When I left my job twelve years ago to be a full-time stay at home (SAHM) I had a lot to learn. To be honest, I didn’t know what I didn’t know about being at home full-time with three kids ages 1, 3 and 7, a reduced household income, and complete freedom to decide how I spent every moment of every day. While I had thoroughly enjoyed my professional life and ministry, I was overjoyed to be home spending every day with my favorite people in the world. We made the most of each and every minute. It was blissful. (Still is!) But soon I began to realize that the routines and habits that worked for me as a busy professional couldn’t work now. When you clean the house on Saturday and no one’s ever at home, well, it stays clean. But when you’re at home every day with three little ones you clean all the time and well, it’s never clean.
Through the years I’ve vacillated between:
- the house is a disaster, I don’t know what’s for supper, and I haven’t washed my hair in 4 days to,
- the house is spotless, I’ve got the month’s menus planned, and I’ve washed my hair, shaved my legs and painted my nails.
Let me tell you–both are their own version of “she’s a crazy woman”. But there is a place somewhere in the middle of all that crazy where you can achieve some sort of balance and enjoy your life. As my children have grown, and we started homeschooling, and we moved, and we added children to our family, and a family member is diagnosed with a terminal illness, and…and…that happy place in the middle is always being adjusted. That’s o.k. That’s life. Nothing is ever perfect. No schedule and no system always work all the time and my life is far from perfect. But I am learning to enjoy it more every year.
And people are always, always more important than any thing–more important than routines or schedules or plans or lists. With all that being said, I do want to share some of the little things that have helped me through the years. They really are little things. But sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference. I hope they help you, too.
Little thing #1: Laundry sorter
Most SAHM’s (and working moms) I talk to are always trying to get a grip on the laundry. Whether you are a family of 2 or 10 you have dirty laundry every day. You may have a laundry day or you may do 6 loads every day (like I do). Either way a laundry sorter is a great little thing. There are lots of options but here’s the one I chose. I actually have two of these in my laundry room. (This sorter did not get good reviews. I did have a problem with the first one I purchased but these two have been great.)
My kids bring their dirty clothes to the laundry room and toss them in the floor. Throughout the day I pick them up and sort them myself. This also helps me know when I should do a load because I can easily see which bag is fullest. My laundry is seldom “caught up” or all done but having it sorted and in its place makes my life easier.
Sometimes it’s just the little things.
Next week I’ll share Little Thing #2: Master Grocery List