My hubby and I sporting some sophisticated mustaches to look all adult-like:)
1) Clothes folding party: Fold clothes with your hubby and/or kids while watching TV – we call it a folding party – mostly to psych us out and make us motivated to do exactly what we don’t want to do while we also do what we want to do – watch TV:)
2) Make 2-3 meals at once: If I am making a Roast in the crock pot one night – I keep in mind that I can use the broth from that Roast to make soup the next day. If I am making Spaghetti one night, I double the sauce recipe so that I can save it for pizza topping for the next day. If I have 3 lbs of meat and I only need 2 for a casserole, I make all 3 lbs and set aside 1 lb to make taco salad for lunches for the next day. Use your leftovers and save your precious time!
3) Use your lunch break! I have used my lunch break about a million different ways – but here are my top favorites: working out – shaving my legs and stretching in the gym shower – reading – bible study – catch up on email and voicemail – pay bills or budget – catch up with an old friend – R.S.V.P. to all of those invites I’ve received the last 3 months:) – make my grocery list and clip coupons – and keep an eye out for deals online.
4) Make your chores into games so that your kids don’t waste time whining and make you mad in the process. We do one called “Whoever cleans up the most”. My boys are highly motivated by competition, so this is perfect for our house, but use whatever niche your kids have. The boys have a timer – probably 5-10 minutes – more if it’s for more than one room. While I am cleaning something else, they have to pick up all of the toys or clothes on the floor and put them where they go throughout the house. If someone is caught cheating or hiding things, they don’t win. If both boys give a good effort and do their best, everyone wins and gets a prize or treat. If one is slacking off or whining the other one wins by default.
5) Take “get ready” items on the go: I don’t know about you, but I never have enough time to do everything I’m supposed to do in the morning. This is one of the many reasons I carry a huge purse. I can fit deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, a travel mouthwash, a razor (for shaving during lunch remember), my makeup, my vitamins, and of course my to-do list. I get a ton of things done in the car on the way to work while my hubby drives. Sharing cars is amazing if you can make it work!
6) I keep snacks and drinks in the car at all times. You never know when you’re going to be stuck in traffic and your kid suddenly needs a fruit snack fix at the same time. Here’s the hack part, though. I always use the snack as a bribe for behavior purposes as well. If it has been a rough morning and the kids are crying in the car about how mean mommy was rushing them out the door, the snack is set aside but they are always reminded that it is readily available when they are polite and respectful, do what mommy and daddy say, and treat each other nicely. If they come into the car nicely, they can have the snack right away, or you can set up a rule that they have to stay behaving well for at least 5 minutes before they get it.
Did I mention that these little people are ALWAYS EATING?
7)Do you have to race from one event to the next and can’t get a good family meal in? After you grab your snacks to tide you over, turn off the radio and have a conversation in the car in between your errands or activities. Our favorite thing is telling each other’s “High-Lows”. That means, we say one “high” we had for the day (a good thing), and one “low” we had for the day (a bad thing). On long trips we play “I Spy” or we blast the radio and sing in silly voices.
8)Do you have problems designating who does which chores in the house? Don’t want to get strict and make a fancy chart to follow or seem like a nag to your hubby? Do a trade-off deal like my hubby and I do. A long time ago we figured out the things that we each hate to do or pet-peeves that we have individually so that we could avoid petty fights about chores. For example, I know when I have to do laundry because it usually involves potential stains that need to be laundered quickly, so I am great about starting laundry, but not great about putting it in the dryer. He usually doesn’t remember that clothes need to be cleaned :). Therefore, I always start the laundry, he always puts it in the dryer when I tell him ahead of time that it needs to be done soon. I can not stand taking out the trash. He cannot stand refilling all of the garbage bags. He takes the trash out, I refill the garbage bags in each container. We both hate dishes so we usually go every other night but sometimes make deals with each other so that one of us bathes the kids and the other does dishes. He likes that we don’t use a chart (although I would love a chart) and I like that he is willing to do his share without complaining!
9) Allergies to Dust and Mold? Cleaning Constantly? I hear ya! My youngest has too many allergies to discuss right now, but two big ones that have me cleaning constantly are dust and mold. Wood floors or laminate wood-looking floors are a definite life-saver in this situation. Also, machine washable couch covers, machine washable curtains, and dishwasher safe toys are a life saver. I am telling you, it is hard to find bath toys with no holes in them, but we found them! We usually vacuum everything once a week, sweep sometimes twice a week depending on how often we are home. We change bedding once a week, and run an air purifier that switches rooms all the time. Stuffed animals are never allowed in the kids’ rooms as they will sleep with them and start coughing like crazy! This is tough to keep up with, but if you write it down and keep track, you will get through it!
10)Make your responsibilities fun and do them together and you will get through them much easier! No, you won’t instantly have the urge to scrub pots and pans before bed every night, but at least you can blast your music and get your jam on while you work. It’s better than letting them sit for days while you avoid the stench!
Ecclesiastes 4:9 ESV
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
Colossians 3:23 ESV
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.