When it comes to motherhood well it’s just not easy. Your life never seems to get easier. When you add the unique challenges of homeschooling and working from home you feel like your life is always out of control. Honestly, I set out here as part of a blog hop to help you balance it all. I have, to be honest. I don’t have it all under control. Never have and never will. I do on the other hand have a few tricks that help me get more done each day.
YOU CAN make it work, it just takes a bit of creativity and planning. The first thing you need to remember doesn’t do it alone. Enlist the family to manage it all without losing who you are. Children can be enlisted to do basic chores like washing dishes and helping clean up. Kids can be part of the everyday clean-up and maintenance of the home. Your husband can help with the child care a bit. Mine loves taking over bath time with the babies all you hear is squealing and giggles.
Quick tips for balancing work and life
Multitask. When doing household chores multi-task by listening to podcast and scopes on how to build your business.
Use plugins, apps, and other tools to make your business run itself. For those of you with a website, you can set it up to keep you organized and run itself while you work.
WP Editorial Calendar – WordPress has a handy free plug-in you can use to schedule and even plan your website content through the year. This is my favorite tool for balancing it all.
Board booster – Pinterest is a huge traffic driver. Group boards are a great way to drive traffic to your site. Set up board booster to send out pins to group boards for you a few times a day to keep things going even when you are busy.
Buffer – With buffers bulk upload you can create a file with social media updates one time, add new posts to the file and bulk upload all of your posts to buffer at once each time it runs out. I have 4 google docs that split a mix of seasonal and evergreen content. Each season I can upload the .txt file whenever posts get low to a profile and go on with my day sharing viral content to grow my following while trusting that buffer will keep my own content flowing. For $10 my following and page views have been growing.
“Use time-saving tools to get more done”
Step away from the computer. Yep, I am telling you to step away for a bit every day. Use that time to get housework and homeschool lessons in. If you do not step away intentionally you will not balance it all (Ask me how I know.)
Find your passion. For me, the game changer was building my business around what I love. My family. I started really throwing myself into homeschool content and not only do I get more school time in I make money doing it. How is that for balance?
Enjoy the ride. If anyone ever tries to tell you they have it all under control. That they have everything perfectly balanced. THEY are LYING. Don’t compare yourself to others because you are all walking a different path.
Long term tricks to balance it all
Freezer cooking. I do this in two ways, When I am putting groceries away I do prep work for lots of crock pot meals at once. We save a lot of money on produce with this one as I chop it up and put it right in with the meat in the freezer. The rest of the produce finds it’s way into hungry tummies pretty fast. Another thing I do is make double even triple batches when I am cooking meals. It takes the same amount of time to make three meatloaves as it does to make one.
Instead of having to clean up after making a meatloaf say once a month you only have to once every three months. While it does not seem like much that time saved can add up and can come in pretty handy on that busy day when you just toss a frozen meatloaf, some baked potatoes, and fresh veggies into one pan in the oven for dinner. Go about some other chore while your meal is cooking, then your dinner is one pan to clean!!!
“Cook once clean once”
Sort laundry into outfits. Ok, this may seem redundant to you. I do not bother with mine or the kids but Hubby has two different uniforms to wear each day. By sorting his clothes into complete uniforms before putting away after I do the laundry that saves me one step every day until the next laundry day and it takes no extra time. If I wait to pair things up I have to do it twice daily every single day and that does take extra time.
Pack meals for everyone. The kids and I could truly eat whatever we want with being home or close to home all day every day but by packing lunches for the whole family when I am packing for my husband I have a huge advantage of yet again ONE clean up instead of two. Just think never hearing the kids ask “Mom what is for lunch?” They know lunch is ready when they are and they know just what it is as they only need to check their containers in the fridge. I often do this with breakfast as well especially if we have breakfast for dinner the night before I will just make enough for dinner and the next morning putting into like containers that can be reheated quick. At six a.m.
“Planning ahead can save you time later”
I love those quick healthy homemade breakfasts. I am even known for freezing things like muffins and omelets for future breakfasts. Saturday mornings the kids know cereal, and an easy art project is at the table in bowls with lids and cups of milk in the fridge. This means my oldest is in charge for the first half-hour of Saturdays while mommy enjoys a shower to get ready for whatever fun we have planned and daddy sleep.
Clean while the kids do school. Once a lesson is explained I will start on one of my household chores and Monkey just yells if she needs some help and when she is done with the lesson. Little man and Owl are still in what we call scribble school so he does not need help playing with his puzzles or coloring while Monkey works. Sensory bins are great for my kids to play with because they know to keep the items out of their mouths. I lay a blanket down for easy clean up and let the kids go at it while I tidy up.
Dealing with time leeches that keep you from balancing it all
It happens to us all. We get on the phone and lose track of time to discover that call took up an entire hour. Facebook drags you in, You get lost on Pinterest with endless ideas of things you will never have time to get done because you are spending all your time looking at the ideas. Or is that one yet again just me?
No, I am not saying to give all of these things up they truly make our lives easier. living away from all of my friends and family by a thousand miles or more. The online world is an amazing tool when I am mindful of the time in which I find myself online. If I spend too long on the internet I waste way my day pretty fast just to find my basic to-do list is not done and at 6 am the next morning I am digging through the drawers for a clean dress shirt for my husband when he was due out the door 5 minutes ago.
“We all have the same 24 hours”
Grab out your pen and list all of the things that leech away at your time. Your list may look like this.
Facebook, both online and the chat. This one steals a lot of time. When we went screen free despite being sick I got so much done every day. I may not go screen free everyday because like I said this is a huge part of keeping up with everyone.
Other online sites. This includes my e-mail and places like Pinterest.
Just being lazy. I schedule a bit of lazy time in my day to just relax usually before the kids wake up. Reading and a bit of coffee put a bit of pep in my step so I can get more done. Self-care is important but we can not let it take over our lives.
Now let’s look at ways to cut down on these things that eat away at our time.
Most of my time eaters are on the computer or until this month my kindle fire and cell phone. I would waste away hours of my day on chat. Sure I would get other things done seeing you can easily multi-task with a mobile device, but the fact is it really slows me down and I could get so much more done each day if I limited this.
These things have now been pushed into only being used during my daily lazy time or spare time found such as while the kids ride their bikes and I am sitting in my chair with some spare time until they get bored and want to play a game with mommy. In the beginning, it was hard. Always missing messages until the another person is long offline but I soon realized that it was not the end of the world and that finding my spare time so I could rest more was higher on my list of priorities.
“Don’t let the internet eat your day away”
Other online sites. This one is easy. I put a time limit on myself for things like checking e-mail and looking around online. This time limit really keeps me from eating up my full 2.5 hours left over after I finish all of the things that need to be done. Without some sort of limit, I will let this eat up all of my spare time and then some. Not really a good way to spend your day.
Being lazy. This one can be hard without much sleep at night and 3 kids but, a bit of caffeine goes a long way.
Now find your time leeches and think up a way to cut the amount of time you are wasting away on them. Tomorrow we are going to talk about ways to cut the amount of time we spend on daily chores such as housework and cooking to find spare time for fun things like heading out for the family time without sacrificing the things that need to be taken care of.
Balancing your daily to-do list
We all have things that need to be done daily, Lessons with the kids, clean the house, work, whatever it is you have something. Odds are if you really think about it, you have many somethings. You only have so much time to complete these things before your day runs out how often do you finish your day and think darn it I am so tired It is so late but I have not finished X, Y, and Z? For most of us it is quite often we find ourselves in that situation. Why is this?
Most often it is because we did not truly put our minds on the list of things that needed to be done before we started the things we wanted to be done. Grab some paper and a pen. List what you must do each day. Time how long you spend on each task. no time leeches for this. No Facebook, Pinterest, or another vice you know waists time. When you are done, you will know how long each task will take. You will know much time will be left for everything else. You may be surprised and have a bit better management after.
Organize your time with a family calendar
The family calendar is the hub for our lives. it is right inside our homeschool log and goes wherever mom goes because you never know what something will need to be marked down and you know that slip of paper you write a note on but you never see again. Well, my calendar keeps that from happening to me.
What you should put on your calendar:
Everyone should have a few basic things on their calendar regardless of who you are or what you do with your days.
1. Bill due dates. Every month the due dates of all of your bills should be on your calendar. This helps with budgeting and saves you money because you never forget that bill until the day after the due date.
2. Holidays/Birthdays. By keeping this on your calendar you’re never caught off-guard by a day that someone will feel hurt if you forget. Trust me it happens all the time. Ask my husband who forgets quite a few every year until I happen to remind him. When I am looking over the calendar I see my reminder he needs to call so and so to wish them a …
3. Engagements. Did you make lunch plans with your best friend? RSVP to that summer beach party? Set up a play date with a few other moms. never be caught off guard write it down along with anything you agreed to bring. After all, you don’t wanna be the mom at the play date that forgot it was their turn to bring the juice boxes.
Here are some things parents and homeschoolers should keep on their calendar in addition to the above.
1. Big events that can be used as a learning opportunity. Did you hear about a big solar eclipse? Write it down. Is co-op having a field trip? Write it down.
2. Fun days and/or historical days to celebrate. Google fun days in each month and mark them down. We never miss teddy bear picnic day. Yes, there is such a day.
3. Free or reduced price events and activities in your area. Catch the zoo at half off, go to the Home Depot Kids Workshop. Never miss a library story time when you have nothing else to do on a rainy day. You never know when you will have spare time to do something and having an idea of what is going on around you lets you take advantage. Enjoy every spare moment because let’s face it we do not get a lot of those.
“Knowing what needs to be done when keeps you on track”
By keeping a calendar you can plan each day to make sure you can maximize your time. Time is truly a commodity in which we have a high demand and a low supply. That can be pretty rough on a busy person with a lot of responsibilities. For homeschoolers and parents in general time always seems to be slipping away. One thing I learned when I was a working mom. Time can slip past you without you even noticing and you can not get it back.