Friday, November 6, 2015

7 Quick Takes- SAHM Life Hacks Part 1

So, I had my fourth kid.
And my oldest is four.
Intense right?  But I don't feel like I am drowning everyday... which is pretty amazing.
I've been thinking about what's different with this one- what we are doing differently.  
So I thought I would tell you- 
I don't do all these things perfectly, but they've made a significant difference in my life.
A lot of them will probably be completely obvious to seasoned SAHM/Ders... but for me, I had a sliiiiiight learning curve :)

Part 1 will be about Controlling the Chaos- and Part 2 (next week) will be about taking care of myself in the land of crazy.


Remember THIS POST when Aaron was out of town for a week and my kids got pneumonia?
That was a hard week. But you know what it made me do?  JUST DO IT.
It forced me to take all four outside to the doctors.
It forced me to go to CVS to get some drugs with terribly sick children.
It forced me to have a tight schedule in order to be sane.
And being forced to do all that?  It gave me confidence.  Much needed confidence.
So now, when I think something will be overwhelmed, I tell myself...


It might have taken me four years to learn this, but trying to leave the house with children is hard.  Super hard.
There are always meltdowns, shoes missing, last minute diaper changes, and items forgotten for the diaper bag.  You guys. I kid you not when I say when John Paul was a newborn, I would actually be a sweaty and swearing mess by the time I got my kids in the car.
I was rushed, they were slow, and I HATE being late.

Now, before we to go somewhere, I start getting ready an hour ahead of leaving time.  You'd think that would be absurd right?  Waaaay too much time?  It's not.  It leaves room for meltdowns, last minute feedings, children who are refusing to find their freaking shoes...etc...
I haven't been a hot mess getting my kids in the car in a looong time.  It's not because I have become more patient (ask Big Aaron) it's because I have accepted the absurd amount of time it will take to leave my house.

The amount of eye-roll I would give to moms who would swear by making their bed everyday for sanity, cannot be overstated.
Until I cleaned my room "real good" before having Malia.  The dusting under the bed and all surfaces clear, kind of clean.
And I wanted it to stay that way because it made me feel peaceful.
So I've started making my bed everyday.  It's so funny, but it immediately gives me a sense of control over the chaos that can be our lives.  I like that I can leave my bedroom door open when guests are here without being embarrassed of the mess.


Full Disclosure.
At the end of pregnancy Aaron took down the laundry, started it, switched it and brought it back up.
He continues to do so.  I just told him this morning, I think that's just going to start to become one of his jobs.
But pretty much every morning he brings me a basket of clean cloths.  I fold them right away and put them away right away.
It makes laundry so much more tolerable when I don't have six or seven loads piling everywhere demanding to be sorted, folded and put away.

Every night I start a dishwasher load.
Every morning I unload it and begin reloading for the day.
Logical right?
It's amazing how much more peaceful life is without a huge pile of dishes awaiting me.
I'm also trying to wash by hand any dishes that need it, at night or first thing in the morning.
Clean counters make for a happy mama.

After breakfast everyone gets dressed, myself included.   This is for a bunch of reasons, but mainly we all have to leave the house at least once a day to pick up lil' A from school- if we are dressed in day clothes, all the way down to our socks, it makes the leaving much easier.
And, this is a common theme, but having all my kids/myself dressed does make me feel more peaceful throughout the day.  Less behind.
It's also much easier than dressing them slowly or one at at time throughout the day.
I grab all their clothes at once, make a pile on the floor that I sit next to, and they come one by one to get changed.  It takes about 8-10 minute and we are done.
Clothes can be a big deal of fuss when you have a house full of babies, toddlers and preschoolers-. This has taken the fuss away.

My mom has told me this my entire life.
"If you just picked up as you go, you'd never have a mess"
It has finally sunk in.

When I leave a room I do a quick scan-
...any trash, diapers, trash, or trash goes into the garbage.
...any dirty clothes go in the dirty clothes basket.
...any toys that I can reasonably grab with one hand, go into our toy baskets.
...any dirty dishes go straight into the sink.

Honestly, for the first time in my 'having kids' life, if someone randomly stopped by, I wouldn't die of embarrassment due to the condition of my house.  And that my friends feels good and peaceful.

I have been praying with the word ACCEPTANCE for awhile now and it has been so helpful. I have asked God to give me joyful acceptance of the fact that serving my family (children especially) is what I am called to do in this season in life.  It's hard because sometimes it can be overwhelming, looking down the barrel of years of this type of service.  It isn't glorious, it isn't celebrated in the world, it isn't service for recognition... it's the hard, nitty, gritty kind of self-donation that comes so difficultly for this selfish girl.
But I am finding the more I accept my state in life, the better I am at making it pleasant.  The more I accept that the buck stops here when it comes to housecleaning, the more I can pick up that sweatshirt of lil' A's for the ten thousandth time and smile to myself because I have four beautiful children to pick up after.
Dude- you guys, I have even started to accept that sleep just doesn't get to be what it once was for me, and counting it a win when I get a solid 3-4 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

And that, my friends....is progress.

If you feel so inclined, give me your best SAHM/D or Working Mom/Dad life hacks in the comments :)

That's it for me.  Check out more Quick Takes at http://thisaintthelyceum.org/



  1. I love this so much not just because those are all things that are huge sanity savers in our house but also because you sound so freaking domesticated. I love it :) One thing I've found to be a huge help to control morning chaos (for this very much non morning person) is setting out breakfast the night before. So the oatmeal soaking set to be turned on and bowls right next to it, egg pan out with plates next to it, and silverware and bananas already at the table. It sounds silly written out but having it all set up and ready to go is huge. Now I just need to get better at having one of the older kids handle making it all!

    1. That is an EXCELLENT idea! Mornings are rough because the needs of all the little people can make me cranky- that will help. I've also gotten better at accepting that when I wake up- there will be immediate needs- no getting around it! Acceptance is huge.

      And yes- domestic diva for sure!

  2. Quick question but Mary do you use FlyLady? A lot of the things you talked about are habits she encourages people to do every day. I'm getting started with her myself and it's awesome: flylady.net !

    1. you know, I tried to use fly lady waaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the day, and I saw she had some really good stuff for the holidays. Seems like I might want to go back now that I am trying to be more intentional about these things :)

  3. I'm not a SAHM with a bunch of kids yet, but I love this!!! Super handy to read all these. And I totally am with you on the bedmaking thing. When I taught Totus Tuus (basically serving as a local missionary for a summer teaching a VBS program), I couldn't believe how my fellow female teammate would make our bed every. single. day. And I never did, and she would raise her eyebrows, and get a little weirded out. But, eventually, I started making the bed-and it does add that peacefulness! I don't always remember to do it (I'm pretty sure it's not made right now haha) but it is so good. Another thing I do to exert that feeling of peace and control is by clipping my fingernails. Weird, right? But I figure that even if life is going crazy, I can control whether or not I have tidy, trimmed fingernails, so I go at it with the clippers!

    1. Ohhhhhh I love Totus Tuus~!
      And yes, the bed making is making a difference. Who knew that my mom was right all along?
      The finger nail thing, how crazy! I have been thinking a lot though about self-care as well- and how important that is to feel in control and not chaotic in my land of insanity :) I am going to write a bit about that on Friday.

    2. That's great! I think a lot of women, moms and single ladies included, really need to recognize the importance of self-care. It's something that I only have really started realizing in the past couple years, so I've been trying to work on it more. I'm excited to see what you say about it on Friday! :)

  4. you're a mother bosser. These are real good. Bedmaking for lyfe, seriously.

  5. I totally agree with the daily making the bed and running the dishwasher at night. The Fly Lady says to take it one step further and make sure your kitchen sink is scrubbed before you go to bed. Seriously -when I can get that done ( admittedly rare) it is just soon nice to wake up and find a shining sink! God bless your new addition!

    1. Oh my gosh Debbie- would you just die if I told you I probably don't scrub my sink, but for MAYBE every other month? I am the grossest! :)