In talking with the older generations, as well as reading old books, I find they run their homes a little different then most Moms do that I talk to today. We seem to have this “supermom” mentality that we can just do all that’s needed while the baby sleeps, or at night after they go off to bed. Well, if you’re like me, you find it is in your best interest to “sleep when the baby sleeps”. (Some more old advice.) So with the everyday chores already overwhelming, and kids making a mess when left alone, how can you work? And what’s a mom to do?!
Enter, the old way: Babies strapped to you, or in an enclosed area with you, and/or older children set up with their own project or (especially if you don’t trust them), close by helping if possible. If older ones can be outside watching the young ones, that is a classic “Laura and Mary” strategy as well. The bottom line is usually, it is best to have kids near you if you don’t want to clean up bigger messes in the house later. . .but they need to be set up with projects, or they will just frustrate and annoy you and eachother.
Another trick to not getting too mentally overwhelmed is to give yourself one major project/goal a day. Really, to be able to tackle one thing everyday, (besides food-and clean up from it- for the people or pets and a little 5 minute decluttering) is all that’s needed on a weekly basis. Monthly projects are good to fit in every so often too, but we’ll get to those as we can later.
So in my ideal plan, I’d make my plan of action something like this:
Day 1: KITCHEN
Clean/organize kitchen: clean counters off, and do dishes, organize cupboards, clean and assess needs in fridge and freezer. Keep an ongoing list on the fridge to add to as you run out of or need items, to plan the weeks worth of meals. (At least one big meal a day is good to plan ahead for I find, the rest I like to use leftovers or throw stuff together for.) Gather your recycle stuff. Shred or burn paper and cardboard.
Day two: SHOPPING DAY
Shop, (take recycle stuff with you) Come home, have a nap if needed, then later prep food for the week, freeze or put away. (Plan for lunch out and a crockpot meal for supper if you want a restful day.) This is the day I like to get Baths in as well.
Day 3:LAUNDRY DAY
Collect laundry and sort, strip beds if needed. Keep the laundry going all day if needed, and just make a big pile of clean clothes on a bed. When it’s all done, get family to go through it together and take their stuff and put it away, hang it up, or (perish the thought), iron or steam it. (If it’s something they don’t want or it’s too small, tell them to put it on their dresser or some other designated box or bag to collect stuff for later. If it’s still dirty, tell them to put it in a special spot on or near the washing machine so you know to stain treat it next time better.)
Day 4: PICK UP DAY
Declutter at least floors in all rooms. get out 3 containers and mark one “Throw away”, one “sell/give away” and one for “put away,” that is, storage. Get kids to race you, and whoever finishes their room first, give a prize or incentive for. Give yourself one too. . .like company coming over tomorrow:)
Day 5:CLEANING DAY
Dust and vacuum and sweep all rooms. Enlist kids help with dusting or wiping down walls with finger prints. Also good day to have company over in the evening after naps.
Day 6: COOKING DAY
Do the baking for the week and make healthy snacks. Good day for baths/showers as well.
Day 7:DAY OF REST
Day of rest, be outside as much as you can gardening. Water indoor plants too. Do meals in crockpot or slow in the oven if you want something hot after coming home from church.
Monthly jobs to fit in as needed:
-Go through clothes to weed out too small/big or not seasonal clothes, and store.
-Order online items
-do and mending or sewing.
-organize and restock medical supplies and supplements.
-cut hair/ nails
-organize scrapbook pictures/ fill in baby books.
-assess cleaning supplies and make or buy more if needed.
-Call or write someone.
-organize and plan for a social life, and get a daytimer, online calendar with alerts or the like to help you follow through with it.
-Bill paying if that’s your job or it isn’t set up as automatic.
-clipping coupons, articles in magazines or the newspaper.
You may not have any extra time you say!
Only have 5 minutes? You can do a lot in that time!
Here are some ideas that take 5 minutes:
-make an appointment, order tickets. . .
-clip and file your nails, or someone else’s.
-sew a button on.
-make a party list.
-write a to do list
-Take out trash or compost.
Got 10 minutes?
Here are some things you can do in 10 minutes:
-stain treat laundry.
-straighten your desktop.
-weed a small flowerbed.
-make laundry soap
-peel or chop fruits or veggies to use or freeze for later.
-unload or load dishwasher
-put on make-up
Got 30 minutes?
Here are some things you can do in 30 minutes:
-Go through backed up magazines or papers.
-Work on a craft or scrapbooking project.
-weed the garden.
-Take a walk.
-Practice an instrument.
-check your e-mail (?)
-Cut husband’s hair.
-Have a shower.
-Go through closet.`
Lastly, I’ve found, that any day I have actually accomplished anything, I’ve had a to-do-list of goals, appointments, and deadlines written down, as well as prioritized with numbers. That is a good thing to write first thing in the morning as you check your e-mail and calendar for the day. (There are Apps for calendars and to-do-lists I find helpful.) Don’t feel pressured by big lists though, just keep a running list from day to day, and get the most important ones done in all your inbetween times, as you can.
Just remember, the goal is a peaceful, organized and beautiful house to be your haven of rest.