With the “Lazy Days of Summer” winding down, and school starting soon, I’ve been making an effort to switch myself from “Summer Break” mode to “Full Time Homemaker” mode.
Although I’ve technically been keeping house since I first moved in with my husband, I’ve never really been a homemaker. I’m the kind of person who has a hard time juggling responsibilities. I’ve always managed, but there is always one thing that will take priority and get my “Best Effort” while everything else gets whatever is left over. When I had an outside job that always got my best effort, and my family and home got nursed along, one laundry load and meal at a time. I was acutely aware that my family was getting the leftovers and I had a lot of guilt over it.
Now that I’m a full time homemaker, I’m making an effort to settle into a routine to help me keep things running smoothly as well as allow plenty of time for loving on my family.
I have time to cook now, so my loved ones shouldn’t have to eat take-out three times a week. We enjoy take-out once in a while, mind you, but I’m making a real effort not to rely on it. I also don’t want to start relying on expensive (and sorry, but kind of gross) school breakfasts and lunches, when I can provide as good or better nutrition for less by taking a few minutes a day to make breakfast and help the kids pack lunches.
Since I’m no longer making a serious financial contribution, I also feel it’s my job to make sure it’s easier for my husband to go out and earn our living. We all fall down sometimes, but my goals are that he is greeted by a reasonably neat, welcoming home after work, that he has a good meal to eat at night, and that he has plenty of clean clothes in the morning. He should not have to worry about the bills AND whether or not he has clean socks. (I can hear my feminist friends shouting “But you worried about clean socks AND earning a living when you worked!”, which is true. But if he’d been home while I was working I would have appreciated a home cooked meal and full dresser drawers, so that’s what I’m trying to do for him. I guess clean socks are my Love Language 😉 )
While my routine is still very much a work-in-progress, here are some resources I’ve been using to help me get things ironed out.
I’ve been trying to make a meal plan based loosely on the themed one at Blissful and Domestic. I use a wipe-off weekly meal planner which I’ve customized with a good old Sharpie. This week it looks like this:
I already had my week half planned when I found the theme idea, which is why some of the meals don’t match the theme. I like the idea of a go-to menu, but thought my family would scoff at the same seven dinners week after week. I like that this one offers a framework with some flexibility. I tweaked it to work better for our eating habits, and probably will many more times. Since I don’t plan lunches, I’ll probably end up using that column for a working grocery list throughout the week.
I also took a few minutes to think about the things I nag the kids about each day and made a chore chart for them. It’s not as pretty and Pinterest-y as some I’ve seen, but it works for us. I divided the chores into three time slots. These are not limited to personal care chores. I think it’s important for kid’s confidence and sense of responsibility to take care of things that benefit the household, not just themselves.
Their chores are as follows.
Feed and water cat, dog, chickens, and rabbits. Chickens and rabbits generally only need topped off and refreshed every few days, but the kids need to check each day.
Tidy Up The Living Room (so Daddy doesn’t have to come home to our mess)
Water Flower Pots (Free Pass on rainy days!)
Pick up toys from downstairs.
Get dirty clothes into the wash. (A Bowl Full of Lemons recommends running a complete load first thing, but I prefer to start the day with an open and empty washer and just toss things in as the day rolls along. I do my regular washes on cold, so I don’t worry about separating stuff. It all just goes right in and gets washed and dried after the evening chores and kitchen clean up.)
Pick up paper clutter. (Are my kids the only ones who leave trails of confetti behind them? No matter how beautiful or precious a piece of their artwork was when they made it at 3:00, if it’s on the floor at bedtime, I’m putting it in the trash. Having Paper Clutter Patrol on the chore chart greatly reduces the frequency that I find masterpieces on the floor at bedtime.)
I’m also toying with the idea of having them take turns being Mom’s Helper after Baby Hazel is here, and doing little things for me throughout the day. I’m not looking for a slave here, just someone to run and fetch a fresh diaper, or grab me a glass of water when I realize I’m dying of thirst just after I get the baby settled and latched to nurse.
So far the kids are responding really well to the chore chart and taking great pride in putting a check mark next to each completed chore. I LOVE that I don’t have to remind them ten thousand times what they need to do each day. I simply announce “Morning Chores!” for instance, in as cheerful a voice as I can muster, (it’s morning after all) and they hop to it. It’s changing our lives!
I haven’t quite figured out where and how lawn and garden chores fit in, and I’ll admit that the lawn and garden have suffered for it. I’ve just been watering, doing only the most demanding weeding, and harvesting when we go out to play. I haven’t mowed in ages. The grass doesn’t need it so much, but the weeds on the perimeter of the property are getting out of hand. Lovely isn’t it, how all the hose-dragging I do to water the lawn barely keeps the grass alive, yet the weeds are thriving? The neighbors probably hate us.
I also have a few bigger projects/goals that I’ll need to find time for soon:
Create a kids closet and organization scheme in the laundry room, so that toys can move into the girls’ bedroom closet.
Clean and rearrange the girls’ room to make room for Baby Hazel.
Set up the crib/baby corner in the girls’ room.
Pre-wash/re-fluff my cloth diaper stash.
As much as I wish I wasn’t sending the girls out to public school this year, I do realize that when they are at school is likely when I’ll be able to devote a big chunk of time to getting all these things done.
Do you have a routine that works for you? Do you include a time slot in your daily or weekly schedule for big projects or just take time for those as you find it?
If you’ve blogged about your routine feel free to share a link in the comments!