If someone took the time to poll new mothers on what they needed the most after the birth of their child, it's quite possible that "time" would be at the very top of that list. More often than not, women are surprised at how much time it takes to simply mother a newborn. And if there are other children in the family as well, it's quite easy to simply feel overwhelmed and exhausted.
A major concern is always housework. No one wants to have a house that looks as if a bomb went off in it. Especially when people are always stopping by to peek at the new baby. The first step in managing the mess is to simplify. Get your housecleaning into a routine. Prior to children, it was much easier to take a day and leisurely do those chores - not anymore! In the morning before things get too terribly crazy, make a "to do list." Pick the most important chore of the day and feel proud when you get that one thing accomplished. One day that thing might be a load of laundry. On another day, it might be cleaning the kitchen.
Try cleaning in quick snatches. If you can find five or ten minutes to fold a load of clothes, then that is one less thing on the agenda for the day. Take advantage of events like a toddler's bathtime. While he or she happily plays, you can get an entire bathroom clean - a quick scrub of the sink, a swish in the toilet, and a towel to mop up the floor and you're done.
Consider using a "clutter catcher." This is especially effective for large families or large houses. Designate a container as the "clutter catcher," and carry it with you several times during the day to collect odds and ends that have accumulated in those "hot spots." Later, when you have a few minutes to yourself you can sort these items and put them away (or throw them away, as the case may be).
Lastly, remember to put away important items immediately. A good example of this would be keys - they are easily lost, but consciously remembering to put them in their place soon after arriving home can save you an incredible amount of searching time later. Consider putting them on a wall hook out of the reach of fascinated babies and toddlers.
Does thinking about dinner cause you to stress? Do you end up relying heavily on expensive convenience foods hastily thrown together at the end of the day? You're not alone. Dinner can cause stress for any mother - stay at home or not!
Consider "bulk cooking." Take a favorite recipe and make double, or enough to feed the family twice. Then freeze the leftovers. If you're lucky enough to have a chest freezer, then you can really stock up. Casseroles freeze nicely, or consider doing prep work for more complicated recipes and freezing that. An example would be a recipe that calls for a white sauce. Prepare white sauce in bulk and freeze it, then use as needed.
Ask friends and family for their favorite "one step" meals. Everyone has at least a few favorites. Compile these, and keep them handy. Make sure to always have the ingredients for at least one on hand, so that if dinner sneaks up on you one night, you don't end up hitting the local fast food joint.
Lastly, invest in a good slow cooker. Many mothers will tell you that these are worth their weight in gold. While you're at it, invest in a good cookbook to go along with it. Most slow cooker recipes are incredibly simple and require very little planning. First thing in the morning, put your ingredients into the slow cooker, turn it on, and forget about it. Dinner will be ready whenever you are.
Ah, the dreaded laundry monster. It's always amazing how tiny babies and small children seem to multiply the laundry to the point of being completely overwhelming.
Theories differ on whether or not it's best to do a load a day or to save it all up for a marathon laundry day. That will have to be up to you, but keep in mind that it's easy to leave a stray load of laundry in the drier to wrinkle up beyond recognition if you're not dedicated to getting it all done in a day.
A simple suggestion for avoiding the "every other day laundry syndrome" is to make sure you have an ample supply of clothes. It sounds simple, but if you have to do a load every time your partner runs out of clean socks, you're not doing yourself any favors. Stock up during a sale, and keep that laundry at bay.
Develop a system of pre-sorting clothes. Many people swear by the three bin laundry hamper. When you see a bin get full, then pull it out and do the wash. Presorting can save a great deal of time in the long run. When it comes to stains, try presoaking items in buckets to be washed later, rather than trying to take care of all stains at once. Sorting out stained clothing each day can help save time in the long run.
Finally, concentrate on ways to reduce your laundry load. Consider giving up ironing if at all possible, or at least reducing the amount you do. Wearing certain items more than once is also helpful at reducing the overall amount of time you spend at the washing machine.
It may sound like a cliche, but the time you spend with your children now is far more valuable than the amount of time you spend at chores. Childhood such a fleeting moment, don't miss it by worrying too much about whether or not the carpet is vacumned. Your kids will thank you later.
About the Author
Meredith Edwards-Cornwall, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Meredith Edwards-Cornwall is the owner of AttachedMamas.com and BeachDesigns.net. She is an attached mama to two children, Alexander and Elizabeth.
Submitted by: Meredith Edwards-Cornwall *
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