Good afternoon everyone! Hope your December is off to a great start! It is getting into crunch time at school (my job) with Biology end of course tests, last minute projects, and finals! The end of semesters are so stressful, but looking forward to a little bit of a break.
With that being said, I wanted to write about how working moms can manage their time with work and family while keeping their house in order. I feel this is an important topic to blog about because 70% of mothers with children under the age of 18 are working at least part-time. Mothers are also the primary or sole earners for 40 percent of households with children under 18 today (US Dept. of Labor).
In this post I want to share with you ways 7 tips that can help working mothers better manage their time with family, work, while maintain their home.
Tip 1: Maintain a Calendar
Get yourself a planner, printable calendar (I have one for you to grab below), or use a google online calendar to schedule everything. I am one of those people who has an online calendar via Google and a printable one on my fridge so that my hubby can see what is going on each month as well. (He is not very tech savvy, so we don’t share an online calendar). I have everything scheduled for nearly all parts of the day. I plug in meetings at work, school activities, events I am to attend, daily cleaning chores, and fun things we are going to do over the weekend, etc. Do you see where I am going? I literally write everything down on my schedule so that I know what I am doing, when I am doing it, and where I am supposed to be. We write down when we visit the lake, when we have our family over to watch a football games, the upcoming boat show in Atlanta-you name it! This way I am never forgetting things I need to do and places I need to be. Having the online version is especially helpful for me because I can check it on any device whether it is my phone, my laptop at work, or my computer at home.
Tip 2: Write down everything
This tip ties into the first tip with maintaining a calendar, but more in depth. I write everything down in my calendar, but I go even beyond that by writing everything down, whether it is on paper or my “virtual notebook” (more on this in a minute). I am super forgetful and if I don’t have it written down, then I will so forget it. My laptop at work has so may of those virtual sticky notes that I have color coded so I know what needs to get done and by when for each class. For personal things, I use not only good ol’ pen and paper, but I have been using Evernote for the past year. I cannot say enough how much I love Evernote. I am not sponsored by them, but just sharing the amazing properties it has. You can add notebooks and notes inside each notebook. For example you can have a notebook on recipes and from there you can take a picture of a recipe, upload to Evernote, then it is synced online. You can even get the extension on your computer so that if you see something you want to add to Evernote, you can just push a button and it goes there. So amazing! I have all kinds of notebooks from recipes that I find on the go and want to keep, to addresses, to things I need to do for my blog, etc. I use the free versioning it works perfectly fine. I even have a notebook for “To-Do” Items which is super important for tip number 3. Another bonus tip for writing things down is to make a weekly meal plan so that you know what you are having for dinner and can plan what you need to get from the store. Need a meal planner? I got you covered…
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Tip 3: Make a “To-Do” List that is realistic
I have so many “To-Do” lists that I keep and you know what, they work! I keep one at work so that I can keep track of what I need to do while I am there. I have one at home so that I can keep track of what I need to do there. I even keep a general “future” to-do list so that I can do the things on this list if I find extra time and get around to it. I highly encourage you to keep a “To-Do” list that is realistic as well. Do not think that you can clean the house top to bottom, mow the lawn, pressure wash your driveway, clean the gutters, go to the grocery store, chop a million veggies for dinner, make dinner, and then clean up after dinner all in one day! (If you can do this, then can I hire you?) Set attainable goals so you are more inclined to complete them and have a sense of accomplishment that you have completed your “To-Do” list.
Tip 4: Clean daily in small chunks
One of the best things I stumbled upon nearly a year ago was a blog called Clean Mama. If you have read my post on “My Cleaning Routine“, then you already know that I do a little everyday so that my house is for the most part clean all week long. Below is a preview of what I do each day and these tend to take me no longer than 15-20 minutes each day.
Sunday: Wash our dog Ruger’s bedding
Monday: Clean bathrooms and wash towels
Tuesday: Dust and do Hudson’s laundry
Wednesday: Vacuum carpets & wash delicates/work clothes
Thursday: Vacuum hardwoods & mop, wash our daily clothes
Friday: Catch-all day
See none of these things are too time consuming yet I always feel lie our house is cleaned. I need to add that I clean our kitchen in the morning before we leave for work and at night before we go to bed. This is something I have to do multiple times a day because I cannot handle dishes in the sink and the kitchen to be in disarray. I also vacuum the kitchen a few extra times during the week because this is where we are the most and this is what gets the dirtiest! Lastly, I make our bed every morning! This is the first thing I accomplish for the day and makes me feel god!
Tip 5: Make sure you are getting enough sleep and get up before your kids do
I cannot stress the importance of a good night sleep. Remember when you had a newborn and you were so tired from being up all night with them that you were basically a zombie all day? This alone should remind you of how important sleep is for your health and sanity. You as the mother are vital to your family! If you are not functioning and taking care of yourself, then you cannot take care of others. Make time to unwind and go to bed! You need plenty of rest to maintain your job and family so make yourself a priority.
To help me stay on track, I also get up at least an hour before our son does everyday (even on weekends). This allows me to eat breakfast, get ready for work, and pack our belongings for the day without having to chase him around while doing so. By the time he gets up, I can focus my attention on getting him fed, dressed, and out the door.
Tip 6: Leave work at work
This tip I learned a long time ago when I started teaching. I was taking home so much stuff to do after school that I wanted to cry! An older teacher told me to “Never take school work home!” I have kept those words close to my heart ever since. You need to be able to detach from work and spend time enjoying your life and your family. If there is an occasion you need to do work at home, then try to do it once your kids have gone to bed-but do not make it a habit of working on work at home. This was the best piece of advice I received and I can say that it has made a world of difference! Being home now gives me that much needed release from the stresses of teaching so I can decompress and be ready for the next day. Try it-you will wonder why you ever brought home work to start with!
Tip 7: Delegate
The last tip is to divide and conquer. Most mothers I know try to do everything for everyone and end up going insane. I am guilty of this because I am a control-freak as well as a perfectionist. I drive my husband crazy with some of my quirks, but I know he loves me;) If you have a husband, then tell him you need help. I asked my husband if he could start packing up the toys at the end of the day while I bathed our son and he is happy to help. Ladies, just ask! If you have children old enough to help you then make them be responsible for some of the load. They can fold and put away towels or empty the dishwasher. They can dust or clean their own bathrooms. Use your resources and work smart not harder. One thing I had to let go of what the idea of things being perfect though! While this was hard for me, I would rather have the help!
I hope you have found these tips helpful! If you did, I would love for you to share it with your friends and family or leave me a comment!
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