A couple of years ago I wrote about our schedule and how I managed to keep our house clean, take care of my kids and stay sane at the same time. I had a good system that fit our family, but I was also adding another baby into the mix. I remember writing that I would inevitably, be changing it up. Sure enough, I did! My kids got older, our life got a little bit more hectic and then both started school. So what was once a great system for us has changed. Today, I get to share with you how we get everything done these days.
Now that both of my kids are in school, I have some more down time for me to get things done. But I also have more school activities than before that keep me going. Another big thing happened as well....my kids quit napping!! Yes, both of them!! I finally gave up and called it quits because it was more complicated during nap time than it was with them just skipping. My daughter was never a big day time sleeper. Even as a newborn, she stayed awake a lot and went to bed early sleeping through the night by 8 weeks. She loved being a part of things and staying wide awake. I would put her down for at least one nap a day, but most of the time she would just play in her crib. I was ok with that! Both of my kids would go to nap and just read books and play in their beds for a couple hours. I loved it because it gave me the much needed down time that I looked forward to each day. Then around 2 1/2, our daughter got a big girl bed. She did well with just playing in her room quietly, but then we potty trained. It seemed even if she went to the bathroom before nap time, during nap time, it was constant, "I need to go tee tee!" or "I need to go poo poo!" or "I need a drink of water!" which eventually turned back into "I need to go tee tee!" Seriously!! I got up more and went up and down the stairs during that time than any other time during the day! And how can you tell a little girl who is potty training that she really doesn't need to go? Eventually we got that kink worked out, but by then I had given up. Now we do quiet times during the day for an hour or so, where they go upstairs together and play quietly.
Needless to say, given all of that, I lost my down time which I needed to stay grounded. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids!!! I love them to the moon and back and so much more. They are my joy and everything, but oh my goodness do I sometimes need space! We are together ALOT! So here is what I finally came up with that is working for us now.
Monday: they go to school. then in the afternoon we do general clean up like dishes, a quick vacuum, and dusting.
Tuesday: this day has become our cleaning day! This is where the bulk of the work gets done. Laundry, cleaning bathrooms, general pick up and cleaning the kitchen. I also do yard work and other little things that need to get done around the house this day.
Wednesday: School, then in the afternoon, we pick up stuff, put things away, and keep the kitchen cleaned. In the Spring and Fall this night was reserved for soccer practice. So the majority of the afternoon is making sure everything's cleaned, put away, in order so we can eat, O can get a quick bath so everyone is ready for soccer practice. (My husbands the coach, so we all usually go)
Thursday: usually we do a play group in the morning, then we run errands if they need to be done that afternoon, and do a general clean up. Basically, general clean up means keeping things put in their place. I also let the kids run loose in the play rooms this day. I let them make whatever messes they want! We can always clean it up the next day. Hey, they need to be able to be kids and have some freedom. So we just try to keep all stuff put away and toys out of all the other rooms except the play room where they are free to destroy.
Friday: School in the morning, then in the afternoon, I do any laundry from the week, vacuum (we have two dogs, vacuuming is necessary twice a week!), sweeping, getting everything cleaned up and put away for the weekend, like school crafts, lunch boxes, back packs, shoes, soccer stuff, etc. This stuff can kind of get set aside because its used or looked at daily, so it doesn't get put away right then.
A couple side notes. I still treat being a stay at home mom like a job. I start when they get up or when we have to leave for school and I am off by 7 for sure. Most days its sooner. Other than cleaning after I cook...a little, I dedicate the evenings to them. Soon it'll be to help with homework or take them to a practice. But right now, its for snuggles, reading and a little downtime. On Monday and Wednesday while the kids are at school, I come home and take some time for me. Its usually a couple hours that I get to read, work out or watch a tv show uninterrupted. Fridays, the kids are in school for half days, so I usually do things around their school until they're out like go to Barnes and Noble and read! I love this quiet time. I think its essential for every stay at home parent to take some time for themselves. It gives you a sense of freedom and helps you remember what you like. Sometimes I think we can get lost in what are kids want to do, house work, their hobbies, etc., that we forget to do something we love. So while they're in school, I take advantage of it. I still love to run errands with my kids. We go to the grocery store and pretty much every other errand we need to run together. I save errands for that time! All of this makes sure that our weekends are free for whatever. And once a month is my deep clean day where I clean out cabinets, go through old toys and their closets, etc. Whichever day or days I need for this, I just make it happen.
Lately, our weekends consist of soccer, birthday parties, church and any errand the husband wants to run. We like to go to the park to play, walk our dogs, ride bikes or just have a day where we have family time inside and play games or watch movies (well the hubby and I do) and the kids just play and have fun. This is another time when I let them play with whatever. Get all the toys out, color and leave the pages out so we can look at them over and over...and over. Play playdoh and make a mess (I do clean this one up right away so I can make sure they put it away so it doesn't dry out), she gets all her barbies and princess out and he gets all his super heroes out and they usually end up in the others room since they always play together. Sunday night or, as a part of general clean up Monday afternoon, we can clean it ALL up together. And they do help with that. My kids have been awesome at chores and helping me out.
My kids will bring laundry to the laundry room, put their dishes in the sink and dishwasher when I help them know when the dishes are clean, they pick up their rooms, they clean the play room, put their school stuff away (we have a school station at our house where all designated backpacks and school papers and crafts go. More on that another time). They help me cook, bring in groceries, put them away and so much more. So doing the general pick up daily doesn't take long because we all know where things go.
I hope this post helps some people to know that they can have fun, time to themselves, time to spare and still have a clean house. Make a schedule that fits you and be flexible with it because life can throw you a curve ball at anytime and your day will be thrown off (like O is home today because she has pink eye. That kind of threw my Wednesday out the window. But its ok, because I have all day tomorrow and Friday afternoon to get back on track). But most importantly take time to spend with your kids. I get to play with them almost every day after 5 and all weekend because I prioritize and can plan my day where everything gets done. I love being a stay at home mom. I love making the house chores and my kids lives an essential part of what I do daily. I like knowing what my day is going to consist of and the things I'll need to get done. It took some practice, but it was well worth it to get so much time dedicated to my two awesome kids and my husband....yes we still date and thats part of what those chore free, stress free weekends are for. Until next time...