Friday, May 4, 2012
How do you get it all done?
It's the dilemma of every mom I know. It doesn't matter if the mom works outside the home or inside the home. There is a list of chores that fills a page. Your child(ren) need fed or bathed or both. Your dog needs walked. The laundry is piled up taller than the kids. You need to pay bills. Your cupboards and refrigerator are empty. You'd love to squeeze in some exercise (alone) or a shower or a glass of wine with a friend. How do we get it all done? Here's my story of how I worked out my cleaning needs. I would love for you to share how you "get it done" in your homes.
When I quit my job to stay at home with my kids, I thought it would be so much easier to "get it done." After all, the 11+ hours I spent commuting and working would now be plugged into my kids and my house. Surely I could be this stellar mom and housewife, right? Wrong. It still wasn't easy. Yes, I was home many more hours of the day, but I chose to play with my kids and do crafts and read to them and go on walks and ride bikes. Suddenly the 11 hours I gained at home turned into 1 or 2 extra hours when the kids napped. This wasn't exactly what I planned, but I could still take care of it all.
I tried cleaning every day. That failed miserably. Things didn't get done and I'd feel guilty or things did get done and the kids didn't get as much attention and I'd feel guilty. I tried cleaning at night when the kids went to bed. This didn't work either. I missed out on time with my husband and didn't feel like I had time to rest and recharge. I decided I needed to let go and not worry about cleaning everything everyday. I went back to cleaning on the weekends like I had done when I worked. The letting go part was harder than I imagined. I picked up on a daily basis, but didn't do any of the cleaning tasks until Saturday. Unfortunately, it would take up a whole day for me to get my stuff done and I'd just "wasted" an entire weekend day.
I thought I'd try something different and my current schedule was born. I started assigning tasks to certain days of the week. I'd make each day's task something I could do including the kids or while we played. If it was something that required more of my attention, I would make it something I could do while they napped and not pile several tasks on that day. It took some tweaking, but I finally had a schedule that allowed me to keep my house clean and not feel like I was neglecting my kids and still allow me to relax in the evening and have the weekends to spend with my family.
My schedule looks something like this:
Tuesday-This is our errand day, so I don't plan on any chores this day
Thursday-My laundry and Kids' laundry
Friday-Vacuum upstairs, sweep and mop, dust
Fortunately, my husband is pretty helpful around the house. He does his own laundry which saves me a day. He also helps clean the kitchen and takes care of the yard work like mowing/weed eating. We often will tackle the family room together so it goes pretty quickly. Friday is our big day during the day, but I've made it a game with the kids. They like to get the swiffer dusters out and do the dusting in the living room. Is it perfect? No, but it teaches them to be involved and includes them in the family chores for our home. We play a game of chase with the vacuum. They run and scream and laugh and I still get it cleaned. They are also responsible for picking up their own room so I can vacuum. Often times, we do messy craft projects on Fridays because I know I'll be cleaning anyway. It's the perfect time to paint! After lunch, I move all the kitchen chairs to the living room and make a train or a blanket fort for the kids to play while I sweep. Once they nap, I mop (so there's no little footprints on my floor for a few hours).
Clearly, there are other things that need cleaned or organized and I tackle them as they come along or fit them in on a monthly basis too. Since implementing this schedule over 6 months ago, my house is cleaner, my kids still get my time and attention and I'm not feeling guilty for what I'm doing or not doing. It's not a perfect system, but it's working for us.
I realize this is a long narrative for what seems like a simple solution. I had to work through several options to find out what worked best for us. With my two kids and my day care kids, I simply couldn't clean every day. It required me to let go of a few ideas and create a working plan.
My guest blogger, Mae, is helping outline some meal planning. I'm hoping to introduce some ideas for planning around the home, such as this cleaning schedule. How do you keep your family's home clean? What other tasks have you created a schedule to ensure they're completed? Let me know! If you're interested in sharing, I'd love to feature you as a guest blogger for a day or a series.