My Technique

People often ask me, "Kelly, how to you manage to make being a mother of 2 look so effortless while maintaining a perfectly decorated and spotless home while your husband's head is buried in books all the while?"

And if you believe that anyone has ever asked me anything of the sort, I've got some ocean front property in Arizona for sale that I'm now accepting offers on.

In all seriousness, though, I thought today about what my coping mechanisms are to get through this stage in our life, sanely and often happily. They're pretty simple.

1. Accept help.

When I am shopping with my two little ones in tow and they offer to take my groceries to the car at the store, I accept. Sometimes there's room in the back of the van and sometimes there's not and they move things around while I get 2 girls tethered snugly in their safety seats. Sometimes I may secretly feel like a little bit of a cougar because it's always a cute little teenage boy and I imagine old ladies do that for just this purpose.

When a friend came over recently and I was trying to get my house in good order before a friend's overnight stay, said friend asked if she could help. I accepted and let her tackle the mountain of dishes. I know she was sincere, I know nap time is numbered by minutes, and I KNOW I hate doing dishes.

2. If there's a drive-through, use it.

I'm not talking about McDonalds here. In fact, I shun fast food... when it's convenient anyway. Rather, I'm talking about other places such as your pharmacy. I will only have prescriptions sent to pharmacies with drive through windows. I have had one too many experiences inside a Flagstaff Walgreens that I don't care to relive ever again involving a horribly placed prescription pick-up line that trails down an isle strewn with half price toys.

Don't forget the dry cleaners! Many have drive through windows and they're very convenient.

To be honest, I think drive through windows were made just for me... or maybe young mothers everywhere with small children with fast feet and sticky hands (sticky in that things seem to naturally gravitate towards them).

3. Clean up later.

This is not always my philosophy but it is from time to time.

When I'm making dinner and Ted isn't home I sometimes just open drawers and cabinets (the safe ones at least) and let my girls rummage through the cooking wares. From time to time, that mess doesn't get cleaned up until after dinner.

Our bathroom is situated so that the glass shower stall and jacuzzi tub are adjoined. I sometimes let the girls sit in the bathtub and play on a towel with all the bath toys while I shower on the other side of the glass. The toys get the towel wet and sometimes, hours later, I go back for the mess after I have dressed, fed the children, played with them, and put them to sleep.

4. Rock your kids.

I still rock Gwenna sometimes. Not at night, before bed becuase I almost never have rocked her before putting her down for the night. But today, for instance, I rocked her when she didn't want to nap and stomped out of her room. I swept her up and she straddled my lap and cuddled into my chest while I sang silly songs. She took up most of my body as I sat.

I rock Meredith every day still, even at (almost!) one year old. Sometimes in the morning while she drinks her bottle, sometimes when Gwenna goes down for a nap and Meredith is able to be the only child for 2 hours, and always before bed, illustrating how different my daughters are.

It's basic Mom math, but rocking your kids can change the whole mood of your home. It helps everyone involved to slow down.

5. Use leftovers.

When I make jasmine rice as part of dinner, I almost always double the amount. Left over rice makes the best fried rice. I almost always double the amount of beans I make for lunch the next day. And leftover roast (pork or beef) is so yummy on a green salad.

Often we eat leftovers just the way I made them the day before but I also like to make more of 1 part of a meal to make a completely different meal the following day.

6. Make a list.

I make lists. I'm not talking every so often to remember the things I need to do, either. I make lists of errands, shopping lists, menus, lists of what needs to be cleaned, schedules of medication, packing lists, lists and notes for babysitters... a lot of lists!

Lists make me feel like I am accomplishing things because I can cross things off and my to-dos dwindle. It's mostly for me and I'm glad I do it.

7. Vacuum daily if possible.

I have often said that a clean floor is the biggest difference you can make in your home while cleaning. When you clean the floors, everything must be put away first. Then, after you vacuum up the cookie crumbs (as I did this morning), tiny pieces of shredded tissue you missed last time your one year old got a hold of the tissues (just as an example), and the prickers that were caught in the tread of your family's shoes... then, after all that is gone, you can stand back and admire the fluffy purity of your clean carpet.

My tricks aren't that spectacular but they are what I do to help keep my head on straight. I hope there's one or two that can help you as well!

1 comment:

Heather said...

Excellent tips Kelly. I probably should accept help at the grocery store more often, I always have a "I can do it all!" attitude when I am out with the kids and we manage quite well but help is always nice.