Monday, October 11, 2010

This? Is as close to perfect as I'll ever be.

Nothing says "no pressure" like having people call you, email you, send you Facebook messages, and publicly beg for help on being awesome. And while I'm flattered that I'm held in such esteem and with such regard...I'm scared shitless. Because WHAT IF one of you come over on an off day? Then what? Will your bubble burst? Will you die?

No, of course not. You'll recognize me as a human. I may be perfect but I certainly have help along the way as any queen would. Fortunately for my helpers I'm not chopping their heads off otherwise I would be posting about something much different than I am tonight.

Like how to hide dead bodies in your back yard effectively.

But that's for another time. Kidding. (Kind of.)

Anyways. So tonight I am going to tell you how I can do everything that I do. Which is really fun because I just spent two hours watching Hoarders on TV and let me tell you---YOU could be a hoarder. And I don't know if I'd like you as much. FYI. I know I posted what my daily schedule was like, but that is all out the window since I am no longer working full time. I'm part time and flexible so that means my shift is different every day. So having a regular schedule no longer applies. But here are things that I do no matter what otherwise I can't function:

1. Do your dishes. I know most people hate it and it's not a favorite of mine either but it needs to be done. I don't do dishes after every meal- only after lunch and dinner. So breakfast & lunch dishes are combined. Never EVER go to bed with dishes in your sink. Seriously- how crappy to wake up and see a mess first thing in the morning. I can't sleep knowing my kitchen is in a state so I've been known to wash the few cups at midnight. I'm anal..what can ya do?

2. Stop making everything complicated. Stop trying to make full out meals for EVERY meal. You will drive yourself nuts. The kids and I have breakfast every morning and it's easy. None of us are morning people so let's just eat our cereal in peace and quiet. Sometimes it's yogurt, sometimes it's waffles, etc. Whatever we have for breakfast requires absolutely no thought and is usually something I can do one handed while I try to prevent myself from peeing. (Oh shut up ladies- you know you do that too.)

3. Stick to a routine. And when I say "routine" I mean doing things at the SAME time EVERY day. We have lunch every day between 11 and 11:30. No matter what. I don't care if a really cool class or thing is happening, but lunch is between 11 and 11:30. If I run errands, I am home by 10:30 so I can make sure we're all settled down before lunch. If you don't steady meal times you don't have routine. Routine means more than eating every day- it's a steady time.

4. Make your kids work. Seriously. I totally believe in child labor. My kids gets themselves dressed (Jackson needs some help yet but Olivia pitches in to help) while I get breakfast ready. The set the table, they clean the table. They wipe down the table and they can help me put stuff away. Olivia is 5 and has been helping since she was 2 and Jackson has started helping since he was 18 months old. Your kids need to know they are part of a community and if you aren't utilizing them- you're an idiot. AND you are making your job that much harder when it comes time for them to do bigger things.

5. My husband works 12 hour days at least 5 days a week and usually a 5 hour shift on Saturdays and has now picked up a shift on every other Sunday. He works hard. But he respects me as his wife. AND he knows "my look" when I am on the edge of murder. Matt also will do anything I ask him to around the house. And most of the time? I don't have to ask. He does garbage and recycle without question. He does dishes if he sees me trying to convince the kids to share the blocks. We do bedtime together. I may always cook, shop, organize, and most of the cleaning, but he never hesitates to help. So most of my sanity to keep everything together is because Matt DOES help. He does more than he should have to. He's dead ass tired when he gets home and I know when he does come home he doesn't have much energy to give us. But he still helps me around the house. And frankly ladies? If you have a husband not doing this stuff? What's the point? Why not get divorced and be a single mom? Because WAKE UP CALL: if you are doing it all on your own? You ARE a single mom.

6. Meal plan. I'm serious. Plan your meals. I do mine in two week stretches and I shop on payday. If you are the type of person that "doesn't feel like that" today- then do it a different way. I put my meals on a calendar so like today was cheesy skillet tacos. OK, so I don't feel like that but hey- it's on the calendar. (Fun fact: then I eat less and that's good too.) So if you think that's too hard- make a list of 14 meals and then every day when you wake up- decide what off that list you'll have. Take out whatever needs to be defrosted or make whatever goes into the crock pot, etc. Then you have half of your dinner time battle done.

7. If you are like have a cleaning schedule. Every day I have one thing I absolutely MUST clean. Then I do touch ups on whatever needs to be done. So it's Monday so tonight is kitchen/dining room scrub. But I see my bathroom needs to be touched up so that will get cleaned as well. I do one load of laundry each night.

8. Your child(ren) need to learn how to be alone. This sounds bad but really- it will save you your sanity. My kids have alone play where I send them upstairs to play alone. That means I don't intervene, I don't interact, Mommy is on her own. I use that time to scrapbook, to clean, to go online, to read, to watch a show, etc. They have an hour and sometimes they want to go longer. Which is FINE. They play together well (most of the time) and while it's hard to hear screaming and things crashing- they will be fine. Part of growing up is learning how to share, how to get along, how to resolve conflict. And as awesome as you are as a parent- you don't always help. Sometimes siblings need to fight it out. It's fine. And your kids have to learn how to entertain themselves.

9. Don't give up what you love. Do you love to read? Do you love to knit? Do you love to blog? Then keep doing it. If you put everything you enjoy aside so you can parent 24/7 you are going to get frustrated and eventually begin to resent either your kids, your spouse, or your friends. You can't do that. You always hear about making time for yourself and you HAVE to do that. You are no good to anybody if you don't. And that might mean that as soon as you get up- nothing in that house happens until you are dressed and ready for the day. Look at your life as a business and YOU are the boss.

10. Realize you can't do or have it all. Do you want to be the put together mom who can breastfeed while organizing a group and feeding another child at the same time? Guess what? THAT mom? Is on drugs because no one sober person can do that. I'm serious. If you are overwhelmed with what you are doing you have to give something up. I gave up pumping breast milk for my sanity. It's better for my kids, I know, but they aren't going to die without it. But I would have lost my mind if I had continued because I was stretched too thin. Are you in a lot of groups? Give something up. Do you go to every service at your church? Give something up. Do you volunteer for everything? Give something up. It doesn't have to be forever but you DO have to take the stress off yourself otherwise you will burn out.

11. Be organized. There is NO excuse to not being organized. I'm very serious on this. Look at your life and find one area that is constantly a problem. And fix it. You might not be able to fix every problem area but focusing on one thing at a time is the best place to start. Is it a struggle to leave the house? Have a diaper bag packed AT ALL TIMES. Have your purse/keys/etc by the door. Are you overwhelmed by bills? Then put all of your bills in a box and every other day organize them by due date. So that way when you get money- pay the one on the top first.

Does any of this help anybody? I hope so. I get so many questions about this and I feel like this is pretty general. So if you have SPECIFIC questions or problems.... leave a comment and I'll answer it for you. I want to be clear that Matt and I have not always been this good as a team. We actually suck as a team outside of our house but I have had some very frank talks with him about what I need. So keep the communication open. No matter what.

(And if we can do it? can do it too. Trust me when I say that our marriage has been difficult at best and there have been lots of times where both of us have been thisclose to being done. So you have no excuse if we can do it.)


Kevin Michael said...

Those help immensely...I'll be a great mom and wife soon...oh wait....

Danielle said...

This helped so much!!! Its funny, the part you talked about kids being on their own and entertaining themselves, I've just really started doing this with JC. I'm not comfortable leaving him in his room on his own as he's only 15 months old and has no older sibling to help with supervision. BUT I give him a bunch of toys and put them in his crib and I do what I have to do. It helps a lot. Sometimes it's only 10 minutes sometimes its 45, but either way I get some me time!!! And if it was a short amount of time I'll put him back later and try again. Yeah, I was one of those moms who was just always right on top of him. I didn't have shit else going on I guess ... idk, when I have another one I'll know more for next time!!! Thanks for all the helpful tips! :)

Just Plain Tired said...

Pretty damn straight and helpful advice. And being perfect, without imperfections, isn't an "ideal" perfect. Perfect has small flaws.

Ruth said...

I know. About the dishes I have been know before to be up til 2:30 just because I have dishes to wash. Than I feel like crap because I have to be up before 6. My husband thinks I am nuts. I won't go anywhere for any length of time with dirty dishes either. The last thing I want to see when I come in the door is dirty dishes.

Canadianbloggergirl said...

You know what's funny? I do everything on those lists already!


Ang said...

well i don't have kids or a husband, but it sounds like pretty sound advice! Keep up the good work as a mom and a wife!

Jen said...

Sara, you just rock. Your motivation is just inspiring, and yeah, we all need to hear that stuff from time to time.

Alpha Za said...

Child Labor is awesome.

I thank them for my carpets everyday.

Now if only we could get someone to do the dishes.....


I just wanted to re-affirm the facts.

Nicki said...

MEAL PLANNING. That's my Achilles heel. I end up having to go grocery shopping 3x a week, which is so frustrating because I know I HAVE chicken, I HAVE beef, I have protein in mass supply, in fact, but nothing to do with them. Because I don't have onions. Or garlic. Or anything, really. Alright. Today? I will plan a week's worth of meals. Baby steps. Baaaaaby steps.

asj said...

great post... and Kevin is going to be the BEST mom ever!

Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird said...

Blah blah blah, we can't all be as cool as you Sara. I don't even have kids yet and I'm still lacking in some of these areas. Why? Because I'm pretending I'm still 16 and my mommy is planning my meals for me.

Lord. I need to grow up.

Gini said...

Thanks for this-- shit has been a really big struggle lately and it was nice to read a positive reinforcement of the changes I'm trying to make.

Helena said...

Wow. I need to work on every single one of those things (except the ones involving kids, because I don't have any little ankle biters yet). You are pretty amazing.

Susan said...

That was Great!!!


ComfyMom~Stacey said...

That dishes thing gets me every time, but only because it's DHs job and he does the dishes when he feels like it or has the time & sometimes that means the sink it piled high for a couple days & we're taking individual items out of the dishwasher. But it's his job & he does it in his way. If I start doing it the way I want it, it's my job again. And after a few months of freaking out about it I got all zen and accepted there will be dishes in the sink always & that's ok.

And I know that is the hardest part a lot of my friends have with their husband's helping. It's not that husbands don't help when asked. Husband's don't do it 'right'. So then wives have to go back & 'fix' it or they don't do it soon enough and wives get annoyed and do it anyway. You have to give up the idea of 'right' and accept the idea of 'it's done, who cares how' if you want help around the house.

Mrs Midnite said...

Great advice, I don't have kids but I work, have 2 dogs and lots of activities I try to fit in. I'm sometimes too hard on myself if I can't do it all. Thanks