I am a creature of habit to a fault. I thrive on routines and knowing what to expect out of each day. When a wrench is thrown into my plans and things deviate from my organized schedule I feel stress creep in and the tension take over. I’m irritable, moody and not entirely pleasant. But by recognizing this and accepting this as a trait of mine I am learning ways to embrace it and have found little ways to minimize my to do list with minimal effort.
I can’t remember what insta account I was following but I saw a post about the Cozi app and this thing helps me on the daily! (Seriously though the app developer for this has got to be a mom.) You can manage a shared calendar with your family that has color coding options to identify who is attending what event. Goodbye overbooking! There is also a spot for a shared to do list and a personal to do list that I reference way too frequently. What that means for my household is that instead of having to feel like a nag asking the hubs to do things I can just add it to our shared list. Because as the age old saying goes, “Happy wife, happy life,” and boy do I have a smile on my face when a chore is done without a request coming from my mouth. I’ve also used the app for meal planning and referenced a few of their recipes and then immediately added grocery items to a shopping list. How’s that for getting the most out of a product?
As I mentioned, I thrive on routines. Honestly, I self describe as a task oriented person. I get a personal sense of satisfaction ticking off my to do list (no seriously, scratching it off of a written list brings me joy). But the expectations I put on myself to maintain this level of perfection can be daunting and have the opposite effect of leaving me feeling lacking. So I’ve learned to adjust since becoming working mom and there are just a few things I do daily that help me appreciate my house appearing in order while also not having a breakdown over the lack of perfection.
One – I don’t leave the house without making our beds (mine and the kiddo’s). When you walk in a bedroom the focal point is generally the bed. So to me it makes sense to appear orderly by keeping the bed made. It’s a simple chore that can be accomplished in less than 2 minutes that makes the world of difference.
Two – I tidy up throughout my day. Whether that’s in the morning before I’m heading out the door for work or at the end of the day when I get the babe to bed. I read an article about how organized people will spend the 5 minutes they have cleaning rather than relaxing and I can relate. Because if I’m already walking through a room why not grab the cups I see and get em in the sink? Or pick up the shoes at the bottom of the stairs and put them in the shoe drawer? Or grab the couple toys strewn out in the living room? You get the idea. The concept being that if I take these small windows of opportunities to tidy up it makes a big difference by the end of the day. AND then I’m not overwhelmed by the degree of cleaning I have (or caught off guard by an unexpected guest). This is not to say I have a spotless house by any means! It appears tidy but is not what I would define as clean (no white glove test here).
Three – I try to clean as I go when I’m making dinner. I am completely reliant on meal planning for my family and generally lay out a weeks worth of meals at a time to ensure I’m not scrambling at the end of my day. As the primary cook in my house this chore generally falls on me and I’m not naturally gifted at throwing ingredients together and whipping up a culinary masterpiece so meal planning is key. But at the end of my work day to come home and cook and then turn around and clean it all up just feels way more exhausting than it should. So to make things a little easier on myself (and get me to that glass of wine and Netflix binge that much faster after my little guy’s bedtime routine) I try to tidy up as I cook. This does not mean I have a clean kitchen as I’m plating a hot dinner for my family. It does mean that things are usually off the counters and dishes in the sink when we sit down at the table. From there I can make the choice to tackle the dishes that night or in the morning (dishes is my LEAST favorite chore).
Speaking of dinner, I’ve also been known to subscribe to Hello Fresh periodically to make things even easier on myself. I honestly don’t believe this would be the most cost effective option if my family were larger (the hubs, myself, our three year old and one on the way) as we’re often times reliant on leftovers to fill our bellies at lunch the next day. But for now it can work on an inconsistent basis. I’ve also been known to pick up a meal kit from my local grocery store and have that waiting in the fridge. If I need a break from cooking hubby is way more apt to jump in if it’s all laid out for him so that’s a win win. The other subscription box I enjoy is imperfect produce. This is twofold because while I’m ensuring my fridge is stocked with a variety of fruits and vegetables I’m also helping minimize unnecessary food waste by using produce that isn’t otherwise marketable in grocery stores – and it’s delivered to me at a discounted rate! It just recently came to our area so check it out to see if this is now an option for you too! (Note I realize subscribing to meal and/or food delivery is a luxury that not everyone can take advantage of.)
So there you have it. My basic tips for easing some of life’s stressors when trying to juggle it all. I hope you found this helpful. And feel free to send any other suggestions my way as well because I can use all the help I can get.