(This addition was finished on 11-13-2001)
My Daily Routine & Helpful Links
After talking with many new Stay at Home Mom's over the years, I found that they were having a hard time juggling their duties and were in need of some suggestions and a "sample routine."
As new SAHM's, it is hard to fathom sometimes that this is a career choice! It is the ultimate volunteer work. I treat it as a career and you should, too. Women who don't, are the ones who watch soap operas, sleep and eat all day long and give the rest of us a bad name!
When people ask you if you work, tell them yes, indeed you do work. You just don't get paid for it.
Sometimes even the men in our lives do not appreciate the work that we do. Sometimes we have to nudge them along a little and show them, by our actions, that we ARE working and that we are doing this so that he can be the man that God expects him to be. Not having to rush around, helping around the house, trying to cook and clean around everyone's chaotic and conflicting schedules.
I feel that I must mention that women with new babies at home or who are sick or disabled, need to pace themselves and not expect too much, until things settle into a routine for you. And a husband certainly can help out, during a crisis period.
I must also mention that my house is not always in tip top shape. I try very hard to stay with my routine, but sometimes things happen that get everything all out of whack and it takes time to get back into it again.
I will say that 95% of the time, anyone can visit my home and I am not ashamed of how it looks. It might not be perfect, but they would never say that we are dirty people, because of the way that my home looks.
Most men are embarrassed by a messy home. Especially when they work outside of the home and they come home tired and the house is a mess.
We as home makers should be especially embarrassed by it, because it is our job to keep it clean and everyone knows that we are slacking, when it's not clean.
The key to staying on top of a well-run home, is organization. You need to organize everything and try to keep everything in it's place. And teach your children to do their part, as well.
If you are not an organized person, that can be a very real challenge for you, but it can be done. Once you realize that you must do it and see how much time it shaves off of your daily routine, it becomes second-nature to you.
What that entails is, when you get some extra money, buy some crates and closet and drawer organizers and use them. Also utilize your kitchen space and have a general place for everything and put it there.
The first thing that people notice when they come in, are dishes in the sink, (if your kitchen is visible). So dishes should never be there, especially if you have a dishwasher. It is a simple thing to tuck dishes away into the dishwasher, or keep them washed and not piled in a smelly pile in the sink.
Closets are wonderful! Use them to put clutter into. If you cannot afford crates, then put things into labeled boxes. Anything to get the clutter out of site and organized. If space is a problem, then go through your things and get rid of what you do not use. Fold it, stack it, organize it. You will be amazed at how much room you have, when things are neatly put away and out of sight. They make under-bed storage containers too and that space is usually unused and CAN be used, effectively.
If you have a storage shed, then buy the plastic storage boxes or use regular boxes and put the stuff away. Otherwise it is in the way and you have to clean around it. A good general rule is this; If you haven't used it or worn it in a year, then you don't need it anymore. The exceptions to that, are nice dress clothes, bigger sized children's clothing and family heirlooms.
My favorite housekeeping author/expert is Don Aslett. He really helped me out, when I first got serious about my career. You should go to the Library and check out any of his books. Or order them from his site. He is good and his books are well worth the money and time to read them.
He is a Christian and a very funny man, who really puts this stuff into perspective. I especially enjoyed Clutters Last Stand and Who Says it is a Woman's Job to Clean House. The last one is in cartoon form and is just funny and has alot of helpful housekeeping tips in it.
I like to use pretty baskets to organize stuff that would normally just clutter up a counter. Like in the bathroom for instance. I keep my cotton swabs in a little basket and our deodorant, hairspray, etc in a bigger one. We do not have a medicine cabinet here and baskets are wonderful. I even keep my extra toilet paper in a big basket that has a lid on it, next to the toilet.
When you have your clutter in baskets, when you have to wipe the counter, you just slide that basket over and then slide it back. Instead of moving bunches of ugly crud around.
Use lists to your advantage. Daily duty lists, errand and shopping lists are essential to any well organized household. Especially if you homeschool and/or have many children.
I make a detailed grocery list before I ever go shopping. Besides being more organized, it helps you to be more frugal with your money, too.
Plan out your meals ahead of time. If your husband gets paid every two weeks, then plan out 14 dinner meals and what else you will need to make it through until your next payday and make your list out accordingly, with the prices that you know. Use your town's store ads to plan meals with, too.
If you have a Wal-Mart in your town, you can save ALOT of money by shopping there for bread, buns and some other selected food items, laundry and dishwasher soap and health and beauty aids. They have the best diapers made, in my opinion. They are White Cloud diapers and they hold up better and are more comfortable than any name brand diaper that I've ever used.
I have done this job for over 20 years and I love it and would not trade one moment of it for anything else.
I save thousands of dollars each year by being frugal and organized and I always have what I need on hand, for all of my planned meals. I also keep alot of "staples" on hand. Plenty of flour, sugar, brown and powdered sugar, butter flavor and regular "Crisco," oil, eggs, vanilla, chocolate chips, syrup (maple and white), herbal teas, etc.
Even extra cake mixes, birthday candles, etc. That way if you have something come up unexpectedly, you can whip something up without a trip to the store, thus saving time and money. Plus you can make something special for your family at a moments notice.
I even keep extra birthday cards handy and use an organizer so I don't forget anyone's birthdays. I have also discovered a wonderful resource and that is the Dollar store! Any of them are good. But I prefer the Dollar Tree and Dollar General. Dollar Tree is a TRUE Dollar store. Nothing in there is over a dollar. You get NICE greeting cards, 2 for a dollar. And wrapping paper and ribbons and anything you can imagine there for only a dollar. And their holiday things are wonderful.
Check them out!
Commitment, preparation and organization are the keys to a successful stay at home mom's domicile.
We wake up at 6:30am and we get up and get my husband off to his work. That includes making sure that he has the clothes that he needs (ready the night before, I actually "outfit" them up, on the hangars, when I hang them up, out of the dryer), ready for him to wear, his lunch made and the items that he takes with him, ready to take with him. We have a basket that he puts his wallet, watch, glasses, cell phone, etc, into right when he walks in the door, from work....I make sure to charge his and my cell phones up, overnight and it's on the charger when he's ready to walk out the door.
Our youngest wakes up then too and I get her breakfast ready and she eats. Some families eat breakfast together in the mornings, but we don't. He commutes, so time is short. So we don't eat breakfast together on the weekdays. I am not really a breakfast person and neither is my husband, so it works for us.
Then Nicole settles down to a session of educational TV, while I do some other early morning chores.
Do not ever feel guilty for allowing your children to watch educational TV. Even our Pediatrician said that it is healthy for them to watch educational shows on television. Obviously you don't want to overdo it or allow them to become addicted to TV, but all of my children learned how to count and do their ABC's from me and it was reinforced from them watching Sesame Street and other educational shows and the computer.
I also take out any frozen meat to be thawed then for dinner or start a pre-thawed roast or whatever in the crock pot. Crock pot's are wonderful and every woman should have a decent sized one. You can make roasts, chili, chicken, beans, any number of great meals in one pot and it's ready at the end of the day. I also have a bread maker that I make loaves of bread in sometimes, too.
Then I make our daughter's bed and then I make our bed. I also pick up any clothes and any dishes in our room and put them in their place (sink, dirty clothes hamper, etc). Note, while you are in one room, you take care of that room, until it is basically finished. Minus dusting and vacuuming. Those are weekly chores.
Then I get her dressed and put out snacks for her.
Then I move on to the rest of the house.
I have started to do some schooling with our daughter and we do that, at the same time every morning, as well.
I do laundry everyday at my house. We only have so many clothes and we bathe everyday, so we tend to have wet items around and I just choose to do it daily. It works for us. Some women do it weekly. We do not have enough work/casual clothes or space to store them, so I choose to do it daily. To me it is messy and smelly to have dirty clothes in the house.
I start the first load, first thing in the morning. Then when it is finished, I do the second and possibly the third, if I'm doing bedclothes or any other "extra" laundry that day. I put each load on my bed when they are dry, until they are all finished and then I fold them all at once, taking out beforehand any T-shirts or skirts or anything else that wrinkles and hang them up.
If I do miss something and it gets wrinkled, I put it in the dryer with a wet washcloth for a couple of minutes and then the wrinkles are gone!
Our daughter used to take a nap in the afternoon. During her nap was when it got hectic around here. Now I bathe while she's busy playing or looking at books, etc. I sweep and mop my floors while she's preoccupied and I unload and load the dishwasher, as well. I work on the computer while she's preoccupied, too.
Then I fix her lunch and then clean up the mess. Then I continue on with my work.
Sometimes in the afternoon, I'll read a book or a magazine or watch a little television. If you were at a "normal" job, you would get breaks, too. Just don't get too comfortable, there is work to be done.
I also like to have little trash cans around the house. Then you always have a place for trash and I empty them about once a week, or before that, if they get full. Hide them behind or under things, so no one can see them and so any little ones don't get into them, too.
Right before my husband gets home, I pick up the house, again. I put all of her toys in her room (she helps these days) and organize it. All of the laundry has hopefully made it's way to where it belongs. Dinner is basically done and our daughter, house and me are all clean and are waiting for my husband to get home.
Weekly chores are done throughout the week and must be worked into your daily schedule.
You probably noticed that I did not mention any Church, weekends, hobbies, shopping, gardening or any other errands or optional things.
Those are above and beyond our "normal" chores. They have to be worked in and around our daily and weekly chores.
1. Laundry-Wash, switch, dry and fold/hang clothes
2. Dishes-Includes picking up dishes from around the house and either washing them all by hand or unloading and loading the dishwasher and also washing non-dishwasher items, as well.
3. General daily straightening of the house-Making beds. Picking up dirty clothes, changing hand towels in the kitchen and bathroom, etc. Straightening cushions and pillows on couches, chairs, etc. Wiping kitchen countertops and stovetops. Throwing away trash and picking up whatever doesn't belong wherever it doesn't belong and putting it where it does belong. Emptying and taking out any trash that needs to be taken out. Making beds. Wipe off eating table and clean up crumbs on the floor. Cleaning up cooking messes. Cleaning up bath messes. All of this has to be done around your child's schedule. If you have older children, you can assign chores to them.
4. Deep, weekly cleaning-Dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, (sometimes you have to sweep and vacuum more often, adjust your schedule to your needs) mopping and shaking out rugs (washing them when needed), cleaning small appliances and wiping off pictures on the walls, etc. Changing sheets on beds, spraying Febreez on mattresses and other furniture. Cleaning the microwave. Scrubbing the sinks, toilets and tubs, polishing faucets, doing mirrors, etc. Sweeping any outside porch areas that are attached to your home, with dirt that is drug into the house from. Shaking any outside rugs and/or washing them. Emptying little trash cans into the main ones. Going through the mail and throwing away anything that you aren't going to use/keep. Cleaning the burner trays and oven, if needed. Clean outside of stove, fridge, dishwasher, the bathroom counters and all cabinets.
You don't get much appreciation for it from people outside of your immediate family. You get alot of flack from "feminist's" and even sometimes from well meaning friends. But always remember that what you are doing is the best thing for your family. This is God's plan for us and it works. No matter what anyone else tries to say to us.
I hope this helped...
Here are some other SAHM links:
Link to the main SAHM page