Staying organised with kids, deadlines, house, your social life and the family commitments is more than a full time job and then on top of that you probably go out to work or study or homeschool or try to be self sufficient – oh my! how on earth to stay sane – to stay out of the chaos or at least how to cope?
I wrote a post on Whipup.net just this week about this topic – how I manage my workload as a work-at-home mother – it truly is a balancing act. But here I want to focus on how to keep your family organised – how to stay on top of the appointments, sports/music practice, how to fit in time for cooking and creativity and family togetherness time. Here are a few ideas that work for us on how to keep the balance on the side of sanity and just slightly away from chaos!:
- Keep a blackboard weekly schedule: We have painted a wall in our kitchen with blackboard paint – and drawn up a weekly calendar on it. We fill in the regular items – piano, soccer, tai-chi, guitar and then at the beginning of each week I look on my calendar and make sure to include the transient things – dentist appointment, play dates, birthday parties, etc. Everyone has learned to check each day to see what is happening and we really rely on this to help plan our day and our week.
- Plan the weekly menu in advance – and even do some of the food prep or cook some of the meals in advance too. Sometimes we do this as a family or sometimes it is just me, depends on how organised I am that week. We use a couple of favourite recipe books and often return again and again to our favourite easy dishes.
- I often use foodgawker for inspiration and I quite like Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes and often include a couple of those each week, plus i’ll also include meals that use up what we have in the pantry or the freezer if I have bought something in bulk or on special.
- I also take into consideration our weekly schedule – tuesday we have nothing planned so I can make a more involved meal, soccer practice nights we need something quicker, I sometimes make a big pot of bolognese to keep in the freezer for a quick dinner.
- Also the kids have a night that they cook and the husband too – so we plan around that as well.
- Then once we plan the menu – I write it up and stick it on the fridge, I do a shopping list and get the ingredients I need to make those meals. Makes life a lot easier if I don’t have to think about what to cook every night.
Here is part of our weekly menu:
- Roast chicken pieces with a simple green salad (quick hint: if you chop the chicken into quarters – before cooking then it halves the roasting time)
- Sausage vegetable soup
- Daal with quinoa
- Spaghetti and meatballs (quick hint: pre-make the meatballs on the weekend and freeze them)
- Get together with the whole family once a week for 1-2 hours of cleaning and tidying. Get everyone involved and assign everyone a regular job. In our house we make Saturday morning (before other activities and after a family breakfast) our cleaning time. The boys are assigned the bathrooms, the pre-teen girl goes around the house picking up and tidying away the weekly mess – tidies the bookshelves, wipes down the coffee table, fixed up the couch, folds the washing etc, and the kids and the husband then make sure all the rooms are ready to be vacuumed. I clean the kitchen and then vacuum the house – all in all in takes about 1.5 hours with everyone pitching in.
I think that getting kids to help with the cleaning – no matter how old they are, is important to help them understand how much work is involved in keeping house, helps them appreciate you a little more and maybe they might learn to put their things away after using them (maybe!).
I would love to hear what works for you!