Although the stereotype of homemakers sitting on the couch and eating bon-bons mid afternoon seems to prevail no matter how loud we homemaker’s protest – well, you and I know that just isn’t the case. Most days we homemakers hit the ground running. Living with two pre-school aged children leaves little room for leisure and luxury. After some time spent carving out my routines and habits I have found a few keys to happiness and efficiency in homemaking. I even find myself stealing a few moments of leisure and luxury as a result.
Here are eight things that make my days at home pleasant and productive:
1. I Get Dressed
Ok, let me explain. It is not as though I have ever taken the kids to school in my birthday suit, I am talking about getting dressed, combing my hair and applying lipstick. For awhile after I became a mom and homemaker, I would wake and simply tie my hair in a pony tail. I would hardly change out of my pajamas and baggy pants and a sweatshirt became my homemaker’s uniform. It wasn’t long before I realized is a no bueno habit. Not exactly how to explain this phenomena but my days are far more cheerful if I don’t feel frumpy, unkempt and as though I am 15 years older than I am.
2. Wake Up 20 Minutes Before the Kids
One of the ways I accomplish getting dressed is I wake up 20 minutes before anyone else in the house. Although some mornings I must drag myself from the bed however I am always pleased I do. Those few minutes of silence allow me to collect my thoughts and prepare for the day ahead. It is amazing what one can accomplish in 20 minutes. When the kids wake, I am dressed and usually smiling, the lunches are made, and breakfast is on the table. As the kids sit at the table for breakfast, so do I. I have a few moments to enjoy a cup of coffee and conversation before the morning schedule shifts into action.
3. I Clean as I Go
Some chores I really loathe. The more I procrastinate the more the grime builds up and the less appealing these chores are to complete. The bathroom in general is the room I hesitate most to clean. I find if I clean as I go, the overall cleaning session is reduced by half and is never as daunting as it could be. For example, the bathroom sink is a great clean as you go candidate. Dirty little hands seem to always mess up any of my efforts to keep the sink clean. In the morning and also in the evening while I brush my teeth, I do a quick wipe down of the sink with a washcloth. Voila, no more hideous sink grime build up.
4. Involve the Kids in Chores
In our house, everyone shares the duty of housekeeping. This is a truism simply because everyone shares the enjoyable job of messing the house up. When the kids help out, together we get the house tidy pretty quick while chatting and spending time together. Great chores for the kids include: sweeping the patio, folding washcloths and towels, putting silverware away from the dishwasher, weeding in the garden, and certainly maintaining tidiness in their rooms.
5. Organize Toys and Confine Them to Certain Places in the House
That old adage, everything in its place is an adage used in our home frequently. I am not keen on toys scattered through my home-I do not want to feel as though I live in a preschool. Nor do I favor that constant state of chaos and fear that I could trip and fall on a toy and seriously harm myself. We maintain a rule that toys must return to kid’s rooms when they are finished playing with them. We have baskets for easy pick ups. This is a no-negotiation rule.
6. Menu Plan for the Week Ahead
Organize the dinner menu for the week ahead and you will be surprised at how much time this saves. In fact, Sunday is reserved for time spent menu planning & grocery shopping. Most Sundays, I find I can do a lot of prep work for upcoming meals. Putting the kids to work washing vegetables and organizing them in Tupperware containers is a great task that also encourages good eating habits because the kids are involved with the cooking process.
7. Plan a Date With Your Husband at Home
Getting a babysitter is sometimes unrealistic. My husband and I love this routine. We do have a strong habit of dining together in my family however, once a week I make the kids favorite kid food for dinner. My husband and I sit that dinner out. After bedtime, my husband and I open a bottle of wine and begin cooking a great meal by candlelight. We have uninterrupted adult conversation with dashes of romance.
8. Send the Kids Out to Play
Sunny days are simply a gift in my book because the kids love to play in the backyard. About mid-afternoon is when I just send them outside to dig in the dirt and I sit on the patio with a cup of tea and flip through a magazine.