Raising kids truly is a full-time job, and on some days at home with them it can be hard to get anything done. Life would be lovely if we never had to do housework, pay bills, get to the post office and grocery shop, but these are facts of life. Here are some suggestions for helping to keep things running smoothly. All of them have helped me at one time or another, and I hope they help you.
- Assign different days for different chores. Knowing when you wake up what you need to accomplish that day and what isn't necessary until tomorrow can prevent a feeling of being overwhelmed.
- Join FlyLady. She's strict, but the system works if you stick with it. See StorkNet's interview with FlyLady.
- Open an internet account with your grocery store. Even if you prefer to do all your shopping in person, there are occasions when getting groceries delivered can be a real help.
- If possible, organize your bill paying so that you can either do it online, or take them all to the post office on a certain day of the week or month.
- Plan meals in advance. This can cut down on food wastage and your grocery bill. If you have the time to invest, once-a-month cooking can be very useful.
- Trade childcare with another mom, if that option is available to you. She can watch your child(ren) on days when you have a hundred errands to run and little time, then you can do the same for her.
- Hire a mother's helper. Even a pre-teen can build block towers with a toddler while you pay bills at the dining table or prepare dinner.
- Have a plan as to what you are going to do while your child naps, if he/she does, and stick with it. However, if the morning has been a handful and you need that hour for some tea and a magazine, use it to recharge your batteries.
- Keep alternatives in mind. Know what errand you'll run if you turn out to have only 20 minutes instead of an hour before playgroup. Similarly, have a backup quick dinner to fix if you just don't have time to fix a lasagna from scratch.
- Don't feel guilty if the day goes differently than you had planned and you don't get everything done. Planning every minute of a day with children is not only impossible, it leaves out the enjoyment of those silly, spontaneous moments. Aim for a productive week and enjoy the little things. They are only young once.
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