Working Mom’s Tip:
Crazy day got the better of your dinner plans? You have the fresh pasta with four cheeses, the tomato sauce (gravy to non-English folks I believe) is ready, and then you realize the sweet potatoes just did not make it into your grocery cart yesterday. No problem! I used organic baby sweet potato tubs (which had been necessary for a while with Button during his illness), and they made a very quick and easy substitution for the pureed baked sweet potato I usually add to the tomato sauce for this dish. Easy!
Going back to work after the holidays has certainly dented my schedule in terms of blogging, cooking, organizing, project making, exercising, and spending quality time with my family. There have been so many studies both promoting the benefits working moms have on their families and blaming women in the workplace for a decrease in valuable parenting…yada, yada, yada.
I have no choice, I have to work or we will have to bring our kids up at my in-laws; I love them but we prefer to own our own house. We would also have to curtail all the activities the kids do, and I may no longer have the option to buy organic food any longer. So, I work in order to have these choices, I also lose out on many other things. Thankfully, I love my job.
Let’s take cooking, for example. You already know I am very happy to cheat my way through quick and easy dinners, providing they are nutritious and healthy. Yet, even then, our shopping bill is through the roof. I do intend to work harder at couponing in the near future, once I have mastered other things on my to do list.
Keeping up with the housework is another matter. I mean well and make a plan, but I already get up at 5:30am, work all day, commute home, do homework, feed the family, walk the dog, and then have to work some more. (As a teacher I am lucky to have the flexibility to bring work home), but sometimes I find myself dragging my butt to the desk to work on lessons, reports, grading, or administrative stuff at 10 o’clock at night. What dusting? Cleaning the bathroom…when? I know the laundry has been sitting there for three days, but there is only so much time in the day!!!
In order to work on getting the family back to normalcy after my son’s illness, I am now creating chores and a family philosophy: Helping out is part of family life. With trepidation, I began this movement by asking the boys to take charge of the waste paper basket emptying. This is to be their daily activity, along with a short dog-walk, and they immediately set to work around the house. In order to ensure all was carried out correctly, I offered to give a demo lesson, but Peanut insisted he knew how to do it (why the #^!*@ didn’t he do it before then?) and so I sat back and listened. It was like a scene from an old Laurel and Hardy movie. Peanut was directing Button. Button was revolting against the dictatorship. Peanut was struggling with the need to have it done right and the desire to avoid beating up his brother, and I sat in merry amusement as the two finally worked out a system and then got the ball rolling. They were very quick and successful around rest of the house.
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Then came the ten-minute pick-up. The idea is to have a ten-minute session each day where the boys pick up all their stuff and put it in the correct location. The problem today, however, was that there was so much junk and unwanted stuff cramming cubbies and closets, that ten minutes was not going to cut it.
I still told the boys that they had to work for ten minutes but could continue for longer if they wanted to, as we were really beginning an organization project rather than just tidying up. I was so proud of them as, over an hour later, they had sorted out the entire family room, tossed broken toys, placed unwanted items in a donation pile, and created peace and harmony on the shelves. I let them decide how to do it apart from the odd guiding word when a Pez candy machine took all attention away from the job at hand.
Tomorrow we are going to do the same thing with the bedrooms. One of the biggest jobs will be to sort through the gazillion books lining not only bookcases, but also stacked high in baskets, under beds, inside drawers, and overflowing into the bathroom; we love to read! Many of these books need a new home: they are too young for the boys, although I know they want to keep some beloved early childhood books.
Monday, we will move on to the Legos. My, what a task that will be! I think I will save that for another time. I know you only have so many hours in your day too :)
I feel good about enlisting my “Peeps” and getting some sense of organization and scheduling accomplished. Baby steps allow a busy working mom to feel less overwhelmed with the myriad tasks facing her. Adding a workforce is also key. The boys are going to finally start receiving an allowance, as they will be earning it through additional chores as they come up; the bottom-line chores do not earn anything.
How old were your children when you started chores? Do you give an allowance regardless of chores? Do you have any other suggestions to help a busy working mom establish a great routine with her family?
- Basic New Year Cleaning (creativecleaning.wordpress.com)