I don’t think I was ever meant to be a housewife. For one thing, I always thought my life would involve a lot more lounging and a lot less laundry! Plus, I am not very good at it! I have always been messy, a piles everywhere sort of person, and it’s cathing up with me. Now I have two little girls and the battle with stuff is constant and often overwhelming. I will never be Martha Stewart, or even Martha McGyver like my dear friend Kari, and I’m coming to terms with that. I don’t craft, or sew, or iron my sheets. I am not a good baker, and I don’t have the patience to make cute little faces on my daughters’ cupcakes. I am much more concerned with efficiency than perfection. My friends know that my house won’t be spotless, but I have them over anyway. I am not trying to pretned I have it all together, because most days I am barely managing to keep the ball rolling! Even though I am blessed to have some help (a cleaning service comes weekly), we have a rambling old house and the usual, day to day clutter and laundry and cleaning are all mine. I cut a lot of corners, especially the ones that don’t bother anyone, and I am fine with that. I’d rather have the extra time to spend with my girls and my friends. So here are a few of my far from perfect ways of getting the job done, around the house and with two little girls, as quickly and painlessly as possible.
1. I HATE folding sheets, so when they come out of the dryer I just grab them in a big ball and stuff them in the linen closet! We have two sets of sheets for the master bedroom and I rotate them that way. I don’t mind sleeping on slightly wrinkled sheets!
2. I wash almost all of our laundry twice a week, and I throw everything in together on cold. I use an organic detergent and I no longer separate our clothes from the kids clothes. The only things that get special attention are our delicates.
3. I try to morph items from one night’s dinner into the next night. I like to make a big pot of brown rice on Monday and serve it throughout the week, and when we have leftover meat or chicken, I slice it up and make it into a stirfry a couple of days later and no one seems to notice or mind!
4. I rarely bake unless it is something really healthy, because if I want junk I can buy it, and I am not a good baker. I will make healthy alternatives to cookies and crackers and cakes, because I think those are worth the extra effort.
5. I quickly freeze and label leftovers, even if they are not that much, so that my husband can have them on a night when I am out at a meeting.
6. On date nights, I make a box of Annie’s Organic mac and cheese for the girls, and they love it!
7. I decide what’s important to me, and try to do it as best as I can. I made organic baby food for my girls, and hide vegetable in all sorts of dishes, but I buy fancy cakes for their birthday parties because they always look and taste much better than my own!
8. I am working on developing a few recipes that I do really well and stick with them, rather than hopping all over the place, because after nearly 9 years of marriage, my repertoire of things that I can make without a recipe is still pretty limited. That’s because I am always trying something new! Right now my list of staples includes yogurt/berry popsicles, baklava, a crock pot chicken recipe I got from Kevin’s mom, stir fries and brown rice.
9. My rule is that we eat as well and as healthy as we can at home (no white flour or sugar, few refined foods) so that when we are out, we can splurge a little. I try not to be a control freak about cake or candy when we are out and about, but I don’t want it to be a regular part of our diet.
10. I don’t think it’s a crime to let my girls watch a little TV, as long as I know it is something appropriate for them, because it’s the only time they will stop moving and get some rest, and it lets me get some things done.
11. I think it’s important to divide and conquer. I cook dinner and my husband does the dishes. I do the laundry and he does any routine maintenance. I spend the money and he pays the bills. :))) It keeps you from getting to crabby and resentful!
12. I think very carefully about the toys I buy for my kids and try to make sure there is a place to put them, and every year, before Christmas, we donate everything they’ve outgrown or are not using to make room for new things. They help out and it teaches them to give to others! I also take them shopping with me to buy gifts for the “angel” tree at our church.
13. Sometimes we have pajama day and hang out in our PJs and eat popcorn in my bed and watch the Disney Channel. I get some relaxing cuddle time with the girls and they love it.
14. I am SOOO not an outdoorsy person, so I get the outdoor time in first thing in the morning. We go out in our pajamas, and play on the swings and slides, check on our little plants, etc, before it gets too hot. That way I don’t die of heat stroke, and we can get as messy as we want to and then go inside, clean up and get dressed for the day! Of course this only works on non-school days!
15. I am not a disciplined person by nature, but there are a few things I am a stickler about: I take tons of pictures and write down all their cute sayings because I am really sentimental, and I’ve always respected their naps and kept strict bedtimes because it makes us all happier. But I am flexible about mealtimes, give more snacks (but health ones) than I should, and limit the number of activities we get involved in. I don’t want my girls to feel rushed all the time!
These are a few of the ways I try to stay sane! I would love to hear some of yours!