I’m working fewer hours these days (5-10 a week, usually) and I’ve definitely switched gears. Although I struggled to keep family as my main focus before, my attention was truly always divided between work and family.
Now I consider being a wife, mother, and homemaker my job. I’ll tell you what, it’s a tough job.
Up until recently, I pretty much just winged it. Dinner was typically decided around the time it should have been on the table, laundry was started when Mackenzie ran out of underwear, and I *ahem* attempted to keep track of all appointments and important dates in my head. We survived and had fun doing it, but I really shouldn’t have been in the running for a promotion. Caitlyn arrived just the same, though. 🙂
She brought with her the need for daily loads of laundry. Scott’s work became much more demanding and he needed to come home to a good dinner and a peaceful house. Mackenzie became old enough to wonder “What are we going to do today, Mama?” and “Try to stay afloat” was a too frequent reply.
So, with an immobile baby and a well-behaved three year old, I thought the time was right to focus on getting my house in order.
In the past three months, I’ve made some changes:
- Meal Planning – This was a game changer. I’m still trying to find my groove but already I’m reaping some benefits: Better lunches for Scott, more variety in our diet even in the winter, fewer trips to the grocery store (hard with 2 littles!), and shorter prep time because I’ve already soaked the beans or defrosted the guacamole the night before.
- Vitamins – I now have a system. After my awful brush with Vitamin D deficiency and an embarrassing lack of consistency with B-12 supplements, I took the time to decide on how much I wanted us each to get and figured out how to add pills and drops to our routine. We’ve rarely missed a day in the months since I’ve added this and I have so much more peace of mind now. It was stupid-easy to do and I’m glad I finally did it!
- Calendar – No more surprises! Everything gets written down in one spot and I check it at the beginning of the week and every night for the following day. The “family” stuff that involves Scott goes on the calendar on the fridge so he knows what I’m counting on him for. We honestly don’t have that much going on outside Scott’s work so it was silly to consistently have things sneak up on us.
- Mind Organization for Moms – This was actually the change that sparked everything else. It’s a system of dealing with all the papers, emails, and ideas that hit me during the day and it has made my dreams come true. It is seriously the difference between barely staying afloat and actually progressing on my goals.
- Clutter – In an effort to make our house easier to maintain, I’ve been slowly letting go of things we don’t love. Everything from fewer toys to fewer knives in the kitchen… it makes our house feel more open and it helps me take better care of the things we keep.
- Habits – I’ve successfully added a handful of habits that are now truly automatic, and I have 8 more I’m still working on doing each day. It’s amazing how difficult change can be!
I’m just taking small steps and the ideal of a smoothly-running home is still so far distant that it’s discouraging at times.
Some days are definitely still survival-mode and it seems like I spend every extra second trying to just keep up with dishes and still end up with a sinkful when Scott walks in the door. Or, my entire goal for the day will be to get out the door to run an errand and one thing happens after another and I never step foot outside my house.
But, this quote from my calendar(!) keeps me going:
“It is not the critic who counts… The credit belongs to the [mom] who is actually in the [home], whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
(originally “man” and “arena”… my apologies to Mr. Roosevelt for abusing his quote)
I hope to write up some posts on what I’ve learned so far (especially around meal planning and vitamins, since I’ve had questions about both!)