This post is sponsored by P&G. Save on NEW Gain Flings and Tide Pods at Target. Text CLEAN to Target (827438) for mobile coupons*.
Something amazing happened last year. My professional dream came true and I became an author. A legitimate, real-life author who actually started making money for sitting in front of my computer, writing words and turning them into books.
That meant that I also needed to find more time in the day to sit in front of my computer and write words. I also founded the BlogU Conference, which is going to be an AMAZING event this summer, and is taking a lot of my energy right now to plan.
If I was single or if my children were all in school full-time, maybe that would be easy. But right now I have three small kids and only one of them is in full-day school.
The thing about writing is that the income isn’t consistent enough for me to hire full-time childcare because I might not always need it, and, besides, I like being able to be home with my kids during the day. I also like my career and it is really hard some days to balance the mom job and the professional job.
Here are the Top 5 things that I have found that make my life as a work at home mom a little bit easier every day. I think they apply to all moms, though, regardless of whether you have a paying job (we all know that being a mom is a JOB in and of itself) or you work in a traditional office setting.
1. Media free mornings. The kids are not allowed to watch TV, play on the iPad, or turn on any other kind of media before Nick goes to school in the morning at 8:45. I do sometimes check my email while they are eating breakfast, but other than that, there are no electronic devices allowed. I find that this makes our transition to getting ready for school about a thousand times easier because they are not absorbed in something that they don’t want to let go as it is time to head out the door.
2. Meal Planning and the slow cooker. I have fallen off this bandwagon lately, but I need to get back on it. I actually have entire posts on this blog dedicated to meal planning. It makes my life so much less stressful when I throw something in the slow cooker in the morning and I don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the day. I lose a lot of valuable “office hours” when I am spending my afternoon in the kitchen trying to decide what to make for dinner, then standing in front of the stove for 30-45 minutes to cook it.
3. Setting the kids up to be independent. Of course, I am still here for them all day. My #1 priority when I am working is to say yes to the kids as much as I can. So, if they come to me with a book and ask me to read it, I take a break and read it. If they ask for a snack, I get up and get them one or I tell them which one they can get from the pantry for themselves. I keep healthy snacks on hand like individual applesauce packets, dehydrated fruit, string cheese, and whole wheat crackers in places that are easy for the older kids to reach. We keep their plates and bowls in a cabinet that they can also reach.
A great tip I learned from an older mom was to move all of the kids’ socks and underwear into their bottom dresser drawers so that they are able to reach them and get dressed more independently in the morning.
I also try to keep games that are easy for non-readers, like Don’t Spill the Beans and Memory, on hand so that the kids can play amongst themselves without a lot of adult interference and the girls have the reading nook as well as a dollhouse and play kitchen in their bedroom (and I have a direct view of their room from my office). Nicholas is obsessed with Legos and can build for hours after his homework is finished. And, yes, they do also watch more movies and TV than they probably should. Their current obsession is The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.
4. Investing in a high efficiency washing machine and dryer. I have always had old-school washers and dryers. I never saw the reason to pay the money to upgrade when the ones we had were working just fine. After we sold our last house and moved in with my in-laws for a few months while our new house was under construction, we had the opportunity to use their HE washer and dryer. Life. Changing. Mind. Blown. I could wash HUGE loads of laundry and they would be dry SO FAST! All of a sudden, I could wash all of the kids’ sheets at the same time and throw some bath towels in there too, whereas before that would have been four separate loads in my old washing machine.
When we designed our master suite, we decided to put the laundry in our walk-in closet and we bought high efficiency appliances for it. I think that was one of the best design decisions we made. I LOVE having my laundry on the same floor as the bedrooms and I love even more that we only need to do about four or five loads per week, instead of the thirteen we were doing before. After Eddie’s mission trip to build a water tank in Africa, we became much more aware of water conservation and energy use, and this is one way that it is really easy for us to cut back.
I’m also really digging these little Tide and Gain pods that P&G sent us in the mail because they make it much easier for the kids to help me with the laundry because there is no heavy bottle to lift and no measuring to be done. Just toss them right in.
We love anything that can save us time because I’m a writer with deadlines to make and Eddie is an engineer who charges clients by the hour, so for us time, quite literally, equals money.
5. Letting it go. Even though in my head it seems as if my being home all day, every day should mean that the laundry is always put away and the dishes are always done, the reality is…just no. The house is going to get messy throughout the week. The dishes might pile up for an entire day (or two…or three…). The clean laundry might sit in laundry baskets until we have picked through it all piece by piece and worn it all again. That is okay. Nobody ever died because their mom didn’t put their laundry back into the dresser drawer.
This is a sponsored post for Tide and Gain through Federated Media Publishing via Daily Buzz Moms. I received compensation and sample products in return for writing the content provided.
Photo Credit: Deposit Photo