Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Working Moms...

I've started to write this post several times, and my mind ventures from one thought to another...so forgive me if this seems all over the place!

First of all, I want to say that if we could comfortably swing it, I would totally be a stay at home mom.  Our financial status just doesn't allow for that.  And, truth be told, I am not willing to sell our house,  move into a tiny apartment, downgrade to one car, cut our cable, quit eating out, etc. so I can stay home.  If we could cut a few things, I would do it in a heartbeat, but it is just not feasible for our family right now.  And...I'm home with the kids during the summer, so if I have to work, I have the best job I could hope for...I'm a stay at home mom for almost three months & get long holiday breaks :) 

The most important thing for me is family.  My family is first. Period.  If my kids need me, I'm there.  There once was a time when I'd feel guilty about calling in sick because I had feverish kids at home.  Now, I call off and appreciate the fact that I can stay home for a day or two, eat chicken soup & jello, cuddle up in thick blankets, and watch cartoons until they feel better. 

Balance is also important in keeping a household running with two parents working outside the home.  As hard as I've tried, I know I can't do it all.  I used to think no was impossible, but I have learned to say  it...and let me tell you, it feels good.  I would commit to church functions, work events, and school projects without batting an eye.  And then I'd lie in bed Saturday night with knots in my stomach about reading in church the next morning.  It seriously wasn't worth the stress.  Now I say no without batting an eye.  It's not necessary {or healthy} to do every. Single. Thing. You're asked to do.  Learn to say no.  I did.

Equally important, organize!  I know the weeks are busy & full, so I try really hard to prepare myself over the weekend.  Coming home to everything else after a hard day at work is stressful.  I find that it's much easier to go into Monday morning if I have an agenda for each day of the week.  Bi-weekly menu/meal planning is a necessity for us.  Read more about that here. 

I'm lucky enough that Daniel buys school lunch every day, so that is one less thing on my plate {pun intended}.  Joel's babysitter keeps a stockpile at her house, and she lets me know on Fridays if there is anything he needs for the following week.  I make sure to have his bag ready Sunday night if there was something on her list {baby food, snacks, formula, diapers, wipes, extra clothes, etc}.  I usually pack my lunch on a whim right before we leave in the morning {I'm trying to get better at this}.  I try really hard to set things up for breakfast before I head to bed.  Sometimes I forget, and that's okay.  It is okay to forget, really.  I need to tell myself over and over sometimes. 

I am really good at picking clothes out for all of us {except Dan, he picks his own ;)} before bed each night.  That is something I struggle with daily {especially for myself}, and if I lay my head down at night knowing what we're all wearing the next day, I can rest a little easier.

I used to religiously clean the entire house every other Saturday {pre-Joel}.  Now, I might scrub toilets on a Thursday night, clean tubs on Saturday morning, and wipe vanities down & clean mirrors on Monday night.  Kitchen counters get wiped down with Clorox wipes each night after dinner {it has become my routine, and I actually find it calming}.

I am one lucky wife to have a husband who is more than willing to pitch in where ever he can {without being asked}.  He irons, vacuums, folds laundry, cooks, cleans, does dishes, feeds & bathes Joel, helps Daniel with homework...you name it & he'll do it.  I love him for that, and am so thankful to be blessed with someone who does what I can't always do.

I recently realized that Joel has enough pairs of pajamas and day clothes that I only have to do his laundry once a week.  So...when I see his hamper is full, I do it.   The rest of us share hampers in our bedroom.  I have three separate baskets for lights, darks, and towels/sheets.  When I see that one basket is full, I'll throw it in the washer.  No more  Thursday/Sunday laundry marathons.  I do it when it needs to be done.  We all have enough undies to last at least a week, so that is never an issue.  You can usually find me doing two loads of lights and darks and a load each of towels & sheets weekly.

There was once a day not so long ago that I'd go into a slight panic attack if I saw that toys, books, and papers were out of place.  Now, I let it all go until everyone  else is nestled in bed & I take 10-15 minutes each night to tidy up the living room {fold blankets, put stray socks in the hamper, toys in the toy box, and dirty cups in the dishwasher}.  It would take me all day to keep up if I went around putting things away, but when I do it all at once, it doesn't take long at all - there is something about going to bed with a tidy living area that makes me happy.  I keep a Swiffer dry wand on each floor of the house.  If I notice a thick coating of dust on a dresser or coffee table, it only takes a few seconds to run it around.  {I've also been known to use old socks lying around...it's just as effective ;)}

The only things that must get done each night are dinner, dishes, homework, and bath/bedtime routine.  After that, anything I get done is icing on the cake.  The rest can wait for the weekend when I have more time.

When we get home after a long day, Daniel has a snack & watches a few minutes of tv while I sit on the floor and play with Joel.  I usually give him a bath {and then depending on how his schedule at the sitter's went for that particular day, he will either go down for a short nap or sit in his high chair and eat puffs or yogurt bites while I make dinner}.  Daniel starts his homework & if he needs help, we work on it after we eat.  Dan gets home around 5:30, and we always eat as a family at the dining room table {it might just be soup and sandwiches, but every one of us sits up at the table where we reflect on our day}.  On Friday pizza nights, we eat in the living room, but we are all together.

After dinner, Daniel gets his shower & does his reading for school.  Joel eats with us, but usually wants a bottle after that. He goes to bed around 8:30 and that is when I catch up with Daniel & do some blogging.  I find that if I draft a bunch of posts on the weekends or when I have a few spare minutes during the week, it is much easier to be consistent with posting.  It is really the last thing on my list, but I find it relaxing to sit down and write, so I make it a part of my routine.

Make time for you.  I know it's hard, and time isn't easy to come by, but even ten minutes can mean the world after a long day of working, making dinner, and changing a poopy diaper.  Take a hot shower, read a magazine, relax with a glass of wine, an afternoon at the spa, lunch with friends, an hour blogging, finding ideas on Pinterest...whatever it is that makes you smile... And don't feel guilty about it.  I struggle with that, but I've found that if I give myself some time, I'm more energized and ready to give my family the love and care they deserve.

At the end of each day before I climb into bed, I count my blessings, one by one. Life isn't perfect, and there will be days when you can't do it all...The most important thing for me to remember is that my kids won't be little forever...I need to make the most of each and every moment of each and every day.  What I don't get done today will still be here tomorrow...

Linking to Women Living Well and Kelly's Korner - Show Us Your Life ~ Working Moms
Disclosure: I apologize for no pictures (I had good intentions of adding them}, but I just didn't have the time...off to get Joel ready for bed after a very long day!  Good night! 

3 comments:

  1. I needed this post today. You have no idea. I'm a working Mama to (a teacher too :)). I've felt guilty about working since my oldest was born (she's 6). My husband and I talk about it sometimes, but I know there is no way.

    Anyway, it's nice to read another working mommy blog :)

    Found you from women living well

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  2. Thank you! It is SO hard to be responsible for other people's kids all day and then to come home to your own. I know exactly how you feel and I SO wish I could stay home.

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