It doesn’t matter if you are a work-at-home mom, a stay-at-home mom, or a working mother outside of the home, the demands of everyday life can sometimes catch up to us. Getting organized sounds like a great idea but can be overwhelming for some of us to execute.
When I first became a stay-at-home mom, I was overwhelmed by the amount of responsibility. Because we no longer had a second income, going out for dinner and cleaning services became a thing of the past. I am a taskmaster and learned quickly the key to surviving and thriving as a stay-at-home mom is to have a plan and goal for everything in my day. The other key is getting my kids involved in helping—for my good and for theirs! Below are 7 shortcuts that will not only simplify your life but will help your kids learn to help more too!
1. Meal prep assembly line.
If you are like me and you are not a morning person, simply getting going in the morning can be a struggle. Don’t allow lunch prep to add to your morning chaos. Instead, prep lunch boxes the night before. Let the older kids start making sandwiches and the younger ones pick out the snacks while you are loading the dishwasher from supper. Once they are done, enlist their help in cleaning off the countertops. The more your children are involved in making their meals, the more likely they are to eat what they’ve packed. Use this as an opportunity to slide in some healthy dips like hummus or create a deli wrap with a few pieces of spinach. Prepping the evening before saves you time in the morning and you are creating memories with your children the evening before.
2. Get in the zone.
Cleaning the house is dreaded task, but it has to be done. If you are tight on time and constantly on the go because of work or sports (or both), put yourself and the kids on a schedule. Create zones in your home and set your phone timer to 15 minutes. Each evening, everyone in the house spends 15 minutes cleaning and detailing a zone or two. Breaking your home up into zones and giving everyone just 15 minutes to get it done. It not only helps you and your kids stay motivated, but it also takes the stress of the getting the entire home cleaned off of your shoulders and makes the task more manageable. Download our free customizable chore chart to help everyone keep track of his or her roles in each zone.
3. A laundry pile that makes you smile.
Laundry seems never ending at our home. One of the rules in our house is that I will help fold (for the kids who need it), but they put away. All of the kids’ shirts (even t-shirts) go on hangers and are hung in the closet to make it easy and fast. We don’t fold any of their shirts. The oldest two are responsible for helping the youngest two.
4. Pencil it in.
I have four kids who are involved in Awana, swim team, and American Heritage Girls. I know very well the importance of having a family calendar, and these printable ones from iMOM are cute too! My husband and I set time aside each weekend to go through the calendar for the week to make sure we have each other’s schedules written down and have a clear understanding of who is taking responsibility for running the kids to their different activities. Communication is key in a busy family. Make sure you are setting aside, at least, one day to relax. Fridays are our family days. We do not schedule any activities on these days because we need a day to just lounge and sit still and enjoy each other.
5. Naptime cooking.
Oftentimes, my afternoon is booked with extracurricular activities. Since we still have nap time in our house, I use that opportunity to cook supper. It works for us because as soon as nap time is over, we are on the road headed to swim practice, and when we come home, I just have to plate dinner. This is also a great time to enlist bigger kids to help with breakfast muffins for the next morning. I am often prepping supper while my oldest is making two loaves banana bread for breakfast. Another easy chore for an older toddler is to put together smoothie bags for breakfast or snack on the go or at home.
6. Smart Shopping.
Taking four kids into a store is never an easy feat. I shop online as much as possible. I have Amazon Prime and have found that the membership costs have paid for itself within the first month. Or, you can support your favorite charity by ordering through the Amazon Smile program, including Family First and iMOM. I am able to buy craft items; birthday gifts, books, and gluten- free groceries with my prime membership and receive it in 48 hours. Here are some of my go-to online stores for clothes, food, and dressing up.
Amazon Fresh: Delivers groceries to your door!
7. Fresh Friday.
We have a clean car rule that you cannot get out of the car to go inside unless you have picked up whatever you brought into the car. This includes trash, sippy cups, backpacks, and athletic. As a follow up to our clean car rule, Friday is actually clean the car day. It’s never longer than 15 minutes. One child gets the privilege of using the vacuum to vacuum the floors and seats of the car. Everyone loves this particular chore for some reason so, usually, my car is pretty spotless. Because we do it every Friday (as needed), we are able to stay on top of our mess and not be embarrassed every time the van door opens.
Motherhood is full of to-dos and responsibilities. Our children are watching us and observing how we approach the stresses and chaos of life. Show them that while we may not get it all done, asking the Lord to help us find our priorities and making a plan is the first place to start in any situation life hands you.
What are some of the ways that you have organized your day to make it easier for your family and get your kids involved?
Tara Norman is a homeschoolng SAHM to four kids and has been married 10 years to the love of her life, Paul Norman.