For almost four years I lived the life of a stay-at-home mom with no helper at home.
We also live an hour away from our relatives, in short, it's just me and the kids at home while Hubby's at work.
I always bring them wherever I go, - at the bank, doctor, supermarket, city hall. And in most days, I have an audience in the bathroom.
I also homeschool our kids, do chores, blog, and have an online part-time job. Juggling several hats was hard but there are ways to survive.
For 4 years this was our routine.
A few weeks ago, our former helper came back to work with us. I have asked her to reconsider my proposal (which she has turned down several times before) since I'd be giving birth soon. And caring for a newborn, 2 older kids, chores while recuperating from C-section would be a nightmare to say the least. I was so thankful to God that she finally said yes, even if it meant she'll be here for just a few months.
How do you survive a life with no helper at home and have at least 2 kids to care for? Here are my tips:
Stop the Illusion of a perfect house
Admit it. As moms, we have imagined a house that's clean and everything in order. A house that would pass to be Instagram-worthy if not the latest home lifestyle magazine. But with young kids at home, that dream would just be a dream. How many times have you cleaned up your kids' mess only to find the place in chaos again after five minutes?
It's okay that the clothes you took down yesterday from the drying area is still on the sofa waiting to be folded.
It's okay that you've eaten lunch like 3 hours ago and that the dishes are still in the sink waiting to be washed.
It's okay to see toys in your underwear drawers because your kids placed them there.
The more you accept in your heart that you can't have that magazine-illusion of a perfect house, the more you are spared from stress.
Schedule your chores
I prefer making schedules of my chores on a weekly basis. It keeps me sane.
For example: On Mondays, I cook easy meals since I'd be flooded with work and homeschool in the morning. I vacuum the sofa and beds on Thursdays. Do laundry every other day.
Also, kids thrive in structures and routines so I try to stick to a schedule as much as I can. It takes a lot of experiments and chances before being able to find the best routine that works for you and the kids.
Our typical day looks like this:
- We do our homeschool lessons for an hour right after breakfast. After that they get to watch TV or play for an hour while I work.
- While they play in the bathroom (bubble bath!!) for a max of 30 minutes, I prepare and cook our lunch.
- In the afternoon while they nap, I join them for a quick snooze (preggy moms need sleep!!). Afterwhich I go back to work or shoot a video while I watch them sleep.
- We continue homeschool after dinner in case we weren't able to finish during the day. I do chores once they have slept. Then I work again for an hour before I hit the sack.
Schedule is, however, subject to changes. But since they are already in place, it's easier to make adjustments.
My husband and I are partners in everything, including chores. On weekends, he cooks for us and I do the dishes. I wash the clothes, he irons them. I teach academics to our homeschooler, he handles the PE subject and reviews. He does the groceries, I arrange and make portions of the items he brought home from the supermarket. I clean the house on a daily basis, he does the general cleaning.
As husband and wife you need to be partners in chores as well. Genders do not dictate what a husband or a wife can do. If we can show our kids that men and women are equal, including doing chores, then I believe we are setting a good example.
Let your kids help
When I was a younger, my parents gave us tasks at home at an early age. My training at home has helped me not only in home management but made me understand responsibility and how my choices can shape my life.
I don't want to raise bratty and self-entitled kids. I want them to be independent, responsible, and good citizens. And one good way to teach these is to let them help at home.
Even toddlers can help. When Baby Z started walking, I have also started teaching her how to do things by herself. She brings her dishes to the counter after eating and drinking, she dumps her laundry inside the hamper, throws trash in the bin, return items when prompted, and clean up the table. These are just some of the responsibilities/activities we have modeled for her to follow.
There was no need to prompt our 15-month-old to sweep the floor. She has been showing signs of being helpful at home. She cleans her rubber mats, cleans up her mess with a tissue paper/cloth (sometimes just with her hands!), and brings her plate and bowl to the sink when she's done eating, even if she can't reach the counter yet. It's such a joy to watch a toddler working on her own and exercising her independence. 😊😊 #prettyBabyZ #soontobebigsister #petitemommasworld #homeschooling #montessori #homeschoolingvandz #montessoriathome #practicallife #toddler #tothomeschool #mommybloggersph #momswhoblog
Here is a sample of age-appropriate chores your kids can do:
|Image from themontessorinotebook.com|
Practical life skills is something important for me and my husband to teach our kids. Their "work" may not be perfect all the time but we try to encourage them to do it anyway.
Make time for yourself.
A happy mother makes a home happy.
Always make time for yourself. I am guilty of not being able to do this advice often. And I tell you, being a SAHM can be really draining.
Do something that makes you happy that does not include your kids and husband. Yes, be selfish. It is a great way to replenish the energy used for caring for the family.
Some women prefer shopping. Others are into crafts or books. Some women like makeup and others prefer a weekly visit to the salon.
As for me, I like spending a quiet time browsing the net, making videos, or writing in my blog. Creative juices seldom visit me so most of my me-time are spent browsing the net and exchanging messages to friends and families. On rare occasions, I do my own nails.
|Blogging and vlogging are some of my preferred me-time activities.|
It's been weeks since our helper got back but I still feel like I have so much on my plate. It's probably because my movements are limited now that I am in my final trimester of pregnancy. I want to move this and that, go here and there, but I can't. Sometimes I feel like a sloth because I am so slow. Haha!
I hope I am able to help you with my few tips. Any other tips you can share? Let me know in the comment box!