Many of us chuckled during the blackouts in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy when we read the internet meme that read: “Being at home reminds me of how much I miss my crappy job.”
It’s seems to be a toss-up whether being home creates more work or allows the time to catch up with it. What is certain is that being with multiple kids at home full-time is an impressive feat not for the faint of heart. Although some seem to be managing quite well, I suspect that many struggle with home and child management in the same way I did.
After poking around a bit, I’ve compiled a list of easy-to-do ideas for life with kids, that I’ve noted from moms who appear to have things under control.
De-clutter: The less stuff, the better. There are always containers going overseas, a rummage sale at a local school, or a drop box somewhere, to give away your overabundance of toys, clothes, household items. Some mothers go as far as to give away one item for every new one bought. Also, try your hardest not to get stressed over the smallest mess. Your house is a space that is lived in.
Hire help: There is nothing wrong with getting some help cleaning or cooking, if you can afford it. Also, use slow cookers, rice cookers and such appliances more often.
Include your spouse and kids in household chores: There are no excuses for dishes left on the table, laundry or clothes not in their proper place, or toys left on the floor. Have that talk, encourage them to do their part and stay strong! Keep them involved, and don’t clean up after them because it’s faster to do it yourself.
Sleep train early or find a livable sleep solution. Try to do it within the first year of infancy. There is simply no substitute for sleep.
Pay bills online: Or even better, set up automatic bill payments. Do this if this is a reasonable choice for your finances.
Make physical lists: Keep a planner and don’t overbook yourself, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Routines and lists are like gold to a busy mom. Also, if you don’t have time for something or feel stressed, don’t commit until you free up a bit and catch up.
Delegate when possible and learn to say ‘No’: I am pleasantly shocked at what I see some very young children do for themselves, when given the chance. Also, just because a child asks for something, it doesn’t mean you need to do it. I’ve seen many a sweet, accommodating mom go nuts trying to meet her childrens’ whims. Some stay at homes may feel that they can be extra accommodating because they’re at home with the kids, when, in reality, they have no such afforded time.
Focus on your quality of worship and duaa: Whenever I became frazzled, my mother would remind me to take time to pray with patience and peace. Remember to ask for forgiveness for your shortcomings and help with your family management/stress regularly.
Self-care: Whether it’s scheduled pampering that you can look forward to, exercise, or scheduling in some girlfriend time, the mere knowledge that you are taking care of yourself will help. Set up some space (even if it’s your room) away from the craziness, if only for a few minutes each day. Meditate, take a deep breath and be thankful that you’re lucky enough to be a mom and that life is so full for you. As hard as it is for stay at home’s as well as working moms, it’s so much better than the ache of emptiness. Alhamdulillah.
Mona is a mom of two young daughters who lives and works in NJ and is passionate about all things expressive. She is a teacher, fine artist and photographer (basemandmona.com). She is also a coffee connoisseur and your can find her café online at roastingpostcafe.com.