Reader Spotlight – Elizabeth from All Kinds of Things
Hi! I’m Elizabeth from All Kinds of Things! I am an elementary teacher turned mommy of two, and I love connecting with others through blogging.
Just over a year ago, I shared a post that included a few encouraging books that I had recently read. One of those books was “Desperate” by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson! After finishing the book, I published this confession and this post!
Needless to say, I have a passion to encourage other moms – Before having children of my own, I understood how to care for the physical needs of children. When I was still a child myself, I was babysitting. I walked beside many friends as they started they families. I had been an elementary school teacher. Little ones were not scary to me. The big surprise? ME! I was not prepared for what motherhood would mean for me…
A Few Ways To Make The Long Days Run Smoother
Sweet Mama, I know that the world thinks you are spending your day sipping [hot] coffee and watching reality television shows while your children play quietly at your feet, but I know what your day really looks like. Others think you are living a very privileged existence, and while being a mother is absolutely an incredible blessing, I understand that many of you are making great sacrifices. I realize that you rarely get time to yourself, and I can relate to the fact that the demands on you now are much greater than those you faced in any career you may have left. You do not have to defend yourself to me…I understand.
Let me first describe my specific situation. I am a stay-at-home mom to two little boys (10 months and 2.5 years). I have a husband who – while he is an incredibly involved father who is 110% dedicated to our family – oftentimes works long hours. Our relatives do not live near us; Therefore, we do not have built-in help. Most of the time, it’s just me – 100% me – facing the day alone with little ones. If you have walked in these shoes, you understand.
To further complicate the situation, there’s my personality: I am extremely task-oriented. I find myself getting frustrated when I go an extended period of time without having a chance to organize, create, complete projects, etc. Can you relate?
I’m sure you’ve heard well-meaning people say things like “Don’t worry about the laundry and dishes. Your children are only little once. The laundry and dishes can wait.” “Wait until when??” I ask. My personality screams: The laundry and dishes need to be done. Healthy meals need to be prepared. Toilets need to be cleaned.
For a long time, I dealt with guilt over feeling so torn between playing with my children and doing my chores. No matter which I chose, I felt guilty. I finally came to a place where I realized that I can.not.change my personality, but I can make some adjustments that will provide me the time I so desperately crave.
Let me stop here and clarify:
I am not interested in a perfect house that will pass a white glove test – My frustration simply comes when basic chores are not completed. I feel that my family’s quality of life is better when the toilets are wiped down every once in awhile and they have clean clothes to wear.
Moving on…after a lot of prayer and thought, the following brainstorms have become a reality. I hope that by sharing these ideas, you might see something [or think of another approach] that will fit you…your personality…your family’s situation. Everyone’s situation is different, so what works in our house may not work for you – and that’s okay – but I challenge you to take a step back and get creative.
Here are a few ideas that have worked great for us!
Find a responsible young girl who can come to your house for a couple of hours each week or every other week. This may be a girl who is new to babysitting…not yet of driving age…but one who really enjoys playing with little ones. She can play with your kiddos while you complete tasks around the house. Here are some of the things I have been able to do when my “Mommy’s Helpers” have come:
Put away laundry.
Clean up the aftermath of breakfast/lunch in the kitchen.
Work on freezer meals.
Price consignment sale items.
Clean floors. & Wipe down baseboards.
Take a nap. (Just kidding…
However, if you are a mom of a newborn – or teenagers 🙂 – you may seriously benefit from this.)
I have recently discovered a grocery delivery service that does not charge a delivery fee nor are tips accepted. While I realize something like this is not available everywhere, you may want to check your local listings just in case! You may be surprised! The best part for me: No getting the kids ready to go…No dealing with car seats…No driving to the grocery store…No dealing with car seats…No worrying about Caleb’s potty routine and Isaac’s eating schedule…and No dealing with car seats.
Let me start by saying that we do not do this every week. I keep an eye out for local coupons, Groupon deals, etc. and when I find them, I have hubby’s work clothes dry-cleaned. On a regular basis – without money-saving deals – this is not a cost effective option for us, but when I can work a deal, it makes perfect sense, and I can not tell you how very, very helpful it is. It lightens my laundry load tremendously. It saves David tons of time. We love when we find a deal on this service (or any other service like car detailing, etc.)!
Find a reliable friend [preferably one with children] who can come to your house and oversee a play date for the kiddos while you clean, and then return the favor for her. I am currently doing this on a weekly basis. One morning each week, a friend of mine comes over and the kids play together while I clean, and then the following week, I take my boys to here house to play with her little one while she cleans. We have been doing this for awhile now, and it works out great! We give each other two full hours – During those two hours, there is no chit-chat! We clean, clean, clean, clean, clean until the time is up, and then we like to gab, of course. 🙂
Swap with Hubby
David and I completely understand that each of us needs time [alone] for completing projects/doing activities that we enjoy, etc. David likes to do these things during weekend nap times. This works great for us! He has strongly encouraged me to take time for myself in the evenings – when he gets home. However, all parents know that oftentimes the real work begins after the kids go to bed. It is during that time when we attack projects around the house, etc. – all when we would rather collapse on the couch and watch tv. Sooooo, needless to say, I do not always take this time, but when I do, I am always glad that I did.
Find a trustworthy friend [preferably one with children] who can oversee a play date for the kiddos while you take care of any errands, etc. that you need to do and then return the favor for her. A friend of mine and I have been doing this since our boys were itty bitty, and it is been such a great situation. This time can be used for anything and everything – doctor’s appointments, Christmas shopping, homeschool lesson planning, anything.
The best thing about the swaps is that everybody wins! The moms get lots done! The kids have fun playing! The pocketbook isn’t touched – It’s free!! I have also heard of these ideas being carried out in group form. Unless everyone is super organized, I could see things getting a tad complicated, but I have no doubt that it could definitely work (with the right mix of people, of course).
These ideas have been incredibly helpful to me! They provide me with some time to take care of the things I need to do – but more importantly, they have given me the freedom to feel completely engaged with my children when I am with them…because I am not worrying about the laundry or the dishes.
Maybe – if for whatever reason(s) – these ideas would not work for you, I hope that they have at least sparked some thoughts in your mind as to how you can get creative in managing your home.
I would love to connect with you and have you follow my day-to-day journey: