have their school clothing and backpacks ready. If math homework is placed in the backpack the night before, it is less likely to be forgotten.
Clean and pick up as you go
Cleaning up a problem that has accumulated or that has been left undone becomes more difficult and time consuming. Putting away one load of clothes takes significantly less effort, both physically and psychologically, than dealing with a week’s worth.
Cleaning up after a snack takes little time at all, but the prospect of a sink full of dirty dishes might be daunting. Your children will never have to spend another morning cleaning their rooms if they learn to put away a toy when they are finished playing with it.
Do two things at once
While watching TV, fold laundry, iron, or clear up the kitchen rubbish drawer. Make those phone calls that will almost certainly put you on hold while you’re in the kitchen. In the time it takes for “a customer service representative to be with you shortly,” you can clean up after breakfast, unload the dishwasher, and put groceries away.
A portable phone is an excellent purchase because it allows you to accomplish even more. While you leave fourteen messages about the soccer party, you can water the garden. You could even unwind in the hammock while patiently listening to your mother’s latest root canal story.
I realized the benefits of owning my own carpool backpack last year. As I walked out the door to pick up the kids after tennis lessons, I stuffed my Christmas cards and address book into a backpack. I wrote five cards in the fifteen minutes it took for practice to conclude.
That may not seem like much, but between soccer practice, dental appointments, and an oil change, I was able to send off my Christmas cards on schedule. Thank you notes occasionally appear in my backpack. Other times, it contains a novel that I have never been able to locate.
“Housework, if it is done right, can kill you.” –John Skow
Learn to say NO!
Your husband promised to stay home with the kids so you could get your hair cut, but his brother suddenly has an extra game ticket. Is it possible for you to reschedule your appointment? Your church’s bake sale is tomorrow, and the cookie committee neglected to contact. Is it possible for you to prepare eight dozen cookies tonight? Unless someone agrees to lead a Girl Scout troop this year, there will be none… Patty’s turn for playgroup has arrived, but something else has arisen…again.
It’s fantastic to be adaptable and helpful, but you can’t do everything all of the time. You can almost always count on some unanticipated crisis to demand your time and attention just as you’ve set your priorities and planned your day. Trying to be everything to everyone can cause you to lose sight of what you actually want to accomplish. When you’re overburdened with things you don’t want to do, you don’t have time or energy left for the vital things.
Stand steady once you’ve determined what’s most important to you. If you need to, practice saying “no.” You don’t have to make any excuses. A straightforward “That’s not going to work for me today. Perhaps another time, “That’s all there is to it. Without cheating yourself, you can’t take on everyone’s issues. You are important as well.
Remember that the focus is on “mother” rather than “home” when you choose to be an at-home mother. Keep in mind why you chose to stay at home in the first place. It may be a cliché, but seeing how rapidly our children grow up always takes us by surprise. Long after the kids have left, the chores will still be there. You have the chance to make these years memorable. Take pleasure in them.