I am a stay-at-home-mom of two young boys. I am feeling very overwhelmed this time of year with all of the holiday preparations and extra housecleaning. My boys are like two "Tazmanian Devils", one’s 2 and the other is 4 years old. It seems like when I clean up one room, they are busy destroying another! The dishes keep piling up and the laundry is never ending. How can I manage it all?
Wow, how I have been (and am) in your shoes! As a Stay-at-home-mom turned work-at-home mom, I can totally relate. My best advice for you is to hide the dishes in the dish washer, pack up all the extra junk in some boxes and store in the garage, and make fake vacuum lines on the carpet before you have company!
But seriously, reduce reduce reduce! What has worked for me recently has been to reduce these three things: clothes, dishes, and chores!
I reduced the amount of clothes my children have to wear by first packing away summer clothes and second by having my kids pick out 10-12 outfits. This way, there are enough clothes for the week, but way less clothes to wash, which helps my laundry immensely! I think I am going to do it for myself, as well!
I have reduced the dishes down to a basic set for each person, like a mess kit for camping. Everyone gets a large and small plate, a bowl, a cup, and a mug. This has been the best thing ever when it comes to doing dishes! Now, when I do the dishes, they literally take 75% less time to wash them all. I still have all my doo-dads for cooking and whatnot, but my 4 year old can no longer dirty up 9 cups for water throughout the day!
By the same token, reduce whatever it is that your boys are getting into and making the biggest mess out of, or whatever takes the longest to clean up. (Oops, I added another thing to reduce, but this one is a must!) If it is the books, reduce the books—pretend your book shelf is the Library and put out books on “display”. Right now, I only have Holiday books out instead of all the books. This way there is less to clean up and we get to read about the holidays that we are celebrating. If it is toys--reduce their toys by either packing away the toys that are the hardest to clean up (LEGOS, anyone?!) or do a big toy purge and give outgrown, unused, or disliked toys to The Salvation Army or Goodwill. The holiday time is a great time to purge the old and make room for the new! After the holidays are all over, and things go back to normal, bring the books or the toys back out if you like.
Reduce the amount of housecleaning that you expect of yourself, as well. Make yourself a list of the chores that are absolutely necessary to prepare for the holidays and create a schedule just for this time of year. Once the holidays are over, you can make a new general schedule for the day, week, month, etc... For housecleaning you might need some help. You might need to hire a baby sitter, arrange a play date, or let the kids go with Grandma & Grandpa for the afternoon while you clean. If you have the funds, hire a house cleaner. And if anyone offers their help, TAKE IT! Even though you are a stay-at-home-mom, you still need time away from the kids in order to get certain things done--cleaning might be one of them in your case.
Once you have more than zero children, there is no shame in admitting that you need a little help, from time to time, or like, all the time!
Most importantly, give yourself grace. It is absolutely o.k. if the chores go undone for a little longer because you are busy raising two amazing human beings. They are not gonna be young forever and they are not gonna be “Tazmanian Devils” forever, either (soon they are gonna be Planeswalkers playing Magic: The Gathering, or whatever they are when they play Minecraft).
Things always change.
Here is a great website that I like to use for inspiration, tips, and free printables for making cleaning, laundry, and holiday specific schedules:
I am actually participating in their Stress-Free Holiday Challenge right now. Check it out!
Do you ever stress out around the holidays? Does the extra cooking and cleaning get you down? Do your kids help with the extra chores and holiday preparations? If so, which ones?
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Dear Mozey is a weekly advice column where parents can submit questions regarding anything, but especially holistic parenting topics. Please note that the names have been changed to protect the identity of my readers.
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