Managing the Working Household: How to Remain Sane… Hopefully (The Basics!)

I have a wonderful hubby… have I mentioned that before?  I am terrible about telling him (always seem to harp on the negatives…) and really could not do anything without him.  Before you ask, he is not for sale or rent… I need him!  I know not everyone can have a Hubby (or a Wifie, etc) so find yourself a partner-in-crime (PIC).  This can be your best friend, another parent, your parent… anyone you can depend on 😀

I have had a number of friends return to work after having a baby and return to work after being a SAHM after a number of years… the common theme seems to be trying to figure out how on earth to do it all.  The simple answer is, you can’t.  I know, I know… you want to be super mum, but you will only make yourself insane, trust me, I know.

I have always wanted to be my mother.  That may sounds completely against the grain, but she really was (and still is) an amazing mother.  She was a SAHM through most of my childhood (my father traveled a ton over much of my childhood) and was involved in everything.  There was always a hot meal when we got home, the house was always clean, the washing was always done, and my friends were always welcome.  I’m sure there were instances where this was not true, but that is my memory of my childhood and it is the one I wanted my children to have as well.  Well guess what… thirty years have passed and things are not quite the same.

One night on my way home from work I was talking with my mother (Monkey was maybe 6 months old).  I was upset because Hubby had given Monkey a bottle and I had not pumped… I was worried I wouldn’t have enough milk to be able to get to a year, I wasn’t keeping up with the house, I wasn’t… I wasn’t… I wasn’t… Then my mum told me that she didn’t think anyone could get it all done and that I should stop worrying about it.  My baby was healthy, I was working, Hubby was working, the bills were paid, the rest was just not important.

She was right.

Here is my suggestion: Give yourself permission to let something go.  Write a list of what matters and prioritize.

My list looked like this:
Washing
Vacuuming
Dusting
Clean the bathroom
Make homemade meals for dinner
Spend time with family
Walk the dogs

Next step list in order of what is most important to you (and PIC – if you live together):
Spend time with family
Washing
Vacuuming
Make homemade meals for dinner
Clean the bathroom
Dusting
Walk the dogs

(You might be wondering why vacuuming is more important than homemade meals since I obviously love to cook… we have dogs and a toddler… enough said!)

Ok, now what can you let go? Likely the last couple of things can drop of or at least decrease:
Spend time with family
Washing
Vacuuming
Make homemade meals for dinner
Clean the bathroom
Dusting (cuz really… why do this often… once a month?)
Walk the dogs (poor doggies… they still got walked on the weekends…sometimes, and went to the dog parks…sometimes!)

Now how to figure out a way to do all these things and keep sane.

Spent time with family – this can be anything, but it needs (IMO) to happen weekly.  Hubby and I decided to make a date night on Thursday nights. How on earth did we find a sitter each week? We didn’t. We didn’t leave the house.  We would watch a TV show together, play a game, do something just the two of us after Monkey went to bed.  Then on the weekends we would go out and do something, either with a “moms group” or just the three of us (maybe take the dogs to the dog park?!).  Have a PIC? Spend time with them doing the things you enjoy. Taking time out for you and your family is important!

Washing – oh that wonderful laundry word… add in cloth diapers and Hubby and I decided we needed to do a load of washing each night.  He would very often come home and get it started (he got home first) so it could go into the dryer when we were eating dinner and we could fold it when we were watching TV or doing something else before bed.  Did not always happen, but this stopped us from having to do loads and loads all weekend (which would prevent the family time, see how it all fits together like a puzzle).

Vacuuming – had to happen rather often in the living room, but the rest of the house…maybe once a week? Hubby does the vacuuming and would often do it before I got home from work.

Make homemade meals for dinner – On Sunday or Saturday I would often prepare the meals for the week.  I would create a meal plan for the week and either make freezer meals for the crock pot (See this site for some examples – Saving You Dinero), cook meat for salads (and to use in lunches), cut up salad stuff for the week, make and freeze soups, etc.  While Monkey was little I would also be making pureed vegetables or fruits and freeze them at the same time for her to eat.  It would often take a large part of my day, but then we had meals for the whole week and we did not have to do much each day.  With the crock pot meals you just dump the frozen meal into the crock pot and leave it to cook all day.  Add final touches before serving (cheese or cream, etc) and dinner done!  Have a PIC? Maybe share the meal prep… one month you make a bunch of meals to freeze and next month PIC does it, then you split them and you both have meals.  Get creative!

Clean the bathroom  – must be weekly… eww otherwise.  Now does the mirror, the tub/shower walls, floors, etc need to be cleaned deeply each week? Personal preference… but no, not IMO.  So the toilet had to be cleaned.  Hubby would take care of this most weeks then once in awhile (usually on my Friday off) I would see a dust bunny behind the door, lose my mind, and clean the whole thing.  Also, using shower sprays helps a ton and a swiffer is a very quick way to mop.

Did everything always go according to plan? No. Did I often feel like I was not pulling my weight? Yes. I also had a ton of Mummy/Wife Guilt about being a working Mum and not being the mother/wife I thought I should be. What I really needed to learn (and I still am learning) is I can not compare myself to my mother because we are different people living in two different worlds… She was parenting a 19 month old in 1983 when she was in her 20s; I am parenting a 19 month old in 2013 and I am in my 30s. She was living in England and I am living in the US.

We certainly have one thing in common: We both want/ed the best for our families and were doing what we thought was best at that time.

Hope the above helps someone out there!

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About Emma BL

In the begining, there was just the two of us, then there were furbabies, and then a baby! We started trying to conceive in Nov 2010, but experienced complications and a miscarriage. Finally in April 2012 we welcomed Monkey and Bear joined in 2015. While preggo and trying to become preggo with Monkey, I often hit the web search for information about what is happening to me and I hope that through sharing my experiences, others gain some knowledge. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on the internet. So take all my experiences and advice with a grain of salt! Now that Monkey and Bear are around and we have made the transition to parents... we try to answer the question "is there life after the baby bump?"
This entry was posted in Cloth Diapers, Cooking, Gardening, Kitchen Sink Cooking, Parenting and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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