My mom was a stay-at-home mom.
Our house was, and still is, immaculate. There were no piles of junk mail, no receipts hanging out on a counter, no laundry that just hadn’t been folded yet, and no dust. Really. No dust. I still fail to understand how that’s possible.
The “domestic rockstar” gene skipped over me. I got the “artistic and crafty” gene, but I’m thinking the “domestic rockstar” gene would have been more helpful.
I am now the mom to four kids, ages five and under. And Phyllis Diller’s quote, “Cleaning the house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk while it’s still snowing,” is pretty much my mantra.
I often lay awake at night wondering how I can improve on my domestic skills.
What if I tried THIS cleaning schedule?
What if I bought THAT planner?
What if we hired a housekeeper? (Pause here for laughter.)
Just when I start REALLY thinking that I’m failing miserably at being a Domestic Rockstar, I remember that I DO have a few tricks up my sleeve that help keep this house in some sort of working order.
I’ve tried planners. I’ve tried desk calendars. I’ve tried wall calendars. Seriously–I’m pretty much what keeps Office Depot in business. The one thing, however, that has been a constant in our house is putting the page to whatever month it is up on the fridge. I look at it EVERY day–multiple times a day–and if it’s not on the calendar, I will surely forget about it.
Then I pulled out the highlighters–a little trick from organizing/planning I started in college–and we have a color-coded calendar. For example, normal appointments/events are in yellow. Church activities/feast days/Holy days are in orange. Summer sports were in green. Photography gigs for me are in blue. Homeschooling events are in purple. And payday–oh, glorious once-a-month payday, is in pink. At just a glance, I can already know what TYPE of event it is before I even see what the actual even is.
As the kids get older, and if we’re blessed to have any more kids, it’s possible I might have to change up my system and color-coordinate for each kid. P will be in green. D will be in blue. E will be in purple. B will be in whatever color is leftover in my highlighter pack.
I do laundry every. single. day.
Because if I even let ONE day go by without doing laundry, it seems to pile up, and my stress levels skyrocket. I then spend all day doing laundry, and I’ve got other things I need to get done throughout the day.
I also gather laundry up the night before and stick it in the washer with the soap in the dispenser. Before finding my “Delay Start” button–oh, glorious “Delay Start” button–I would run down first thing in the morning and start it. Laundry was generally done before noon.
I completely fail at meal planning. I’ve tried–oh, I’ve tried. I would make a menu plan, proudly stick it up on the refrigerator, and by that night I would say, “Eh, I don’t feel like eating THAT tonight.”
But what HAS helped me out is to take the frozen meat out of the deep freeze–enough for the entire week–and stick it in the fridge the weekend before.
I might not have any idea what I’m making, but it surely will include beef, pork, or chicken!
Night Before Prep
In order to make our days run a little smoother, I set the kids’ clothes out on an end table in the living room every night. The next day, after breakfast, the kids have their clothes right there, and I don’t have to listen to the boys fight over who is going to get dressed first. I also have a stack of diapers for the baby and for E, along with wipes, sitting on the table as well. That way I don’t have to change a baby in a bedroom while things go downhill in the living room since I’m not there.
This has also tremendously helped us get ready for Mass more efficiently on Sunday morning. Everything is sat out the night before, we get the kids dressed on Sunday morning, and my husband is a happy man that we’re pulling out of the driveway on time.
The Kitchen Timer
From timeouts to quick pick-ups, the kitchen timer is one of my best domestic friends. I even contemplate putting it in my purse for when we’re on playdates or going to the grandparents’ house because timeouts STILL happen away from home.
As for quick pick-ups, the kids enjoy racing the clock to get everything picked up.
They’re what–$3.00 at the store? You can’t put a price on domestic happiness, my friends.
My husband bought me a light blue, very durable apron after our second child was born. While I didn’t really use it to cook, I quickly found that an apron with three pockets on the front made for one INCREDIBLE domestic uniform.
Did you know the pockets can hold my cell phone, keys to unlock the bathroom door at any time (it’s locked so that our poor toilet doesn’t get overloaded with toilet paper or my toothbrush), hair clips for the girl, chapstick, a kitchen timer, a pen, kleenex, AND sippy cups?
Yeah–that’s right. I rock the apron. It saves me time so I’m not looking for those dang keys for fifteen minutes while my child does the pee-pee dance in the hallway.
A former priest gave a talk at our recent Confraternity of Christian Mothers meeting.
He said, “The husband is the head of the household. If we were to put it in military terms, he is the Commander. The wife is the Chief of Staff. The Chief of Staff should run the household so well that the Commander doesn’t even notice.”
This quote has stuck with me every day since that meeting.
I’m not the most knowledgeable in military terms, but I do understand musical terms. So, I might not have reached “Domestic Rockstar” status, but I’m thinking I’ve at least reached “Domestic Cover Band” status by now. There’s always room for improvement.
Inbetween being a stay-at-home mom and trying to improve her domestic skills, Delena also finds time to homeschool her 1st grader and preschooler. You can read more about her journey in domestic bliss at It’s On My To Do List.