If you are a mom with kids at home (and I’m only making that assumption because this website is called Encouraging Moms at Home – but this pretty much applies to all adults anyway), chances are pretty high that you have a home to take care of on a daily basis in addition to everything else.
I guess it just comes with adulting – we have to make the homes we live in. And no matter what our current place in life as moms (stay-at-home mom, work-at-home mom, homeschooling mom, or work-outside-the-home mom), homemaking is no easy task.
We are all busy. It can get overwhelming. At least for me. And I am pretty sure I am not alone on this one.
Even after 23 years of making my home and 18 years of raising six kids, I am still by no means an expert at this homemaking gig. I don’t keep a spotless house. I don’t always make healthy, home-cooked meals for my family, and my house is almost never going to pass the white-glove test. And I am convinced each of those things is not perfectly necessary to be a great homemaker, but at the same time I know there are areas where I can improve and areas where I really want to improve.
At the same time, I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade that do make my job as maker of the home a little easier. This is what I’d like to share with you. Some tips and tricks that might ease your homemaking burden just a bit and make each day a little easier to end well.
Prepare Food Ahead of Time to make Homemaking Easier
Sometimes when my husband is leaving on a trip, I try to do as much of my food prep ahead of time as I can. I brown all the ground beef. I cut up the pork shoulder and toss it in the dry rub. I marinate the meat. I pre-cook chicken in my Instant Pot. I might even pre-chop the veggies I’ll need for the week. Whenever I do this, I wonder why in the world I don’t do it more often.
One of the most amazing things I’ve ever done was make ahead freezer meals. These meals can be tossed in a crock pot or Instant Pot the day that they are needed, or perhaps thrown in the oven. The result is meals that are super easy but also much better for us than processed store-bought frozen lasagna and other convenience foods we could purchase.
Having everything ready to go like this truly makes meals plug-and-play, so to speak. It makes my weekday life so much easier when I’m the only parent at home to chauffeur, discipline, cook, clean-up, and parent! Make ahead meals are a lifesaver.
Delegate Responsibility to make Homemaking Easier
I’m always surprised when I talk with moms who are overwhelmed, but are still trying to take care of all the details of the home themselves. Children need to do chores in order to learn responsibility and the skills necessary to run their own homes someday.
And when everyone pitches in and does their chores, the burden on mom is lighter.
Toddlers can start learning to pick up toys as soon as they can toddle. Children as young as three can start learning to fold dish towels and will probably take great pleasure in this simple task when they sit with mom to fold. I know my kids did! Four-year-olds can empty the silverware from the dishwasher, sort laundry with some simple signs in place, make their own beds, and put their own laundry away. They can also use a Swiffer to dust mop their bedrooms and use dusting wands to dust furniture.
That early training can be something of a pain and take longer to get things done than it would if you did it yourself – I get that. But seriously, it pays huge dividends in the end.
At this time, my kids are 18, 16, 13, 11, and twin 8-year-olds. My team will empty and fill the dishwasher twice a day (rotating), clear the table, sweep the floors as needed (all ages), and do most of the picking up when things are left out. In addition, they each have individual chores like carrying down and sorting laundry, taking out the trash, moving laundry from the washer to the dryer and the dryer to the upstairs, babysitting, and emptying towels and laundry from the bathroom, and refilling toilet paper and paper towels for the bathrooms and kitchen.
Having my children each do these various chores for a total of about thirty minutes a day including everything, frees me up to focus on cooking homemade meals, actually getting the laundry folded for eight people, and spending time with my family instead of always working around the house. I still have plenty to do with mopping, folding, homeschooling, grocery shopping and errands, etc. but I don’t have to carry the full burden myself!
On the weekend, we all work together to clean the entire house and the kids can sweep, dust, pick up, clean appliances, clean windows, and get the house spick and span pretty quickly even if I am sick.
Hire Out Work to make Homemaking Easier
I know you might be thinking, “But I can’t afford that.” and I totally get it. When my four oldest kids were all under eight, I forced myself to fit $30 a week into our tight budget. For $10 an hour, I hired a twelve-year-old girl to come over once a week and be a “mother’s helper.” She played with the kids in our home, while I worked around the home getting chores done that I found difficult with the little ones underfoot. It wasn’t always housework either. Sometimes when she came over I would sit and read just to get some personal time!
This investment was one of the best I ever made for my own sanity and health during that time. Even if you could only afford this once a month it would be so worth it.