Being a stay-at-home mom is more work than many realize. You don’t realize all the things that go into being a full-time mom. You become a gardener, bookkeeper, maid, appointment setter, chaffeur, chef. So many hats for one woman to wear on top of being responsible for a human life. It can be stressful to manage all these roles. Here’s a list of things you can do to help your day run smoother.
1. Make meals ahead of time and throw them in the freezer. This saves a lot of prep time. All you have to do is heat up the oven and put it in when you’re ready for dinner. Try preparing a number of meals at the same time and cut out several nights worth of frustration. Sit down and make a food calendar with your husband (and children, if applicable) and figure out what’s for dinner every night of the week. Make anything that can be prepped and stored in the freezer all in one sitting. Prepping the meals after your child has gone to bed will save you from a lot of distraction and stress.
2. Type out a list on your computer of all the grocery items you typically buy. To help yourself out further, put the food items in categories such as dairy, meat, breakfast foods.Print out the list several times. When its time to shop for groceries, simply pull out that list and circle what you need for that week. You might also want to consider consulting your food calendar. This will help in knowing what ingredients you need to buy.
3. When you plan to do laundry, take a basket with you to each room and collect the dirty laundry. This saves time by only hauling one laundry basket around, as opposed to bringing each one to the laundry room. A two compartment laundry sorter is a good idea. Instead of a pile of clothes that you have to separate the colors later, you can simply throw your whites in one compartment and your colors in another. Now the only hard part is getting your husband to throw his clothes in the right compartment.
4. Pick out one room to focus on each day. If a list helps you be more efficient, write down everything you want to accomplish in that room. Once your child takes a nap or is focused on tv or playing, go ahead and start cleaning. Sometimes giving oneself a schedule to adhere to makes a big difference in your everyday life. Don’t forget to reward yourself, whether it be a cookie, a bubble bath.
5. Make a budget and stick to it. Use a spreadsheet program to log your bank account activity, in addition to using a calendar to mark down when bills are due. Microsoft Works has a calendar program as well as a program called Microsoft Money if you are not comfortable creating a spreadsheet. Having all your information in one place and the convenience of online banking has made keeping track of your finances so much easier.
6. Utilize your child. If your child is old enough to help you out, give them easy chores, such as dusting or polishing) and praise them when they’ve done it right and genuinely thank them for their help. If you have a younger child, do a few quick and easy chores while they nap, let them watch you clean, or carry them in a sling or harness. If you need to wash the dishes or inventory the refrigerator, pop your little one into their highchair and give them a snack. Your baby will be happy as long as they can see you and are satisfied with their situation. Recommended snack: Gerber Finger Foods Veggie Puffs. These taste like Kix and melts in your mouth.
7. Vacuum at the right time. Some children are terrified of the vacuum, some wake up to its sound. Figure out the best way to get your vacuuming done that won’t disrupte your child. If your child sleeps through the sound, do it while they nap. If they actually like the vacuum and are fascinated by it, make a game out of it, chasing them with the vacuum. Another idea is to vacuum before they’ve fallen asleep. The vacuum can actually help them go to sleep faster because of the white noise it creates.
8. Do all yardwork in one day. Trying to stretch yourself thin by mowing the lawn on one day and planting flowers the next can be a pain. Pick a day that both you and your husband can dedicate to the gardening. While you mow the lawn, he can be planting flowers with baby by his side in an exersaucer. Or, one person can keep an eye on your child while the other does the mowing. Some things, such as planting flowers, can be a family experience and get everyone out of the house to enjoy the sunshine.
9. Clean as you go. This seems so obvious, but many of us are guilty of just leaving things as they are until the mess is too much to stand. Don’t avoid the dishes after dinner. Put them in the dishwasher or wash them immediately. If you simply leave them, they are just going to be crusty and harder to wash later. Plus, once you get the task out of the way, its time to relax and have a scoop of ice cream or play a game as a family. Think of the Nike slogan – just do it. It’s easier to throw something away immediately than it is to throw a LOT of somethings away at once.
10. Be tricky. There are so many low-cost, effective solutions out there to cut your cleaning time in half. Put a plastic bowl filled with water in your microwave and set it for five minutes. The steam will do most of the work for you. Adding a little degreaser to your mop bucket will pull stains off your kitchen floor better than going over the same spot twenty times. Use a sheet of Bounce to collect cat hair. Rubbing the area with a sheet of Bounce will magnetically attract all the loose hairs.