Since I was 16, I have always had at least one full time job. I loved the feeling of putting in a full days work, and feeling like I had accomplished something at the end of the day. When my husband and I had our first child, we decided that I would become a stay at home parent. I was excited – but hadn’t really considered what an adjustment that would be.
Working in our home felt much less defined than my previous career as a nurse on a busy unit. I was suddenly responsible for everything in our home, and had underestimated just how much work that was. I felt like I was surrounded by a mess, with a new baby, trying desperately to figure out how to keep up with my new job. I was in constant motion all day, but it seemed like I wasn’t getting anything accomplished.
I started keeping a list – but the list was giant, not prioritized, and ever expanding. No matter how hard I worked, there was always something undone at the end of the day- something I had forgotten. There was simply too broad a scope – instead of thriving in my work environment, as I always had, I was just putting out fires. It was a totally different dynamic from a traditional job, and I knew I had to find a better way to make it work for myself. I needed to get organized.
I started asking friends of mine that were also stay at home parents what worked for them. I was relieved to find that my situation was not unique, but they didn’t have solutions for me. Spinning your wheels while never making the time to get out of your pajamas was unfortunately very common. I started to ask myself – what was really important? What tasks needed to happen every day? What tasks had to happen weekly?
As for my monster list, I started choosing a few things that I knew I could get done each day, and scheduling a specific time to make them happen. The real game changer was when I found a cleaning schedule on a blog I love, Lamberts Lately. https://lambertslately.com/2015/06/how-i-make-my-home-look-professionally.html I used this schedule as a starting point, making specific changes that worked for our household. I stopped starting my day with the expectation that I would get everything finished.
Gone are the days when I’m looking at a list of 50 things, and paralyzed by inactivity. I know what tasks are on the docket for the day, so I don’t feel overwhelmed by trying to get everything accomplished. I’ve started to plan out time in my day to make them happen. Some days, I have to utilize my children’s nap time to get things done. Now that they are a little older, I plan out how I can have my three year old help me, which she absolutely loves.
My house doesn’t always look professionally cleaned, but I have a great system in place. If I don’t get things finished, I know what needs to happen, and I never feel like I haven’t gotten anything done. How do you organize your day, and manage your household? Share your tips in the comments!