Grab a cup of coffee ladies and let's chat!
If you know anything about me from reading this blog, you know I am candid. I don't mince words in real life and I don't do it here.
My rant for the morning is this....I cannot stand the pedestal we place stay at home moms on! Yes, being a stay at home mom can be difficult. Yes, it does have value. Yes, we play an important role in the lives of our family.
I know many stay at home moms feel unappreciated and unimportant. This is why we (generally speaking) will argue until we are blue in the face that being a stay at home mom is the most important job in the world and why we have lovely little "research" articles that tell us what our annual salary to help validate what we do everyday.
Here's the problem with this....it creates this outlandish expectation that we as mothers place on ourselves and one another and when we can't meet those expectations we feel like failures. These feelings fester and turn into resentment and depression.
Here's some truths for you.....
1) Being a mom, any kind of mom, is hard work but also very rewarding.
2) There is NOTHING in the rule book that says you have to do everything. There is no reason your spouse and children cannot help.
3) Being a mom does not mean you have to be a martyr.
4) Being a mom does not mean you have to have it all together. Even the ones who appear to have it all together are struggling with something.
4) Lastly, no where in the definition of motherhood does the word 'perfect' come up!
Want to be a great mom...no matter what kind of mom you are? Know your strengths and weaknesses, work with them, try the best you can, love as much as you can and never give up!
Now, you are probably wondering what fueled this fire. Well, it is as simple as a Facebook message from a dear friend who is struggling mixed with comments from other friends and my own personal experience.
I am as guilty as most mom's of trying to do everything and be all things to all people. It left me physically and emotionally exhausted, stressed and generally miserable to be around. It's one of the reasons I stopped working. Some people can balance work and home. I cannot. I either gave work my all or home my all but I never seemed to have enough for both.
When I became a stay at home mom, I completely bought into the expectation that I had to do everything and do it with flair. I would do great for so long and then I would get resentful, miserable and stop doing everything all together.
Are you noticing a theme here? Yes, I am one extreme or the other. It's the nature of this beast. The day I was to marry Eric, my dad told him to remember that I only have two speeds.....off and balls to the walls. Probably part of the reason I am half crazy. lol
Anyway, I have been a stay at home mom for five years now and I've gone this back and fourth routine the whole time.
Recently, I went through a bout of depression that was coupled with a nice panic attack and ended with me boo-hooing to my homeschooling moms at the park one day. I was trying to do it again, be all things to all people and I couldn't do it. The house was a disaster, I was losing control and didn't know what to do.
That weekend I decided enough was enough. I enlisted the help of my family and we got the house to rights again and I took some time to figure out how to best run this house. I think I may have finally figured it out and I want to share it on the off chance that it helps someone else.
This "routine" is based on one simple fact - I HATE CLEANING!!!!
The day you come to my house and it is completely spotless is the day that I've hired a live-in maid. I cannot stand cleaning. In the blink of an eye I can think of anything to weasel my way out of cleaning so I had to come up with a way to clean but not spend a lot of time doing it.
If you've read my previous post, you know that I am the first one up in the morning which honestly helps....it not only helps get things done but it helps maintain my sanity because I have time to think when it is quiet.
This is a rough rundown or my daily routine. I don't have it written down anywhere.
Get up (time varies everyday)
Turn on the coffee pot
Take out the dog
Start Eric's breakfast/fill the sink with hot water
Make Eric's lunch
Get Eric up/gather up yesterday's dirty laundry and throw it in the washer
Have a cup of coffee with Eric
Wash breakfast dishes
Wipe down the kitchen counters
Wipe down the bathrooms
Feed the animals/Clean the litter boxes
Mess around online for a while/do my 30-day plank challenge/take a shower/get dressed/toss laundry in the dryer and fold it
*Once the kids are up*
Start breakfast while they clean up their rooms/make their beds/vacuum the house (I pick rooms for them at random)/put their laundry away
Clean up from breakfast/get ready for school
*Once we start school, subjects are done in a random order that is on our dry erase board. After each subject, we take a 5 min or so break.*
While I'm making lunch the kids have free time.
Clean-up from lunch/get ready to finish school (if we aren't already done)
Once school is finished, all of their completed school work is put in the appropriate places and everything else put away, it is more free time for all of us until dinner. While I am cooking I will have them straighten up and vacuum everything again. After dinner, everyone helps put food away and sweep while I wash dishes (I've also started washing dishes while I cook....something my mother has been trying to get me to do for years. lol).
Then it is more free time plus baths and then bed.
On the weekends, when Eric is home...him and I will will work on two or three things that need deep cleaned and have the kids sort through some of their toy boxes to get rid of anything that is broken or doesn't belong in there. Eric mows on the weekends. He or one of the kids will dust also on the weekends for me because it sets my asthma off. I mop on the weekends or as needed (I tend to spot clean as I wipe things down in the morning).
I am averaging about a load of laundry a day during the week and two on Saturday and Sunday because I wash sheets.
Our trash goes out on Tuesday nights and that's Bryce's job. He puts it out on the curb as soon as we get home from gymnastics so he doesn't have to think about it.
Now, we have a small home so while it may seem like a lot of cleaning in the morning, it isn't. On mornings where I want to go back to bed after Eric leaves for work, I just split the chores up between the kids and I to make the morning go smoother/faster. Cleaning in small spurts is a big help to me because if I get overwhelmed, I won't do anything (there's those extremes again).
Bleach wipes (or make your own vinegar wipes) are a great way to speed up the wipe down process in the morning. If you make your own, you can just wipe everything down before you start laundry and the just toss them right into the washer as soon as you are done. Same goes for homemade swiffer covers. Swiffers and the like are great and fast but lets face it, they get expensive....FAST.
If you notice, this is a full family affair. Eric doesn't do much during the week because (frankly) he's never home.
Chores are great for kids. It teaches them pride in their work, family responsibility and they are things that they will need to know how to do once they leave home and are on their own. It also teaches them to appreciate what you and your spouse do. If you are unsure of what chores are appropriate for your kids, there are tons of websites that give suggestions per age group. Also, if you have kids who are reluctant to clean you can always try turning it into a game, trying a reward system or simply sitting them down and telling them it is something they need to do because they are part of the family.
Whatever routine you find that works for you, make sure you give yourself some breathing room. The world is not going to end if you don't get the bathrooms wiped down and the breakfast dishes done until after lunch or you didn't vacuum or do laundry yesterday. Also, make sure you get some time for yourself.
Have a wonderful day!