As parents we wear a lot of hats, juggle a lot of balls, have a lot of irons in the fire… pick your metaphor.
Off the top of my head I’m a Child of God, Wife, Mother, Writer, Housekeeper, Chef, Creative Soul, Cat Owner, Reader, Laundress, Storyteller, Novice Matchbox Aficionado, Pretend Kitty and Watcher of British Television.
I’m sure your familiar with this picture, there are more hats than can be gracefully worn in a day, although Lord knows we try.
I know that I need to prioritize, focus on the most essential and eternal roles and then pray the rest fall into place with a little grace and elbow grease.
Yet, finding a graceful rhythm for this dance is no easy feat.
So, lately I’ve been using my kitchen timer as my metronome as I switch tracks and wash sippy cups just before crumpling onto the couch for some BBC or a good book… or Bubble Mania… (don’t judge)
This timer rhythm works around the structure of a daily “to-do list” and “schedule” on my chalk board, where I jot down what we’re going to do and when.
Then I set about executing that plan with a heavy hand of grace and flex.
And if a fight breaks out over a toy, I set the timer and we take turns.
If someone goes to their room, the timer is their release bell.
When things quiet down, THE LAST THING I WANT TO DO IS CLEAN! But… I CAN commit to 15 minutes of cleanup followed by 30 minutes of rest, if the pickup time is finite and doesn’t feel endless I can handle it.
As it turns out, the timer doesn’t imprison me so much as it sets me free, especially when it comes to the unpleasant stuff I’d rather not do.
By the time nap/rest time comes the last thing I want to do is clean toilets or fold socks… but I can usually commit to 15 minutes of chores. And I’ve been utterly amazed what a 15 minute clean up job does for my sanity and my countertops.
So when naps start I scrub for 15 minutes, I hunt stray toys like a lioness and when that timer goes off I grab my tea and my book and lay down for 30 minutes, or I switch on the TV if I feel like it. When the timer goes off again I do another burst of cleaning, and repeat the cycle.
Sometimes I just do a 5 or 10 minutes burst here and there. Some evenings Kel and I do a burst together when the kids go down. When we do this, we find we have a lot less to do on Saturday mornings when we’d rather be doing something fun.
If you’re like me you’d like to boast a mostly clean yet totally lived in house. You’re not going for pristine, but something that feels ordered and leaves space for dancing, in every sense of the word.
I’m not a house wife, but I do have a house which requires my attention. I’m not obsessed about a clean house, scrubbing it certainly isn’t my passion. So I want to find a way to make it as easy as possible so that I can use my heart for other things… until I can pay someone else to clean it… ha.
MOM HACK BREAKDOWN
WHAT- Set the timer when you do chores, have a rhythm of work followed by rest.
WHY- Because cleaning isn’t fun, but a clean-ish house is easier to breathe in.
TIPS / HOW- Also use this for sharing toys and time outs.
What’s your best tip for cramming in chores to free yourself for something better?