Today is back to school, not for the kids, but for my husband who is a teacher. This means back to the daily “grind” for us. Having someone at home everyday in the summer is for sure a gift. My hubby keeps the house straightened up everyday, cooks, and gets to take our son out on day trips. Now that everyone is back to work, the kiddo is back to daycare full time, and it’s time to get back to the daily grind.
I know, the “grind” sounds awful. It’s actually not necessarily unpleasant, just busy. Generally I feel blessed to have our son, and a family to occupy our time with. Another upside is that during the grind, time flies, a benefit during the winter months in the midwest. For us it means 5am workouts, or squeezing a quick workout in during the day while my son is sleeping or distracted. Organizing the day means lunches, dinner prep, laundry, and bags are all packed and ready in advance. For me the grind means it’s time to simplify. Less junk is less mess. I know most people don’t have the luxury of having a teacher as a spouse and this is a year long battle for them. These are ways I have simplified my life as a working mom, who’s hubby works long hours during the school year.
**Minimize toys. I start this before they even get bought. We have politely asked family to keep toys to a minimum. Just more clutter in the house, and more waste for the environment. I rotate old toys in and out to perk my son’s interest. I donate toys that aren’t used. We encourage outside play as much as possible year round, keeping inside toys to a minimum.
**Take a trip to a charity. I go through the house every spring and fall and give away toys/clothes to other expecting friends/moms. Everything else I donate to charity. If I haven’t used or worn an item in over a year I ask my self if I really want to keep it around.
**Minimize decorative items. Knick knacks, decorative items, junk, what every you like to call it. Prior to having my son I went through the house and minimized all my pretty dust collectors knowing I’d have less time to clean. Keeping only my favorite things around. Kids or not, why keep things just to clean them?
**Decrease throw rugs. We have hard wood floors, less rugs means easier clean up for us. No more spoiled milk, baby puke, or pet smells. I keep small rugs by the entrances only. Especially helpful is my giant microfiber absorbent pet rug. It sucks up moisture and mud, so less mopping during sloppy seasons.
**Simplify cleaning. Microfiber spray mops, wipes, non-toxic all purpose cleaners, robotic vacuums. Need I say more?
**Meal plan. We have a series of 30 minute meals that we make regularly that are fairly clean and healthy. Of course pizza, I admit, is included as part of our plan nearly once a week too! I keep veggie pouches on hand for the days we don’t cook, so at least I know my son is getting a balanced meal.
**Simplify work clothes. When I worked in the office I made myself a semi uniform. Black or neutral pants, and a handful of blouses, and cardigans. Generally keeping items neutral in color. I know a bit boring for some, but really nobody notices anyway, and black looks great on everyone. It saved a ton of time not wallowing over my outfits, and was easier on the wallet.
**Room resetting. I am lucky enough to have a husband that likes to unload the dishwasher every morning. We clean the kitchen immediately after dinner everyday. Before bed at some point toys are generally put away, and living room back in order. It’s always easier to keep things generally neat than to have to do a full house scrub on a Wednesday. And…who wants to spend the whole weekend scrubbing?
**Squeeze in workout. Incorporate exercise into other daily activities/errands. Do a quick set of high knee raises or a plank when playing outside with the kids. Walk or ride your bike to work, or to the store. Wake up before the kids to workout. Compensate by going to bed earlier and less screen time. Note I said less, not cut out completely, no enemies to be made here 🙂
I have room for improvement in the organization department. I really was the worst person at keeping routine and planning things out in advance. Never using a calendar, and my planners always left blank. I have forgotten my own birthday more than once. The Gemini in me wants to battle the routine daily, but because I want to have time enjoying my family and friends, I have slowly over come that. Recently making it a personal goal of mine to live more minimally and simply. With these busy days, less means more. More time for kids, family, my dogs, my friends, and for myself. To me, time is more precious than things. This is a value I’d like to pass on to my son one day.