Managing the Homestead
Managing a homestead can be a very challenging and even exhausting thing. Wiping noses, folding clothes and cooking three meals a day isn't always the easiest job in the world. In fact, there are days where my I remember the life of a working woman being so much easier than that of being a SAHM/WAHM.
Whether or not you stay at home or work from home with little ones running around, there's bound to be something you can take away from this post. I don't claim to be perfect or to have it all together, because most of the time I don't. And many times I even feel like I am failing everyone, but that is part of dusting off (like literally dusting of the spilled oats and sugar) and going back at it. Since I was recently asked about managing the home, I figured it would make for a fun post.
(Keep in mind I am a green mama and a business owner, so my post may be slightly tailored to those needs in some way)
Waking up before the kids. I can honestly tell you that I rarely and I mean rarely do this. I tell myself each night that I should, but after waking many times with the baby and going to bed too late from working, I decide to sleep for as long as my children let me. However I can tell you that many articles will say that this is a must for sanity. The few times that I manage to do it, it really eases my day some because I get to wake and be alone for some time to do anything I want and to think quietly.
Do at least two loads of laundry a day. There's no need to try and achieve all the laundry in one day, however sometimes that goal is handy. I try to always do two loads a day to keep things going and to keep the laundry basket from overflowing. I'm pretty sure our laundry hamper is a magical box that replaces clothes rather quickly after I remove them. But nevertheless, I try each day to keep it manageable.
Make real food. When you're home with your kids all day and feeling like you have so much to do, the last you want to let slip is the food you serve them. Now I am not saying you need organic veggies and homemade chowder for each meal, but having REAL food will help aid in your children's health and diets later in life. Stay as far away from pre-made items as you can; and use things like chips, macaroni and raviolis as occasional treats and when you do them, ALWAYS make them yourself from the healthiest ingredients you can find (or find natural alternatives such as Annie's for ravioli and macaroni). Even I still have to work on this sometimes, as I will fall into an instant oatmeal slump or PB&J slump that I need to break away from.
Always make the beds. I find that made beds make for a happy house. THE. END.
Open the windows. Let in the natural light and try to keep the lights off as much as you can. Leave your curtains and blinds open to enjoy the sunny days. This saves energy and money and provides a pleasant atmosphere.
Keep a clean kitchen. I hate a dirty kitchen and I get mad and disgusted when things pile up. Let's face it, reality of mom life is that sometimes we may go to bed with a few pots in the sink or with a full (clean) dishwasher. That just means we have work to do in the morning! Keep your kitchen running smoothly and clean -- after all, it's the heart of the home in my opinion.
Be a little greener. Try to avoid using paper towels for too many spills and for dirty hands. Use Unpaper Towels (available in our store --restocking end of month) or small wash cloths/dish towels for cleaning the kids up after meals. Try cloth wipes on your baby's bum as well (especially if you cloth diaper). These things save our planet and your bank account.
Get outdoors. I find I am more at peace when I have a clean house and can get the kids out of the door. Whether it's our own yard, a stroll down the street or the park down the road, I love getting outside. I want my children to be tiny explorers, fairies and nature lovers! Let them enjoy (plus it makes for great naps later).
Keep nap time on the schedule. Just because you may think your child doesn't need a nap any longer, doesn't mean that their body will agree. Shoot for naps as long as they seem to need them (in my opinion until Kindergarten). Nap time keeps everyone sane and gives mom a nice break!
Save social media and TV for nap time. It's so hard not to scroll our phones during the day -- believe me I know! But we don't want our children to remember their time with us as strictly us playing on our phones. Save social media for later. I even wait to reply to text messages that I deem unimportant at the time for much later. As a working mom who has to be connected to social media and emails frequently, sometimes things just have to wait!
Do arts and crafts. Painting and art projects keep the little ones occupied for a little while so you can do things like cook or vacuum. I love saving art time for cooking time! Also, have your toddlers assist with cooking if you are unsure how to keep them occupied while you cook.
Strive for simplicity. Less is more in life right? It's so easy as humans (and especially as females) to get caught up in the wants and needs that we see around us. My goal every day is to be as simple as we can from the items in our home, the diet we choose or the things my children play with. It's something to improve upon every day and it is a personal choice to make of course, but I find that getting back to the values and lifestyles of the old days can really bring some good things to our modern, crazy lives. Every day I look around and try and decide how I can simplify even more - it's an ongoing goal.
Don't strive for perfection. There is no perfect mother who is out there doing things the absolute perfect way. It just can't be. Cut yourself some slack as a mother and as a home keeper, to realize that your house will never be perfect ALL the time and your days will not all go smoothly and sanely. Things happen, milk spills and oatmeal bowls fall off of the table...it's called LIFE.
Embrace it. I even have to remind myself many times that the days are long but the years are short. This role as home keeper, mother, chef, launderer, boss and so much more is HARD but yet so rewarding. Just remember to stock up on a good bottle of wine for the hard days, sandwich meat for the "I don't want to cook days," and chocolate for the "I want to hide all day" days.
Enjoy and embrace the imperfections, the chaos and the love.