Yesterday, a person that I grew up and then reconnected with via Facebook replied to a post on my personal Facebook page. The post was a picture of the apple bread I made and posted about yesterday afternoon.
She wrote: “Can you write a post on blog to help working moms manage everything? Any suggestions appreciated!” (My first thought when reading this question is you can’t manage everything, but I’ll get into how I deal with that as your read!) She mentioned reading my posts about my recipes and menu planning. She also gave me some info our her daily life and the chaos that it entails.
I was a working mom for the past 3.5 years. Wow, it feels like I worked longer than that, well I did, I just was not getting paid for it. Anyway… when I started working some of the most important things I did for myself was put more responsibility on the rest of my family.
I began working when Colby was in kindergarten. Before that I was volunteering at the boys school and doing all things Mom. When I started working I decided I couldn’t do everything that I had done to keep our lives moving smoothly. I had to figure out what I could give up, what I could delegate and what just needed to shift.
If you are a follower of my blog, you know that I am huge on routines. Well this was even more important when I was working. Everyone had morning and night time routines. We purchased the boys alarm clocks. They had to get up, dressed and come out and make breakfast. I helped it the breakfast needed heating beyond the microwave. Richard and I got ourselves ready, the dogs walked, and supervised all the moving pieces. I would put everyone’s lunches in their lunchboxes and make a smoothie. I had a smoothie every morning because this meant I could drink my breakfast on my drive and while setting up my classroom.
After school, the boys have to empty their backpacks and lunchboxes. If they have papers I need to see, it is their job to put it out for me to see. (I always make sure to ask/remind when I knew there would be something I needed to see such as a permission slip) The boys were in after school care so they typically had their homework done, but if not they needed to complete their homework and/or ask for it to be checked.
I would begin making dinner. We had a menu that was created on Thursday nights. It was written on a chalkboard in the kitchen so I never had to answer the “What’s for dinner” question– I need to hang this up in our new house. I’m already tired of that question! On nights we had events dinner was always FFY (fend for yourself) and it really is fend for yourself. I taught the boys how to make many of their favorite meals. When life is crazy the more the boys did for themselves the smoother it went. There were weeks where we had FFY 2 or 3 nights… and that’s ok!
Before bedtime, the boys had to pack their backpacks, make their lunches and put the parts into the fridge to be packed in the morning, put out their clothes and read. One other bedtime thing we pushed at this time was game time. When the boys didn’t have sports, between dinner and bedtime we played a game as a family. It was a way to sit down as a family and do something fun. Dishes waited. E-mail waited. The technology was put to the side and we played a game.
When the boys started their nighttime routine I would then clean up the kitchen and move onto answering both personal and work e-mails. Richard took on the “herding cats” part of bedtime, as he was the one who read the nighttime story. This gave me a bit of downtime that is needed in everyone’s life. After the boys were put to bed, Richard went to the office and I was the one who dealt with when the children came out of their rooms for something.
My boys also took on their laundry at this time. We had/have a front loading washing machine, which makes this an easier task for them. I was no longer picking out their clothes or interacting with their clothes, so they were responsible for making sure they were washed in time for them to have the clothes needed for the next day. Now, they had plenty of clothes and only need to wash them once every week and a half, if they really thought about it, but hey they can figure it out. They still hate this task, but I refuse to take it back!
The other important thing we make sure to carve in each day was time for Richard and I together. We found time to chat about life. Everyday Richard calls me on his drive home. This gives him a chance to check in on my day and tell me about his day. Some days we talk for his whole drive and others a few minutes, but it lets us reconnect before he walks through the door. We also take the last 45 min-1 hour to sit and watch “brainless tv”. We don’t watch a lot of tv in our house, but its nice to sit and watch something together just to be quiet together and wind down.
Even though I’m not working now. I still do all these things. I know I will eventually go back to work. These routines and procedures help my family run smoothly. They help everyone feel like they are contributing to the family, even if it isn’t always willingly.
So to answer your question: “Can you write a post on blog to help working moms manage everything? Any suggestions appreciated!” I guess my answer is create routines and delegate responsibility. Mom’s or dad’s don’t have to take on every job in the house. Don’t feel guilty for spreading out the tasks and holding other responsible for the completion of them. And just as important… carve in a few minutes to yourself and a few minutes alone with your spouse. These few minutes will provide the sanity you need… or at least they did for me.
Do you have a question or post suggestion for me? You can reply here, on my facebook page or email me Lori.firstname.lastname@example.org. Just remember everything I write is my opinion, and I’m not even close to being an expert… I’m just me!