3 Ways to Stay Sane as a SAHM

For those not familiar with the lingo, “SAHM” stands for Stay at Home Mom. And that’s me. Lately it’s been feeling like an incredible amount of work and I’ve been rather overwhelmed. We were sick with various viruses for nearly 2 months, which put me farther and farther behind on cleaning and various household tasks. I’ve really had to sift through my task list and prioritize to keep myself but going crazy and becoming too exhausted. Here are 3 things I’m doing to stay sane.housewife-23868_1280

1. Napping or resting during naptime. It’s so tempting to run around getting stuff done while the kids are out of my hair. However, that means that when they wake up I’m exhausted from all the things I was doing. Even if I don’t nap, I force myself to lie down on the couch. I either read, watch a show, or surf the internet.

2. Writing things down the second I think of them. There are so many little things I have to do, some more important than others. Long ago, I abandoned the idea that I might actually remember things on my own, and the second the thought occurs to me, I write it down. I have a grocery app on my phone where keep a list of food I need to buy. I have several task lists on my phone and one on the fridge.

3. Clocking off when the kids go to bed. Generally, I stop all work when my kids go to bed. I think of it as clocking off. I stop running laundry. I stop trying to do dishes. I stop making phone calls. I wash my face, brush my teeth, and enjoy some tea or a treat while reading or watching a show.

What keeps you sane during the week?

My Favorite Strategy for Getting Things Done

I think I’ve mentioned in a previous post how I used to be a terrible procrastinator. I did. I would put things off endlessly or pretend there wasn’t a deadline. Then the task would hang over my head and nag at me until the guilt was overwhelming.

What holds us back from starting a project or doing a task? I think it is often because we don’t know where to start. We see the whole project as one enormous boulder and no way to get a grip on it to move it. My number one strategy to get a grip on the boulder is to break the project/task into manageable steps.

For example, making a photo book. I did a post recently on steps for making a photo book. These steps could be broken down into even more manageable steps. For example, the first step is gathering the photos. This step could be broken down into 3 steps. 1) Gather photos from Instagram. 2) Gather photos from Facebook. 3) Gather photos from computer. If you able to even just gather the photos from Instagram, you could check off that first step and voila! Progress! I think it’s super important to feel a sense of progress especially during a big project.

Just identifying these steps can also expose what piece of the project is the piece that is overwhelming you. A recent example from my own life is finding dental insurance for my husband. We’ve been putting some dental work off for some time (two years!) because we lacked the funds. We finally have the money to move forward and I signed him up for a dental plan. I expected I would get a confirmation email from the company, but some time passed and nothing came. I found myself paralyzed by this task. I realized that the first step was to call the company and this caused me to also realize that I was nervous about calling for some reason. For myself at least, I often find an emotional element that is preventing me from finishing a task or project.

What helps you get things done?

 

Monday Madness

Another weekend gone and here is Monday again! Crazy how that happens. We had a pretty quiet weekend here because my youngest daughter has been sick with a cold. Today I’m catching up on what I call “the red tape of life.” You know…signing the life insurance policy, getting shopping done, making a meal plan for the week. IMAG0366_1

A few things that are making today that much better….

Yogi Chai Rooibos Tea. My mom brought me some and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a big treat especially since I cut out coffee (only decaf occasionally) about 3 weeks ago.

She Reads Truth Bible study. It’s an app on my phone and some of the reading plans are free and some cost just a couple bucks. Since I’m on my phone A LOT it makes it that much easier to do my Bible study.

Periscope. I’m completely new to Periscope but I’m been following Money Saving Mom there. It’s fun because after you’ve installed the app on the phone and “followed” someone, your phone will alert you when that person is “live.” It’s fun to jump in on the live video stream and it feels very low commitment to me.

 

The Method in the Madness

Type A folks like myself, tend to find rituals, methods, and habits to be soothing. We thrive on order. Type B folks tend to think that habits will force them into a box. I would like to make the argument that we all benefit from habits, even those of us who are more creative than others (I’m not on the super creative side by the way). Perhaps I’ll even convince you that adopting some habits would free you up to be even more creative.

Let’s take for example, the simple task of cleaning the bathroom. Some of us have been cleaning bathrooms longer than others. For example, I started learning to clean one when I was 7 years old. My husband didn’t clean a bathroom until he was in high school working at his first job. I have talked to other women who find cleaning the bathroom a dreaded and overwhelming task.

5-7 minutes. This is how long it takes to do a routine cleaning of my bathroom. I do it the EXACT same way every time. I’m certain that this routine is what makes my process so efficient.

Without a routine, you might start spraying the counter and sink with some all purpose cleaner. Then you would think, “Maybe I should really take a brush to the faucet.” A few minutes of scrubbing there, maybe you wipe down the counter. Moving to the toilet. I’ve been amazed at the sheer number of products people have just for cleaning the toilet. After you’ve attempted cleaning the toilet with five or six of the products you have, you’re feeling rather tired. Twenty minutes has gone by and your arm is all tired from using that pumice stick.

I’m fairly sure this is why people hate cleaning the bathroom and put it off as long as possible. Narrowing down the number of products you are using will help a lot. I have a bucket I keep my three bathroom cleaning products in. Comet with bleach (the kind you shake out of a can), Simple Green all purpose cleaner, and a cheap glass cleaner (I only use that if the mirror is looking rather speckled).

I gather some cleaning cloths and spray down the counter and sink. While that sits for a minute, I spray the entire toilet, top to bottom, pulling up every lid. I sprinkle the Comet into the toilet and use the toilet brush to give it a good scrub. I let that sit for a second while I wipe down the sink and counter. Flush the toilet, and wipe it down, moving from top to bottom. Give the floor a quick spray and wipe it down. Done.

One of my favorite cleaning “gurus” is the Flylady. One of my favorite things she says is, “Housework done incorrectly still blesses your family.” Don’t get hung up on cleaning “perfectly.” Just do it.

When you have to think through what method you will use to clean your bathroom every time, it will take a lot longer than if you have a set, proven method for getting it done.

Are you a Type A or Type B? How do you feel about cleaning your bathroom?

 

Ma Had It Easy

If you’re a dedicated Little House on the Prairie fan, you will know that “Ma” is Laura’s mother in the story. Ma was a pioneer wife and mother who endured some pretty crazy things–moving away from her family, Native Americans who came in her house without being invited and ate all the food, prairie fires, a locust plague, and a lack of flushing toilets. I think about Ma a lot actually as I run my own home. And sometimes I think, “Boy, Ma had it easy compared to these modern times.”

For one thing, she didn’t have to create any special Pinterest dinners or unique snacks. In fact, she didn’t have to worry about food intolerances at all. During the long hard winter, this was the “menu” for most days. Breakfast: brown bread and tea. Lunch: boiled potatoes. Dinner: boiled beans. Now mind you, they were practically starving at this time…

That aside, the food they ate was pretty simple and no one was making Ma feel guilty for not trying out the latest beef stirfry recipe. She cooked the same things over and over again…salt pork and gravy, brown bread, pie, potatoes, beans, eggs. I definitely think we could take a leaf out of Ma’s book and be more content with simpler fare.

Now, leaving out the fact that the laundry had to be done by hand and diapers were probably a serious bummer, Ma really didn’t have it too bad in the laundry department because of how few clothes they owned. The more clothes you have, the more laundry you have to wash. Ma did wash once a week. I have to do a load about once a day just to keep up.

Lastly, I really think Ma had an easier time not spending money because of the lack of advertising and stores. The country store usually had some pantry essentials–flour, sugar, tea, as well as other household sundries like fabric. But as far as I can tell, very little advertising and when they weren’t living in town, they wouldn’t have gone out of the house much to go shopping.

Not that Ma used all that extra time lying around though…because of course she still had to make butter and cheese, butcher entire animals, sew all the clothes by hand with a needle, garden, and care for livestock. On second thought, I’ll take the burdens of Pinterest and advertising…