I've been a working mom since 2007. In those 7 years, I've just now finally gotten my ish together. And really, getting it together falls under the kind of category.
I feel like there are really no good resources out there for work outside of the home moms to lean on each other or to figure out how to make it all work. And seriously, I am not saying that working outside of the home is harder than staying home. I AM NOT and if you try to make it that in the comments, I will delete you and put a hex on you (maybe not the second part). I am, however, acknowledging that if you're in your house in the evening and it's messy and then you leave for eight hours, guess what? It's STILL messy when you get home--and that kind of sucks.
For two glorious years, I had a cleaning lady and I seriously skipped through my school years without a care in the world, but my cleaning lady no longer cleans and the thought of finding a new one is daunting.
Despite honestly having far more responsibilities this year than when the boys were babies, I desperately wanted to keep it together this year. When the boys were babies, my only goal was to get home and nurse them and kiss them and that was it. Now I have NJHS and department chair and curriculum builder on my plate. Plus, Luke goes to karate three days a week. It's not easy--or rather, I long for the days when I thought I had it hard.
So, it's tough. And I know that people say a happy house is a messy house and blah blah, but I'll be straight with you: I feel happier if my house is clean. Not spotless, mind you. I don't care about the baseboards most days, but I need to feel like I wouldn't be embarrassed if someone stopped by unannounced. THIS is my goal from this point forward. So I've been trying this year, really trying. When I get home, I'm tired. I have a job where people talk at me all day and I just truly want to shut myself up in a dark room with a drink and pretend that the world doesn't exist.
But wait.. if I do that, my house gets even messier?! Crap. So I made myself a chore list. Yes, for me. Every day, I clean a different room or area. One day, I might clean all the bedrooms. The next, the bathrooms. I try to do laundry every couple of days because really, is there anything worse than piles and piles of laundry staring at you? And I always put laundry away before I go to bed--and if it's not dry, I do it at 6 the next morning. I also vacuum the living room and Swiffer the kitchen every single day. Why? These are high traffic areas. If I hit them daily, they aren't as daunting. I'm thinking of investing in a steam mop, like the Shark. Suggestions?
My chore list covers all the days of the week, but it's broken down in a way that it doesn't seem like that much. Clean the bathrooms? Okay, I can handle that on a Tuesday because on Monday, I cleaned all the bedrooms. And I can certainly do it before I have to take Luke to karate or before I have to sit on the floor and play cars with Tommy.
In the past, my weekends were spent yelling and crying and cleaning. Guess how fun that was? JUST GUESS. Now, when I get to the weekends, I've cleaned all the major rooms. I only have to do the main level and do laundry. That's it. I have time for my kids, for my husband and for me. I can't do 20 chore Tuesday or any of the other internet memes that go around about cleaning because at noon on a Tuesday, I'm in my classroom. But what I CAN do is five chore Monday. Five chore Tuesday. Five chore… well, you get the point.
For our students with disabilities, we talk about chunking assignments. Do the first five questions on one day, do the next five another day. Basically what I've done is chunked chores and it works. Are there sacrifices? Sure. I get up at 4:15 in the morning to run so I'm not spending 45-50 minutes an afternoon running. And sometimes I really, really just want to sit on the couch and stare at the wall, but it's a lot easier to fight that urge if I think about how I only have to do three things that night. Oh, and lunches… I have to make lunches every night, but I've started making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on Sunday. If you ziploc them, the bread actually stays soft, and then, I just have Luke and Tommy pick their side items and throw them in a lunch box. It works, you guys! Try it!
Is this one-size fits all for every working mom? No, probably not, but it's sure made my life a lot less crazed this year.
What do you do to make things easier around the house? (Working mom or not, I'd love to hear from you!)