“What kept me sane was knowing that things would change, and it was a question of keeping myself together until they did.” – Nina Simone
Someone asked me, how I keep it all together – I’m not sure that I do. For the majority of my adult life I have been responsible for someone else. I had my first child at age 20, in college, just after finishing my last final for the semester. It would take me 10 years after that to get my degree because I jumped into working and being a mom full time. Before I knew it, I was a full-time mom and working full-time, and before my daughter turned 1, her dad and I bought our first house. I was still swinging working full-time and being mom full-time with the demands of a new home. My husband has been a shift worker for almost 20 years and I was lucky to have a job where I could decide which shift I wanted to take at the time. Back then, there wasn’t any job security when your child was sick and had to be hospitalized. After we moved into our home, my daughter had to be hospitalized twice within 3 months for a week both times, one of those weeks required surgery. While my job was good and easy-going…the company wasn’t. I missed too much time with my daughter’s illness and they let me go. I wasn’t upset about it because that meant I could spend more time with her after she had been hospitalized twice in such a short time. I was unemployed for less than two months because a really good job came around that I couldn’t pass. So, she would go back to hanging out with Granny and I would go back to work.
Many years later, I would become “The Stay at Home Mom.” I, in my ignorant wisdom thought that working full-time and maintaining home was hard, being home full-time is what is hard. At work, you get a lunch break, regular breaks, the occasional coworker you don’t mind talking to and may even possibly become friends with. At home, you are easily accessible. Everyone has access to you and they expect you to be home because I mean, YOU DON’T HAVE A JOB! First things first, my version of SAHM is not book clubs, lunches with the girls, and cocktails at 2. This is not an episode of any of the Real Housewives and most days I’m too busy to even eat lunch AT HOME. So, I was asked about my schedule and how I keep things together. It’s a simple task that you can start on Sunday. First and foremost, I try to meal plan for the week. Take stock of what you have in the house before you start and go from there. You may not have to go out to the grocery store if you have enough in the freezer to make things work for the week. If you regularly cook and do theme nights like Taco Tuesday, Pizza night, or spaghetti/pasta night; it makes it that much easier. Our family is all about Taco Tuesday, so we know that we may have beef tacos, chicken tacos, fish tacos…some type of tacos on Tuesday. That’s one day down, only about 4 to go because at least two nights we eat leftovers. I would also suggest you invest in a crockpot or pressure cooker because that is called – set it and forget it. No standing over the stove and working, it does the work for you. I’ve made everything in a crockpot…even GUMBO! In the words of my daughter, “That crockpot gumbo is smack Mama!” I guess that means good because she usually eats at least two bowls. Below are the simple things I follow weekly to keep my house semi-in order.
- Meal Plan, grocery list, shopping or grocery order.
- Create a basic cleaning schedule. (Make your bed daily…you would be surprised at the number of people who don’t make their beds. -Pick up clutter. -Clear and wipe kitchen counters, stove, wash dishes, sweep and empty garbage. — I usually do this before bed and it’s done for the next day. -Don’t leave clothes lying around. -Clear and wipe bathroom counters at night and in the mornings and make sure sinks are wiped out. This makes your bathroom look clean all the time. (This is what is done on a daily basis.). If you have pets, you may need to vacuum daily.
- Twice weekly I mop. I will for sure get my steps in twice a week because sweeping and mopping my entire house is work. When I sweep and mop, I also sanitize all surfaces since Covid started. I Lysol door handles to entrances, bedrooms, bathrooms, faucets and toilet handles. I “glance” over it everyday, but twice a week, they get thoroughly sanitized. No pets, you can vacuum 2-3 times a week, more depending on the traffic.
- Once a week: Clean out the fridge, dust, (we use our fans a lot and they’re dark so they get cleaned once a week as well) Change and wash your linens. -Laundry, deep clean bathrooms(tubs, toilets, showers, mirrors, and fixtures.
- Don’t worry, whatever you missed will get done.
I try to stick to my schedule as best as I can, especially now because I’m homeschooling my son. This takes a chunk out of my time so I have to be mindful of the time I have to get things done daily and use it as wisely as possible. You have to do what works for you. I can give you a starting point, but you may need to add or take away from it. Not everyone cooks as often as I do, so meal planning may not be necessary. As I said these are guidelines and what keeps me from completely losing my mind. For instance, I sweep everyday because of the type of floors I have. It is tile that looks like wood and it is dark so everything and anything shows on that floor. While I adore them, we have a love/hate relationship too. I have children that can help, but nothing is done right unless you do it yourself and I hate going behind someone to do something they supposedly did. The only person that cleans as good as I do is my husband, and he works hard enough already. How do I keep it all together? Walking that very thin last nerve I have been holding onto since 2013!! My suggestion to you is, don’t lose it trying to keep it all together.