How to “Do It All” without Losing Your Mind

When  you’re a work at home mom or a stay at home mom, the perception is always that you have unlimited amounts of time and everything should get done.  Your house is always immaculate, your kids are always perfect, and you have time to do whatever random crap a friend or neighbor with a “real job” asks you to do.  You know, watch his or her kids (for free, of course… because your time is somehow less valuable because you stay at home), mow the lawn, or whatever else.  Because it’s not like running a household of your own while managing your other duties takes any real time.  Or you somehow have more than twenty-four hours in a day to dedicate to everything else, and running a household just magically happens.

As a mom who worked at home and is currently enjoying a hiatus as a stay at home mom, I’m perfectly well aware of the real truth: this is crap, and you’re plenty busy on your own.

I got a message from a friend asking for advice on how to juggle everything.  She’s a work at home mom with a successful home based business.  She has preschool aged twin boys and a baby under a year old.  She’s busy.

Right now, my house looks like a bomb went off in the living room.  I also know that my house being in its current state (cluttered, not dirty or hoarded) is a side effect of my depression.  I did make some great improvements yesterday, though.  I folded up the piles of clean laundry that had been languishing in baskets in the laundry room and got Norton’s room clean.  Well, immaculate.  I weeded out old toys that he’s outgrown and culled his wardrobe of outgrown toys.

But when I’m not in chaos recovery mode, things run well when I remember a few simple things.

1.) I cannot do everything.  If I attempt to do it all, I will start by making everything look easy.  But then it will take its toll: I will run myself ragged, for weeks or even months, and then I crash and burn.  Crashing and burning is not pretty.  Saying “no” is the best thing that I can do for myself and for my family.

2.) My most important work is playing with Norton and being his mom.  Everything else comes after.

3.) I’m not a maid or a cook.  Sometimes I will need a hand.

4.) Establishing routines will always make everything easier, both for running a household and managing a family.  FlyLady is a huge help in that.  If you have kids that are old enough to be helpful, she’s got routines for them to help get them going.  She has ideas on how to help get them on board with an organized lifestyle that has routines to help.

5.) Realize that there are days when everything will go to hell in a handbasket, and the best thing you can do is just go with it.

Are you a stay at home mom or a work at home mom?  How do you keep things running smoothly in your home?

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.

Comments

  1. I’m a work at home mom and routine is key for me. Having 2 kids old enough to help out is good too. 🙂 Some days I’m able to get everything done and some days I don’t get anything done. It happens and it’s best to understand that it’s ok. I say that as I look around my disaster of a house and my to do list for today ughhh. lol

  2. I was a SAHM many years ago…so glad to see in this day and age there are still some out there. Your blog brought back memories….my house was always a mess but as the kids got older it became the “go to’ house. All their friends wanted to be in my house probably because of the relaxed atmosphere…just remember….

    I hope my child looks back on today
    and remembers a Mum who had time to play
    There will be years for cleaning and cooking
    But children grow up when we are not looking
    Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
    Cos babies grow fast, we learn to our sorrow
    So settle down cobwebs, dust go to sleep
    I’m cuddling my baby, and babies don’t keep…

  3. I’m a WAHM. Routine is key for us. When the girls know how the day will go, they’re happier and more relaxed. We do a few quick chores after breakfast, then do lessons and play til lunch. Thankfully they still nap, so I can get a lot of my business work or more in depth chores done then.

    Having a husband who is willing and able to help out is big too. Not everything gets done, but as long as the house isn’t gross, we’re all healthy and clean, and the young ‘ens get what they need, that’s all that matters.

  4. What a great perspective. I was so glad to see you mention FlyLady — I was going to suggest her myself. I love FlyLady! Another big help for me is freezer cooking. I don’t do the massive once a month cooking, but whenever I’m making a family-favorite casserole, I triple the recipe and freeze two. It’s nice to have home made meals available for those crazy days. And my crock pot — got a nice Sicilian white bean and sausage meal cooking as we speak. Also, I know that depression is a tremendous challenge, and I commend you for your efforts to overcome it. I thought I would mention that citrus essential oils have been shown to help with depression; it’s nice to have another tool in the toolbox when things are difficult.

    Great article!

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  1. […] (and I was the time management queen when I worked outside of the home), so I Googled for ideas on how to do it all.  And then I found one of my own blog posts about how there are things that can help out with […]

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